Meditation has become a trend over the past couple of years, and although those who do it rave about the benefits, it can be confusing. How do you get started with meditation? What if you think too much? What if you can’t sit still for hours on end? Do I have to sit cross legged? Am I a monk now? Do I have to meditate?
The short answer: meditation should DEFINITELY be in your daily routine, and the benefits are many. It can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out, so in this article I’ll be diving into the benefits of why you should be meditating, and provide you with the basics on how to meditate!
Meditation can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, help with depression, boost your creativity, improve your immune system, and lower anxiety, just to name a few! Basically, meditation can help improve your health, boost productivity, make you happier, and improve your social life. The possibilities are endless.
Even if you’ve never meditated before, there really is no right or wrong way. Starting a meditation practice shouldn’t be stressful, so don’t worry about being perfect—just start! Here’s a few steps to get you started:
- Find a quiet spot to sit comfortably, and begin to focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Take a few slow, deep breaths. (This is the quickest way to get yourself present)
- After you’ve started focusing on your breathing, start to notice what thoughts are going through your head. You can picture these as if they are cars driving down a street, and you’re standing off to the side of the road, just watching the cars drive past. Don’t try to fight or change your thoughts (like trying to stop the cars), but instead, just notice that they’re there, and watch them drive past.
- If you start to get off track with your thoughts, just return to focusing back on your breathing. Let the thoughts pass, then return back to the present with your breath.
Aim to start with five minutes. If that is a struggle in the beginning, start with one minute. Set a timer so you aren’t constantly checking the clock, and make it a goal to practice everyday. Focus on being consistent, rather than perfect, with your new meditation practice. Try adding longer sessions as you get more comfortable.
There are also LOADS of app that can help you with a guided meditation if you are just getting started.
For me, I do this at night, especially when I’m having trouble sleeping. Ït’s not the lack of sleep that gets you, but the overthinking” Basically, I imagine a stick figure guy inside my mind with his arms locked out in front of him (in a do not come closer kind of way) and each time a thought comes into my head, I acknowledge it, then put a cloud around the thought and my little man will push it away (like a slow wax on / wax off type of thing) haha. This is just what works for me. I also meditate at the Monday yoga stretch class – this is a guided meditation at the end which always leaves me feeling light, refreshed and so zenned out. I normally have such a busy mind, so I absolutely love that feeling of floating afterwards!
Now it’s your turn.. Have you tried meditating before? What works/doesn’t work for you?