Are you a beginner to meditation? Not sure how to start and make the habit stick? What if I told you that it’s easier than you think? In fact, you can master meditation and make it a habit that sticks in less than a week- yes really! Read my complete beginners guide to meditation and find out how( plus get my FREE downloadable list of 10 FREE meditation apps that you can download down below).
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What is meditation?
Many people don’t quite get meditation yet it has been around for thousands of years. Meditation is believed to have originated in India and was quickly adopted by many cultures throughout the world.
To put it simply, meditation is a set of techniques aimed at achieving a heightened sense of awareness, attention, and a mentally and emotionally clear and calm state. Techniques used for meditation include mindfulness, visualization, mantra meditation, and walking meditation.
Almost every religion has a religion of meditative practice but it is most common among Buddhists. Currently, meditation is practiced the world over especially for relaxation and stress relief purposes. This post details how to meditate for beginners, the benefits of meditation, and how to get started.
What are the benefits of meditation?
A few minutes of meditation can transform your thoughts from chaotic and anxious to calm, and shift your mind from a distracted state to a concentrated one. Research shows that meditation helps promote both physical and psychological health.
Benefits of meditation include:
- Reduces stress
- Controls anxiety
- Increases attention span
- Decreases blood pressure
- Promotes emotional well being
- Improves memory and age-related cognitive decline
- Increase positive feelings and actions such as kindness and empathy towards oneself and others
- Aids in the management of pain thus improving quality of life
- Improves sleep quality and helps with sleep disorders such as insomnia
- Enhances self-awareness and helps you develop a better understanding of yourself
How to make meditation a daily habit
Beneficial meditation may take you a while to master. It took me about 6 weeks to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. After trying a few techniques I settled on walking meditation as sitting in a place for too long makes me even more anxious.
Research meditation as much as you can before you dive into it. You may want to start slow. Do short sessions of about 5 to 15 minutes then work on gradually increasing the length of time. Meditation for beginners is about understanding and learning the basics of the practice.
You will need to answer the questions, ‘why?’ ‘when?’ ‘where?’ and ‘how?’ You can also
While there are numerous meditation styles and techniques, learning basic meditation for beginners is a great place to start.
1. Find out why you want to start meditating
Step one is answering the question, ‘why?’
Why do you want to meditate? What do you intend to achieve? Is it because of anxiety, work, stress, or depression, or because you want to become more self-aware and attentive?
Figuring out why you are meditating and being intentional about what you want to gain makes it more possible to achieve these goals.
2. Schedule meditation in your day
When do I meditate? Try meditating at the same time every day. For example, in the evening after sunset or early in the morning. Once you pick a time, make sure you stick to it.
3. Decide on the amount of time you want to be meditating
Decide the amount of time you want your meditation sessions to last. Is it 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 1 hour?
There is no one magic number. What matters is consistency. Meditating for 10 minutes daily is more likely to yield results compared to meditating once a month for 2 hours. Ensure that the length of time you choose is practical, realistic, and reproducible.
4. Set a reminder for meditation
It’s the 21st century and we have reminders for every task, activity, or event. Set a reminder for your session on days you wish to meditate. You can customize the ringtone so that you don’t miss your reminder.
5. Choose a location where you will be meditating
Next is to decide where you will meditate. Find a quiet and comfortable spot. It should be free of distractions such as the TV, or radio. It doesn’t have to be the living room or your bedroom. It could be out in the garden or at the community park.
You may also choose to invest in meditation tools such as stools, cushions, meditation books, or even an essential oils diffuser. It isn’t mandatory. All you need is a comfortable chair or mat and quiet space!
Using the same meditation spot is advised. It makes it easier to focus, and eventually, you will associate the spot with meditation making your practice smoother.
You may also try to incorporate the sounds in your environment in your meditation practice if it is impossible to find a quiet place.
6. Experiment with different meditation techniques to find out what you like
There is a wealth of options to choose from. The trick is in identifying which one works best for you and is most beneficial.
The secret to successful meditation is to find out what works best for you. Study a few meditation styles, list their pros and cons then sample each of them. After trying several of these it will be easier to pick a method that suits you. You might even mix a few meditation techniques.
You can also choose to meditate by yourself or opt for guided meditation under the instruction of a meditation teacher.
Techniques you can try include:
- Sitting meditation: This means that you meditate while sitting. And while ancient practitioners sat in complicated poses like the lotus pose, you don’t have to. You can sit with your legs crossed, or stretched out in front of you. You can also sit in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the ground.
- Visualization: Visualization involves picturing something positive – an idea, event, image, or goal you want to achieve. It could also be nature-based visualizations (images based on nature – light, sky, water, or earth) which are usually very calming.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment and being aware of your surroundings and current state. This helps increase your self-awareness and become present throughout everything you do.
- Mantra meditation: With this technique, you repeat a sound to help quiet the mind. A mantra is a tool to help calm the mind, free or release it.
- Walking meditation: You don’t always have to sit or lie down when meditating, you can do it walking. Instead of focusing on an image or chanting a mantra, with walking meditation, you focus on the impact of your feet touching the ground.
7. Reward yourself for every milestone
We easily forget to appreciate ourselves. We go about daily life often complaining and pointing out the things we have been unable to achieve. If you are one of those who seek perfection in everything, try and do it differently this time.
Appreciate yourself every step of the way. Acknowledge the progress you make each day, however small.
You could treat yourself to ice cream or chocolate, enjoy a bubble bath, go for a solo coffee date or buy yourself a new book.
8. Get an accountability partner
Accountability partners are often associated with the gym and working out. Well, you can get a meditation accountability partner.
A partner will frequently check in on your progress with meditation, if you are benefiting from it, and help you remain consistent. They will support, motivate and encourage you. It could be anyone from your friend to your sibling or your partner.
9. Be patient with yourself
We often get impatient with ourselves when trying to learn something new. As mentioned, meditation may be challenging at first. Therefore, keep in mind that you are practicing meditation and NOT perfection.
It is natural for your mind to wander. When this happens don’t become cross with yourself. Instead, try to refocus your thoughts.
Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Don’t worry. You will get the hang of it. Reward and praise yourself for each milestone.
If you are not able to sit and meditate for more than 5 minutes at first, that’s okay. Don’t force it. Instead, remain consistent and patient and you will be surprised by how fast you learn.
10. Monitor your progress
Finally, it’s crucial to assess your progress. In what ways has meditation helped you?
Pick up your notebook and write down all the benefits and changes you are observing. Are you less stressed, and more creative or do you sleep better?
Also, write down what challenges you face. Are you easily distracted or can only focus for a few minutes? Do you feel sleepy during your session or are you restless?
After you identify the hurdles you face try to find simple solutions to them. If you feel sleepy when meditating, try walking meditation instead or meditate with your eyes open.
You can always consult a meditation teacher whenever you get stuck.
Meditation shouldn’t feel like a struggle. It may be difficult to focus at first but don’t force it. Ease into the art slowly. There are also apps like Headspace that offer guided meditation for beginners.
Remember the point is to relax. Approach meditation with a positive attitude so that you get the most out of it. Think of it as you would a vacation or safari. All the best with your meditation journey. Get my FREE downloadable list of 10 FREE meditation apps that you can download down below.
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