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How to Improve Meditation: 16 Ways to Make It More Effective

Written by: Logan Derrick
How To Improve Meditation: 16 Ways to Make Meditation Work for You

Meditation can boost self-awareness, enhance emotional health, and help you live in the present moment. Studies also show meditation can assist with controlling anxiety, reducing stress, and increasing your attention span. Through meditation practice, you can even enjoy physical benefits like lower blood pressure and improved longevity.

To achieve these benefits in the most powerful way, it’s important to improve meditation by practicing several times each week. Whether you are new to it or have been doing it for years, the following tips can help you improve your meditation techniques. With proper preparation and better methods, you can get the most out of your routine.

Why to Have a Meditation Routine

The advantages of meditation have been shared for thousands of years as numerous cultures, religions, and mental health enthusiasts have perfected the art. Now, people all over the world practice meditation as a way to calm their minds at work, home, or in other avenues of life.

As you learn how to improve your meditation, you’ll see even greater benefits when using this effective practice.

One of the things most people feel immediately is that they’re able to have improved focus with meditation. Many also use it as a way to reduce stress, improve their self-awareness, and remove negative emotions from their minds.

When you improve meditation, you can even expand your imagination and creativity as well as your patience. The reasons to meditate extend to physical, mental, and emotional impacts that can be seen and felt.

Ways to Improve Meditation No Matter Where You Are

With so much noise in the world today, it feels impossible to quiet your mind and stay focused. News, politics, social media, work, and other various “noisemakers” are distracting, often dampening peoples’ moods and even leading to feelings of distress.

But as you improve meditation skills, you’ll see an increased ability to release your cares and promote positive emotions on a daily basis. There are so many ways to boost your meditation routine that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after only a few minutes.

1. Prepare Your Mind

“When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you literally don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that.” – Dick Van Dyke

One of the most common phrases you’ll hear from anyone teaching meditation is to “clear your mind”. While the initial concept of this may sound intimidating at first, it is easier than you might think.

Using a Hand Mudra can improve meditation

The best step to prepare for meditation is to find a quiet place with limited distractions where you can sit or lay down. Close your eyes to remove any visual interruptions. Rest your arms in your lap, at your sides, or try multiple meditation hand mudras to determine which one is most comfortable for you.

Before you begin your meditation, take another moment to relax your mind and body. Focus on releasing any tension in your face, shoulders, arms, and other parts of your body.

2. Allow Your Thoughts to Wander

Improving meditation takes time, patience, and consistency. In Buddhism, there is a concept known as monkey mind. According to practitioners, the monkey mind is uncontrollable, inconstant, and fanciful. 

When you want to sit and focus on something, your monkey mind distracts you with a racing stream of thoughts. No matter how much you want to focus on a specific topic, your mind makes it impossible.

If you are trying to learn how to improve your meditation abilities, start by working with your monkey mind instead of against it. Instead of unnaturally trying to stop your thoughts from wandering, let your thoughts go wherever they want to.

You aren’t trying to make your thoughts wander or follow a specific train of thought. Instead, think of your thoughts like floating clouds. When one cloud appears, let it float by. You observe and recognize the thought is there, but you don’t try to control or stop it.

Gradually, the clouds will simply float away. When you avoid grasping at thoughts or trying to avoid them, you can let them exist naturally until they stop disturbing you.

3. Find the Right Place

While traditional Buddhist monks can theoretically meditate in a crowded restaurant, there is a reason why they tend to meditate in isolated monasteries. If you want to improve meditation, start by finding a quiet, peaceful place.

Your ideal spot could be a quiet room in your house dedicated to meditation, or it could simply be a peaceful corner you choose at random. Some people also use meditation chairs and pillows, so their knees remain comfortable during long meditation sessions. You may also want to adjust the lighting to further add to the ambiance.

4. Do Some Stretching Before You Begin

There is a reason why yoga and meditation teachers, philosophies, and language have overlapped throughout history. While yoga is thought of as a physical discipline in the West, it was originally created as a spiritual practice. However, the physical practices associated with yoga are extremely useful for meditation practitioners as well.

Woman doing some stretching before starting her meditation

If you are trying to determine how to improve focus during meditation, you can start by stretching beforehand. Being comfortable allows you to stay in a meditative posture for longer. More importantly, it will help you focus and stay alert, so you can get more out of your meditation sessions.

5. Get Comfortable

While you can technically meditate when you are uncomfortable or awkwardly placed, it is much more beneficial to get situated beforehand. You should use proper form while meditating, wear comfortable clothes, and pick a comfortable location like a nice chair or a padded floor mat. 

A bed may also be a comfortable location, but sometimes it can be too comfortable. The last thing you want to do is fall asleep during your meditation session.

6. Start Small

It is important to take your time and lead into your meditation practices. You don’t have to meditate every minute of the day as people do at Vipassana Meditation retreats. Odds are you don’t have that kind of time on your hands.

Instead, you can start by meditating for only five minutes at a time. As you improve, you can increase the number of minutes and even build up to multiple meditation sessions per day.

7. Do Breathing Exercises

Breathing meditation is a popular meditation type, and you may already be familiar with this style if you have ever watched or listened to an online meditation routine. In breathing meditation, you focus on following a breathing rhythm as you inhale and exhale.

Man breathing at his desk to relax

In ancient Buddhist texts, the Buddha said following the breath was the only thing you needed to do to achieve nirvana.

8. Try Multiple Types of Meditation

If you’ve tried meditation before and didn’t like it, the problem most likely isn’t meditation but the type that you started with. Especially when it comes to meditation, what works for one person may not work for another.

To improve meditation and find a style you enjoy, try some of the following varieties:

Spiritual meditation: Like prayer, spiritual meditation is a reflection on your connection to a deeper power and the silence around you. It can be practiced at home or at a spiritual place like a temple or church.

9. Consume CBD Products

If you want to improve your focus during meditation, cannabidiol (CBD) has shown positive signs in helping people relax and focus. Multiple studies have been conducted over the years with results showing that CBD could even be used as a possible treatment for anxiety.

CBD can be used to help improve meditation

Pairing CBD products with your meditation might be able to reduce the anxiety, nervousness, or stress you feel. Since these feelings could distract you from meditation, CBD is a potential tool you can add to your arsenal.

10. Integrate Essential Oils

Some people also believe essential oils can help them improve meditation practice. Many meditators find lavender oil, ylang-ylang, and bergamot to be relaxing additions to their daily meditation. You can also try more traditional options like myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver, sage, and frankincense.

These essential oils can either be applied directly to your skin or added to a cool mist diffuser.

11. Subscribe to a Meditation App

With hundreds of great options across the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, an app could help you improve meditation in numerous ways. Many apps offer guided meditation tools as well as reminders to meditate.

Some of the best meditation apps and apps related to meditation include

12. Follow Along with YouTube Videos

While meditation apps can cost as much as a Netflix subscription, you can also improve meditation skills for free using YouTube videos. Right now, there are thousands of free videos on YouTube you can check out. These instructional videos are available for a range of meditation styles from various experts and professionals.

Before you use a video, read through the comments to see its testimonials and reviews. You can also look for videos about topics like tips for relaxing your mind before you start a meditation session.

13. Use Binaural Beats or Music

If you want to do your meditation without a guide, there are a few ways you can boost your routine to make it more effective. Using meditation music can help you improve your concentration.

Woman meditating at a park with headphones on

Along with traditional relaxing meditation music, you can also try binaural beats, which studies show can quickly induce a focused mental state.

14. Recognize How You’re Feeling Afterward

The most important part of meditation is realizing the effect it has had on you once your session is finished. Your desire to improve meditation skills is directly influenced by the impact it has on your day-to-day happiness, focus, and overall thoughts. By taking time to analyze how your feelings change afterward, you can reinforce your desire to become better at meditation.

15. Don’t Get Discouraged

Quieting the mind is an endeavor that takes a lifetime, so don’t become discouraged if you can’t focus perfectly right away. Renowned meditators like the Dalai Lama and Matthieu Ricard spent years meditating for hours a day before they became exceptional at it. Everyone has to start somewhere.

When you are distracted by a thought or discomfort, use those distractions to fuel your meditation session. For example, some people end up dealing with knee pain during meditation. Instead of allowing the knee pain to distract you, you can use it as a point to focus on and do a session of focused meditation.

If getting in a session seems impossible at first, break your meditation practice into smaller parts or simply do it right before you go to bed. Meditating for even five minutes a day can bring significant benefits, so don’t be afraid to start small.

16. Improve Meditation Through Repetition

The best way to improve meditation practice is to make it a part of your daily routine. Once it is an automatic part of your day, you will have an easier time remembering to do it and feel even stronger benefits from the consistency. Your mind will also calm down faster than before as it develops the habit of meditating at a certain time or location.

You can even get your family involved and make it something you do together on a daily basis.

A family meditating together on their couch

Initially, you can start by practicing for a few minutes a day. After a while, you can even improve your meditation practice by doing a meditation retreat if you feel comfortable. Along with free silent retreats through Vipassana, you can also try yoga, nature, and other meditation retreats as well.

Use Any of These Tips to Improve Your Meditation Today

By following the right steps, you can improve your meditation techniques and get more out of your sessions. At the risk of sounding cliché, practice makes perfect. The best meditators spend years practicing and honing their abilities.

Take your time and try switching up meditation styles to see which one works the best for you. While some people are drawn to loving-kindness meditation, other people prefer walking meditation. By using the previous tips, you’ll begin improving your meditation experience and experience the incredible benefits of this ancient art.

Logan Derrick

Logan Derrick is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Steel Wellness. He is a professional health & wellness writer with a vast amount of industry knowledge. Logan uses his background, personal history, and expert research to help others learn the best ways they can improve their wellness journey.

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