With meditation becoming a trendy topic in the world of self-improvement, you’ve likely asked yourself at least once if it’s something you should include in your routine. But first, you have to figure out where to begin.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and unsure about starting a meditation practice, you’re not alone. With many meditation techniques out there, figuring out what’s right for you, let alone the first step, can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. No matter your age, it’s not too late to take advantage of the benefits that come along with regular practice. Whether you are looking to reduce anxiety, lower cholesterol, or improve your sleep, meditation is a great way to create positive change in your life. Here’s how to get started meditating effectively:
1. Create a space
Find a place in your home where you can complete your practice. It should be somewhere that makes you feel relaxed and is free of distractions, but ideally not your bed or your couch. The key is to create a separate space to foster the same energy every time.
2. Get into position
If you are in a chair, sit comfortably with good posture and your hands resting on your lap. If a chair doesn’t appeal to you, the floor is fine. You can even invest in a cushion to make it more comfortable. If you want a bit more support, you can sit against a wall and use pillows under your knees if needed. Lying down is fine, too, if sitting isn’t your thing, and you’re more than welcome to use a mat.
3. Set a timer
Set a non-ticking timer for your desired meditation duration. You can start with 5 minutes and work your way up gradually over time. Try not to pressure yourself; it will take time to build up your practice. There is no need to rush yourself into longer meditations if they aren’t beneficial.
4. Start by breathing deep
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Take about ten big breaths like this before returning to your natural breathing. If your mind wanders during the rest of your practice, bring your focus back to your breath.
5. Let the thoughts happen
Many people think the goal of meditation is to clear your head, but it should be to become an observer of your thoughts. Think of your thoughts like clouds in the sky. Use the duration of your practice to pay attention to the ideas you have without trying to change them. The key is to teach yourself how to rise above and let the thoughts happen without letting them affect your peace.
As with anything new, it will take time for meditation to become ‘easy.’ We live in a culture that doesn’t spend much time slowing down and creating space, so that it will feel a bit awkward at first. Still, before you know it, meditation will be as regular for you as brushing your teeth.
Take some time to reflect after your first session. How did you feel? What was the most challenging part for you? Share your experience with us!