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Meditating for beginners in 10 practical steps

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Over the last several years, meditation has grown in popularity. What is meditation? Meditation is a mental practice that entails relaxation, concentration, and awareness. It is similar to physical exercise in that it is beneficial to both the mind and the body. Meditation is a personal activity, even if done in a group environment. Anyone can meditate. It is an inexpensive and simple activity which doesn't require special equipment to achieve a meditative state.


Meditation has shown moderate evidence of improving several afflictions. Without going into much detail (that's another article in itself), meditating can help you stay healthy, prevent diseases, increase your emotional well-being, and improve your performance in almost any physical or mental work. Some advantages appear after as little as eight weeks of daily practice depending on the intensity of your meditations.

 

Now that I've provided the meaning of meditation and a synopsis of it's benefits, let's dive into 10 easy, practical steps.

  1. Find a quiet setting. Meditating is easier in a quiet space with little to no distraction. Turn off the television, silence your cell phone, and make sure the kids are occupied with an activity of their own for 15 minutes.

  2. Set a time limit. If you are a beginner to meditation, starting with 5-10 minutes will give enough time to clear your mind, improve your mood, and reduce stress. Some days you may have more time than others. As you get accustomed to your meditative ritual, you can extend your time accordingly.

  3. Get in a comfortable position. You can sit or lie down. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you are comfortable and stable so you get the most out of your meditation.

  4. Close your eyes. It is best to keep your eyes closed. Meditation is about clearing your mind; keeping your eyes open may be cause distraction. Your attention may be drawn elsewhere instead of within.

  5. Breathe deeply. Deep breathing helps invoke relaxation in our bodies. I personally take 3 deep breaths; breathe in deep through your nose, hold for 2 seconds and exhale through your mouth, releasing longer than you inhaled. With each exhale you feel tension leaving your body. After deep breathing fall back into your normal breathing rhythm. It may take 4 or 5 deep inhales and exhales until you feel relaxed, that's ok. Do what feels right for you.

  6. Quiet your mind. Acknowledge any thoughts that pop into your head, and then let them go. Clear and calm your mind - this may be the toughest part of meditating. Sometimes the mind is too active, but forcing a clear mind will only leave you frustrated. Be kind and easy on yourself. This step may take some time.

  7. Return when your mind wanders. When your mind does wander, and it will, gently return to your breath, take a couple deep breaths and exhale. I call this a soft reset. Not exactly starting from the beginning, but you are resetting and clearing your thoughts to proceed into your meditation.

  8. Be present. Listen to your breathing, listen to the stillness around you. You won't be able to find silence thinking about your next meal or errand. Just be in the moment, the silent moment.

  9. Don't fret that you are doing it wrong. Believe me, we all experience our wandering mind during meditation. As you practice, it does get easier. Be kind and gentle with yourself. There is no right or wrong and there is no perfect way to meditate, it's about finding the technique that works for you.

  10. Gently bring yourself back. As you begin to come out of your meditation, sense the chair beneath you, the sounds and smells around you. Be aware of your hands resting in your lap and the placement of your feet. When you are ready, open your eyes slowly.



I've been meditating every day for the past couple of years. Meditation has drastically impacted my life in ways I never imagined. When I'm frustrated, anxious, or aggravated by any given situation, all I have to do is close my eyes, take 3 deep breathes, quiet my mind, and sit in the silence and calm for 5 minutes. I've rewired my thinking for happiness, calm, and success since commencing daily meditation and you can too.




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