As we are increasing surrounded by significant change, the benefits of meditation are again coming to the forefront. More and more people are seeking the immeasurable peace, grounding, and insight that daily meditation offers us. I am curious: Do you meditate? If so, would you like to learn to “go deeper”? If you’ve been feeling the nudge to try it, would you like to learn?
How to Meditate In 9 Simple Steps
The focus of mindfulness meditation is to train the brain to stay in the moment. To do this, practitioners are taught to let go of the regrets of the past as well as any stress or anxiety regarding the future that may be causing physical or emotional discomfort or PTSD.
Commit to 5-30 minutes a day: To begin, allow five minutes. Most people find 15 minutes optimal, but literally, five minutes of meditation is beneficial. As for how often, it is said that daily meditation is optimal. Many make it part of their routine, just like brushing teeth.
Eliminate Distractions: Choose a time in your day when you have the least amount of distraction. Maybe it’s in the early morning. Maybe it’s lunchtime. Some meditate before bed, when lying down.
Relax and get comfortable: Stretch before meditation; it loosens the body and helps you relax. Remember, if you are a beginner, it can be hard to sit still, so stretching to relax gets your mind in the zone.
Choose Your Position: As for your position, whether sitting up or lying down, that is a personal choice. The only rule is you should be comfortable (with a straight spine and not slouching). If you are sitting, relax and rest your hands on your lap. You can sit on the floor cross-legged with the support of a cushion or on a chair with your feet resting on the ground. It’s not necessary to try to force yourself into a lotus position! Seek comfort.
Focus Your Mind: Be prepared for your mind to wander. The key in meditation is to keep your mind on the present moment and not in the past, nor on any impending to-do’s. This is your time to be still, to relax, to literally heal yourself. Once you are comfortable and relaxed, you will be ready to focus your mind on your breath. You can meditate with your eyes open or closed. That too is a personal choice. Some find that listening to relaxing music on a low volume helps. Try it. There are many meditation CDs available both online and in stores.
Breathe slowly and deeply: Close your eyes softly. Begin by taking a few slow and deep breaths — inhaling through your nose and exhaling from your mouth. Don’t force your breathing; let it come naturally. The first few intakes of air are likely to be shallow but as you allow more air to fill your lungs each time, your breaths will gradually become deeper and fuller. Take as long as you need to breathe slowly and deeply. When you are breathing deeply, you will begin to feel calmer and more relaxed.
If you mind wanders, simply notice it and bring focus back to your breathing: This happens to most of us and is normal. Take a few deep breaths and gently bring it back to the now — to your breathing. Your mind may wander as often as every five seconds. That’s totally okay. As you meditate more often, your mind will wander less and your body and mind will truly relax. You will quickly acquire the skill of bringing your mind back to the moment. That is what meditation actually is — bringing your awareness back to what you’re doing. On a side note, if you find yourself falling asleep, consider changing positions (from lying to sitting or vice-versa).
Ending your meditation: When you are ready to end your meditation, open your eyes and stand up slowly. Good job. You did it!
Practice Makes Perfect: It’s not a race. Maybe you can only meditate for three minutes now. Any starting point is fine. With time, you’ll find you can remain still longer. You will begin noticing you feel peaceful, calm and happy. The benefits you will experience from meditation only increase with practice.
Many research studies have evaluated the effectiveness of meditation for managing a whole range of medical conditions — from breast cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, PTSD to depression.
Meditation functions as supportive care designed to help a person deal with the stress that comes with disease. Researchers have noted that In as few as four months, meditators experienced significant improvements in both quality of life and coping outcomes compared to non-meditators. Meditation classes teach techniques including visualizations to help shift attention away from thoughts that cause anxiety. One popular technique is called the body scan. This is where you lie back on a mat and the teacher has you check in with each part of your body. The point of this exercise is to stop the mind from wandering off and to connect with your body. Do your toes feel colder than the rest of your body? Are you feeling resistance in any part of the body?
Here is a good mindfulness visualization: If you’ve got a nagging thought that won’t go away, just picture a cloud. Visualize that nagging thought being attached to the cloud and watch it float away. What’s left behind? …a clear, blue sky and hopefully a clearer mind!
Meditation is not for everyone but it is definitely worth a try to find out if it is right for you. It costs nothing and is a discipline that only requires a bit of daily time and attention. It has no harmful side effects and is easy to do at home.
I’m curious: Do you currently meditate? Would you try meditation after reading this post?
Please share any helpful tips for beginners.
Have a blessed day.