4 Science-Backed Tips for Sticking to Your Meditation Practice

When it comes to building the habit of meditation, questions about how much to practice (and how to stick with it over time) may leave you shrugging your shoulders instead of relaxing them. Here are four strategies to help you build a practice that works for you.

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If you find yourself struggling to start or keep up a meditation practice, you’re not alone. Although meditation instructions are usually simple (for example, to maintain a gentle focus on the breath), that doesn’t mean meditating itself is always easy. Research suggests that new and experienced meditators alike face barriers to practice.

For instance, a study I published with colleagues in 2020 found that new meditators often question whether meditation will in fact be beneficial, doubt whether they’re meditating correctly, struggle to find space and time for practice, and sense that meditation conflicts with their cultural or familial norms. After people complete a formal meditation course, their meditation frequency drops; even experienced meditators describe how hard it is to face difficult feelings that can arise in meditation, like anxiety.

As a meditation researcher and practitioner myself, I admit that it can be tough to keep up the habit each and every day. Yet, amid the coronavirus pandemic, systemic oppression, the climate emergency, and the frenetic pace of the workplace, we may need the practice now more than ever.

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