A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
Meditation is one of those things that intimidates many people. The image that you have in your head of what meditation is may be wildly different than what it actually is. While there are some tribes and religious groups that sit in a circle and chant, meditation can be as simple as closing your eyes and breathing or going for a walking meditation.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
The benefits of meditation are vast and include everything from helping with insomnia to alleviating debilitating physical pain and even helping heal emotional trauma and anxiety.
Doctors everywhere promote the idea of mindfulness and deep meditation to help you to become more centered. One of the parts of meditation that makes it so effective is that it helps you to really focus on your breathing.
Ensuring that your body is getting the deep belly breathing and the continuous process of breathing is important for keeping your body functioning properly. When we get stressed we tend to hold our breath or have very shallow breathing. So focusing on your breathing is an essential part of meditation.
It’s not difficult to do and that’s the best part about it. The challenge for most people is getting outside of their own heads and inner critic and fear that “they’re doing it wrong”. There’s no wrong way to meditate. It’s all about finding the most relaxing style and place for you.
If you think you can’t meditate for whatever reason, just think about a time in your life when you were relaxed. It could be on a vacation to the gulf coast of Florida while sitting on the beach, a quiet night at home reading a book by candlelight, or even last night when you got to go to bed early and got an amazing night’s sleep. If you can recall a time when you felt relaxed, then you can get there again.
That’s really the first step of meditation – accepting that you can and will find a place that is your escape, your place to go to get away from the stress and anxiety that life brings.
Tips for Beginning meditation:
1. Meditate somewhere where you’re comfortable. In your bedroom, in a reading nook in your home, somewhere away from distractions.
2. Make the room as quiet as possible. Make sure to turn off your electronic devices.
3. When your thoughts come into your mind just allow them to flow on by. Pick a word or a phrase you can focus on during your meditation. When the thoughts come, say the word or phrase and the thoughts will float away. You may need to say the words during the entire mediation. Don’t judge the thoughts or yourself. Even experienced meditators have thoughts flow through their mind during meditation.
4. Begin with a minute or two and then gradually increase it to five minutes. Set a timer so that you don’t need to think about the time. When you are ready, slowly increase the time until it is the amount of time that is right for you…20 minutes is often a good benchmark time frame.
5. Focus on your breathing. As you begin meditating focus on your breath. Take deep breaths in and out. The deep belly breathes are cleansing and help your body get into a deeper sense of relaxation. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
6. Wear comfortable clothing. Eventually you will be able to use your meditation skills everywhere, even the office. But at first, you want to be completely comfortable.
Don’t feel like a failure if you can’t “get to that peaceful place” right away. It might take a little bit of extra focus and some practice to master your own art of meditation. If you schedule the same time daily it becomes a habit and is easier to maintain.
Give meditation a try. You will be surprised at the rewards of starting your day in a more relaxed, centered space!