Meditation. It sounds like something only certain people will master. But, while we tend to associate it with monks and yogis, anyone can do it. The question remains, however; why is it relevant? Why are people talking about it and can it really benefit you? Meditation has become the buzzword but it’s far more than a trend. In a time when our lives are ruled by worry, stress, stress-related health conditions, and sleeplessness, we need something to help ground us and deal with life’s nitty-gritty and curveballs. Meditation takes us outside ourselves and away from our troubles, which can help us see things more clearly and handle them better.
If you’ve never tried meditation before, it can be daunting. So many questions run through your mind – are you doing it right? How are you supposed to feel? Why do you have 101 thoughts? The truth is, meditation doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to sit for hours trying to empty your mind. The tips given below can help you get started. And, you’ll realize how easy it actually is!
Many meditation photos you come across show practitioners sitting ramrod straight with legs folded on uncomfortable-looking mats. You don’t need to follow suit. Choosing a position that’s comfortable will allow you to slip into a meditative state more easily. You can sit on the couch, on the floor atop a cushion, etc. Just make sure there are zero distractions like pets and people who can disturb you.
Deep, controlled breathing has been found to reduce stress and calm the brain. It’s believed that it changes the response of the autonomic nervous system that’s tasked with controlling heart rate, digestion, and stress response. When you control your breathing, it sends a signal to the brain telling it to slow heart rate and control the stress response.
To start controlled breathing, relax and breathe normally for about 1-2 minutes. Observe your breath while doing so. Then, slowly deepen your breath so that your ribcage expands. Continue this for a few minutes. As you become more familiar with meditation, set aside more time for it – 15 to 20 minutes – each day to experience a longer sense of calm and relaxation.
Morning meditations set the pace for the entire day. Each day has some stressor or another and being able to deal with it effectively means you need to be focused and calm. If you’re in this state of mind from the morning, you’ll be able to deal with things better. You’ll also be in a better mood and stress won’t get to you as much. What’s more, you don’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour – just set the alarm 15-30 minutes earlier than your usual wake-up time.
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If you’ve associated meditation with emptying your mind, you’re not alone. One of the concerns beginners have is that there are just too many thoughts floating around to keep the mind empty. The truth is you don’t have to push away your thoughts; you can acknowledge them and let them go. Don’t focus on them but rather let them enter and slowly guide your mind back to your breathing. This technique is characteristic of mindfulness meditation. Along with it, practitioners also observe sensations in the body such as heat, cold, fatigue, tightening and relaxing of muscles, etc. Focusing on the body keeps you grounded and acts as a balance to ever-racing thoughts.
Experienced practitioners make meditation look easy. They seem to know what to do and how to do it. As a beginner, it’s normal to feel a little nervous and even silly. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to feel that sense of calm that practitioners rave about. Don’t worry. There’s no perfect way to meditate and much of it comes with experience. For now, just sit comfortably, breathe, let your thoughts be and gently guide your mind back to your breath. With time and practice, you’ll find it much easier to enter a tranquil state of mind.
Meditation is not about resistance. It’s letting go of resistance to thoughts and sounds. It doesn’t take time, doesn’t require special equipment and qualifications. Even if you have a day packed with work and appointments, you can spare 5 minutes to focus on yourself and your well-being y