Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind for a prolonged amount of time.
It is a powerful practice that you can benefit from greatly. According to Healthline.com meditation can:
- Reduce stress
- Lessen anxiety
- Lengthen attention span
- Reduce age-related memory loss
- Improve sleep
- Decrease blood pressure
These are just a few of the meditation benefits you can receive from meditating. There are many other meditation benefits that are backed by science and proven by the millions of people who have added a meditation practice to their everyday lives.
RELATED ANXIETY ARTICLES: 9 Ways To Beating Anxiety Without Medication
Meditation Techniques for Beginners
Much like fitness is the way to train the body, meditation is the way to train the mind. There are a few different types of meditation practices to choose from and each technique will require a different set of mental skills.
The most common and easiest meditation type is concentration meditation but you should try them all and see what you like the best.
This meditation type involves concentration on a single thing such as your breath, an object, a mantra or affirmation, or a sound. The challenge here is to focus the mind without letting it wander off too far. Believe me, it’s a lot harder than it sounds!
Many people have a hard time doing this but in this meditation when you notice your mind wandering you simply return your awareness back to your chosen focal point. As you practice this meditation, your focus gets better and better.
In this meditation technique, your job is to simply observe your thoughts as they arrive. You are free to let your mind wander however it wants to but the challenge here is to not get too involved with those thoughts.
Instead, take mental notes of your thought processes without any judgment to them.
In doing this meditation practice you will begin to notice the patterns of how your mind thinks. You may see that your thoughts are good, bad, or both! When you began to notice this, you can work towards changing those thought processes. And because our thoughts create our realities, this technique can potentially change your whole life!
A walking meditation involves walking while maintaining a mindful connection to your body and to your surroundings. This meditation is about being completely aware and in tune with the present moment. It is a beautiful connection to the outdoors (if you choose to do this outdoors) and it is a meditation that I find to be the most enjoyable.
How to Meditate
The mind is powerful and vast. It’s always busy creating and thinking thoughts that we often think we have no control over. Although you can’t turn off your thoughts, you certainly can learn to observe them without judgment. The way to do this is through meditation.
Thoughts are simply just thoughts and meditation teaches you to watch them pass by like cars on a highway. It really can be that simple.
I hope by now you are at least intrigued by this meditation thing because I’m about to give you step by step instructions for your very first session. This guide will be a mix of mindful meditation and concentration meditation. Let’s get started.
Step One: Pick Your Meditation Space
Any quiet space will do but you should choose a place where you won’t be interrupted. Find a space that works for you and be consistent using that same location each time you meditate. You can meditate anywhere, but having a sacred meditation space will help keep you accountable and motivated.
Meditation Tip: Plan to start small, two to three minutes a day, and work your way up as you go.
Step Two: Get Comfortable
Find a comfortable position that works best for you. This could be in a chair, crossed legged on the floor or meditation pillow, or even lying down. But if laying down leads you to fall asleep, a seated posture is a better option. If you choose a seated position, keep your spine tall and long. No slouching!
Step Three: Ground Yourself
Grounding is a technique you should use often to stay in the present moment. Grounding down to the earth below your seat is a great way to bring yourself into the here and now.
Keep your eyes open with a soft focus and take three deep breaths. Breath In, Breath Out x3. On the third breath exhale and gently close your eyes. Keep breathing as you focus your attention on the earth below you. Life is happening right here, right now.
Step Four: Focus On Your Breath
Return to your normal breathing pattern and focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. Count each breath, up to a count of ten, and repeat. Example: Breath in 1, Breath out 2, Breath in 3, etc.
Meditation Tip: Place your hand on your stomach and feel it rise and fall as you breathe.
Step Five: Expect The Mind To Wonder
The goal of meditation is to clear the mind so that we can experience our truest nature of peace, love, and happiness. But quieting the mind can be a difficult thing to do. Know that this is normal and you will get better as you continue your practice.
Step Six: Observe And Release Your Thoughts
With practice, meditation will teach you how to separate yourself from all the thoughts that haunt your mind. When you catch yourself thinking a thought, simply observe and release it as you return your focus to the breath.
Meditation Tip: As a thought arises, imagine yourself gently swiping the thought out of your mind as you would the tabs on your phone.
Step Seven: Body Scan
Continue breathing as you begin to mentally scan your body from head to toe. As you scan down, take note of how every part of your body is feeling. You might feel a little tightness here, a little soreness there or you might not feel anything at all. Just be mindful of the body as you continue breathing.
Once you reach the toes, scan back up again. Notice any changes in the body, if any at all.
Meditation Tip: Imagine your body is like a gallon of water. As you scan down the water is slowly draining and refilling as you scan back up.
Step Eight: Return To The Breath
Bring your focus back to the breath and repeat step three. As you breathe, imagine your breathing in calmness and peace. As you exhale, let everything else go.
Step 9: Slowly Return Movement To The Body
Begin to wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch out your arms and legs and when you’re ready, open your eyes to the room.
Step Ten: Honor Your Practice
You did it! Even if you found the process incredibly hard, you stuck with it and made it to the end. Honor yourself for that and be sure to return to your meditation practice tomorrow and the next day and the next! It gets better. It gets easier. Keep going!
Meditation Tip: Guided meditations are great for beginners. Here are some of my favorite resources for guided meditations:
Final Thoughts On Meditation
The effects of meditation can ripple throughout your life. A daily meditation practice can give you an overall better quality of life with less worry and more peace. With time meditation can transform the mind from a negative to a positive, from unhappy to happy, and from stressed to peaceful and zen. Meditation is just a no brainer and a win win all around.