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I used to think that meditation was a little weird, like it was only for cookey people that lived on mountain tops, or for monks in monasteries. But since I made over my mornings and kept hearing about all the wonderful benefits of meditation, I thought I would give it a try. So I learned how to meditate for beginners.
Why Meditate At All?
Though I am certainly not an expert on meditation, these are the benefits that I have instantly seen in my own life.
- a calmer, clearer mind throughout the entire day
- less anxiety and depression
- greater ability to let things go and not become frustrated
- able to focus on tasks much easier
- not let mental distractions overcome my intentions
- less quickness to irritation or annoyance
- being able to empty my mind of the endless junk thoughts
- having more beneficial thoughts and less negative ones
I’m pretty sure that you would definitely like some of these benefits too. Think of meditation as a sort of brain dump where you can empty out all the nonsense and clear things up.
How To Meditate For Beginners
You may be worried it will take up way too much time, but it’s really not much time at all. I only do it for ten minutes a day. You can start at five or less until you get the hang of it.
I found that when I was starting out, I would get anxious partway through because my mind wasn’t used to the regular calming experience. So I would think that ten minutes was too long. Now, ten minutes seems too short.
You may be worried it will take up way too much time, but it’s really not much time at all.
You don’t have to try and do it on your own either. I use an app on my phone called Headspace. I’ve also heard great things about one called Calm, and there’s a myriad of other apps designed just for meditation. You can try a few to see which ones you like.
There’s no definite right or wrong way to meditate, as far as I’m concerned. But here are the two methods that I walk through and enjoy the most.
First, get yourself comfortable, sitting in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Relax, but still hold yourself upright. Now, with your eyes closed, mentally walk through the following. (You can read through this beforehand so you know what to do, or use the Headspace app Take Ten sessions.)
- Take some deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Do this a few times until your body softens on exhaling. Then return your breathing to normal.
- Become aware of the physical senses you feel—like the weight of your body against your chair, the feeling of your arms on your lap, feet on the floor.
- Listen to the different sounds you may hear, whether they’re quiet or loud, near or far.
- Bring your focus back to your body and get a sense as to how it feels. Start at the top of the head and slowly scan down through every part of your body, noticing how they feel. Don’t try to change anything, just noticing and becoming aware of the feelings in your body.
- Now focus on the sensation of breathing, where you feel it and how you’re breathing. Count the breaths you take and go all the way up to ten, then start again at one.
- Then let go of any focus at all. Let your mind do whatever it wants to do, just for few moments.
- Bring the attention back to the body and your physical senses, feeling, hearing.
- Open your eyes and take a moment to dwell on how you feel.
Now while you do this, it’s important to know that if your mind wanders off and you get distracted by other thoughts, that’s okay. Just gently bring your mind back to the current step of meditation you’re on and continue where you left off. Once you realize that you’re thinking about other things, just accept that and move back your relaxed focus.
My favorite part of this exercise is step #6, letting go of any focus at all. I find that my mind literally wants to do nothing. It wants to rest and hardly wanders off at all in those few short moments.
This method is much simpler and focuses on releasing thoughts that crowd into your mind. Get yourself upright and comfortable with eyes closed as before to start.
- Take some deep breaths to relax.
- Focus on your breathing.
- When thoughts come to your mind, release them by saying ‘release’ in your mind or quietly to yourself as you let the thought go and you come back to your breathing.
Do this continually for any amount of time. If it helps to have some subtle background music or white noise to help from distractions, go ahead and listen to it.
Anything that can help you relax and release the extra tension while your meditating will certainly help. Here are some of my favorite things to help me relax.
- burn scented lavender candles
- diffuse calming essential oil blends
- turn on a subtle white noise machine to drown out extra noise in the background
- make sure you’re comfortable, whether you’re in your pjs or business clothes
Recognize The Benefit
When you’re done you will appreciate greater how your mind and body feel. You’ll start to notice all of those benefits I listed at the beginning coming into your life. I wish I had started meditating sooner just for those benefits.
Be sure to make them a part of your daily routine on a regular basis. I like to do it in the morning as part of my morning routine. But sometimes I’ll do it even in the middle of the day when my mind needs a serious break.
Meditating is a great way to prepare your mind for birth and any other big circumstances that you may find yourself in. Our minds work against us too often because we let them.
But when we take the initiative to strengthen it and give it what it needs, we can better harness its abilities for our good.