A lot of people turn to meditation these days, whether it’s as a way to manage stress or just help clear the mind and relax. If you’re new to the practice, the idea of how to meditate can seem like an intimidating prospect, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there are several forms of meditation (i.e guided or mindful meditation) that anyone can learn how to do no matter what your age or experience level with meditation may be. In this guide, we explore how you can start practicing meditation in your daily life.
It can be difficult to establish a regular meditation practice. Here are a few tips to help you get started and stick with it:
1. Set a reminder and start with just five minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you feel comfortable.
Setting a time will help you commit to your meditation practice without creating too much pressure, which helps reduce stress levels. For beginners, it's important to take it slow. Start with just five minutes and work your way up. Even if you are using a guided meditation, you can set a timer and just keep it short and sweet. When it comes to how long to meditate, the length of time does not not matter. What is important is consistency. Choose a time of day that works for you and set a reminder. It can be once a day or a twice a week. Doing this will help you develop a routine and get use to it.
2. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
It’ll help to find a cozy space that you can designate as your "quiet place" when you meditate. You do not want your body to be a distraction, so make sure you're comfortable - a cushion, chair or couch will work. While you may not always be able to mediate in a quiet space (i.e you need to mediate while at work), it's important to remove distractions such as muting your laptop and phone. This will give your mind few chances to become unfocused.
Once you're settled, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Follow the breath as it moves in and out of your body. Focusing on your breath will help you anchor and release any physical tension you feel. It's ok to lie down as well; if you fall asleep that's ok as well as long as you are relaxed.
3. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgement or attachment.
If you're like me, your mind is constantly racing - thinking of to do lists, what to make for dinner or where to go on the next vacation. This is common. Just notice the thought and let them pass. When I mediate and find my thoughts flying in, I sometimes pretend I am placing them in a key dish, promising to pick them up when I "return" from my meditation. This conscious response to refocus thoughts ensures we do not become stressed and create overall well-being.
If you struggle with silence, try listening to a guided meditation. There are meditations on YouTube or via short meditation apps that can help you get started and not feel overwhelmed.
Make Your Meditation Practice Your Own
You don't have to be a monk to meditate or sit in lotus position. And you do not have to sit for hours. You can keep your eyes open or closed, listen to music or silence, count sheep or just walk and think about the day ahead of you or lie down and dream of the future ahead of you. It's up to you! Find what works best for you and do that. With all the wonderful benefits that meditation brings, even in just five minutes a day, there’s every reason to add meditation in as part of your daily routine
Photo Credit: Girl Meditating on Street © Dimaberkut; © Antoniodiaz | Dreamstime.com