What Is Meditation
Simply put Meditation is a wellness practice that has been proven to reduce stress, improve focus, and contribute to a range of mental and physical health benefits.
How to Meditate
While there are many different forms of meditations and ways to practice, learning a basic meditation for beginners is a wonderful place to begin.
- Choose a quiet spot that is free of distractions. Turn off your phone, television, and other distractions. If you choose to play quiet music, select something calm and repetitive.
- Set a time limit. If you are just getting started, you might want to stick to shorter sessions of about 5 to 10 minutes in length.
- Pay attention to your body and get comfortable. You can sit cross-legged on the floor or in a chair as long as you feel that you can sit comfortably for several minutes at a time.
- Focus on your breathing. Try taking deep breaths that expand your belly and then slowly exhale. Pay attention to how each breath feels.
- Notice your thoughts. The purpose of meditation is not to clear your mind—your mind is inevitably going to wander. Instead, focus on gently bringing your attention back to your breath whenever you notice your thoughts drifting. Do not judge your thoughts or try to analyze them; simply direct your mind back to your deep breathing.
Impact and benefits of Meditation
- Reduces Stress. This is one of the most common reasons people try meditation.
- Control’s anxiety. As we have just mentioned that mediation can reduce stress levels, this translates to less anxiety as a result.
- Promotes emotional health. Meditation can lead to improved self-image and a more positive outlook on life.
- Enhances self-awareness. Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self. For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.
- Lengthens attention span. Focused-attention meditation is like weightlifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention.
- Improves sleep. A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control runaway thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that will help you get started on a beneficial meditation practice.
- Start slow. Begin by doing short sessions of around 5 to 10 minutes a day, and then work your way up progressively to longer sessions.
- Set a schedule. Try meditating at the same time each day—for a few minutes first thing in the morning, for example.
- Get comfortable. Sitting cross-legged on the floor is one option, but comfort is the real key. You need to be in a position where you can sit for several minutes without getting uncomfortable, stiff, or restless.
- Focus on what you are feeling. Breath naturally and notice the feelings and sensations that you experience as you breathe in and out.
- Do not try to suppress feelings. Your mind is bound to wander as you meditate—and sometimes this can lead to thoughts and feelings and are uncomfortable or even distressing. The goal is not to clear your mind of such thoughts. Instead, acknowledge these thoughts without judging them, and then gently guide your focus back toward your breathing.