Meditation is something I use to help with anxiety as well as find that quiet time we all need in order to decompress from our stressful, busy lives. It can be kind of hard to do at first because with so much busyness going on in our daily lives from our jobs, traffic, electronics and kids. It is about training the mind to quiet itself and while it may seem simple, it requires some practice to get good at. I still sometimes find it hard to completely shut off. The good news is, any time you spend on meditation, whether through just practice or getting to the ultimate meditative mindset is time well spend and good for your mental health. Here are some tips I have learned over the years in order to help me quite my mind and practice healthy meditation.
How to Meditate for Beginners
Keep in mind that any amount of meditation is good– Meditation is not about the length of time you do it, but rather the act of doing it at all. If you can only dedicate 10 minutes to meditation, then it will surely benefit you. Meditation is simply quieting the mind and even doing so for 10 minutes is good and healthy.
Find a space and time that is quiet– It doesn’t need to be completely quiet, but distractions such as a cell phone, tv or radio should be turned off. The idea behind meditation is to let go of these things for a short period of time so turning them off is the best way to do so. You can choose music that is calming if you desire. I prefer to listen to music that is repetitive so I usually just turn on Pandora or Amazon radio to a yoga/meditation station or a nature sounds one.
Wear something comfortable– The last thing you want is some button digging into your midsection or clothes that feel confining. I like to wear athletic wear like leggings, tanks and big t-shirts. I also don’t wear shoes of any kind and make sure to wear socks so my feet don’t get cold.
Sit comfortably and close your eyes– The typical seated position for meditation is called Siddhasana. It is the position I am preforming in the image below. You don’t have to do this position. You can do your meditation lying down or in a chair. However you feel most comfortable.
Start with focusing on your breathing– Don’t worry if your breath is even or short or long. Don’t try to make it the same. Just be aware of it and allow your breathing to be in the forefront of your mind. This allows you to train your mind to block out distractions on the outside (a barking dog next door, for instance) or inside (a worry or stressful thought, for example). Once you can master this for a period of time, you are on your way to gaining good meditation skills. If you can master this, you can move onto the next part of meditation. It’s OK if you only do the breathing for the first times you do meditation. This is all part of the practice and process.
As you advance, add in a mantra– A mantra is simply one thing that you pick to focus on for your meditation session. It is often just one word, such as “Calmness” or “love” but can be more such as “loving myself” or “worrying less”. You can repeat this out loud or in your head. You may advance further with visualization. Visualization is where you create a pleasant place you want to be in your mind such as a beach, or the forest or even on a cloud. It doesn’t have to be an actual place, just one you would want to be in. Visualization can be helpful when you are in a stressful situation, because as you create this place in your mind during meditation, you will be able to recall it and focus on it during times of stress.
If you would like, focus on all of your body– I like to do this when I lie down for meditation. I pick a place on my body such as my fingers, my heart or my toes and focus on the sensations being created there. I breathe in and out and become aware of my body. It is very calming and a great way to end meditation time.
Try to do your meditation at the same time space every day– I do mine first thing in the morning and find it a great way to start my day. Sometimes my husband joins me and other times, I do it alone.
Remember that meditation will take practice and it is not a sprint but a marathon. Enjoy your journey!
(The outfit in my picture is from Rainbeau Curves)