Start meditating today – a beginners guide

I’ve published a few posts on my blog in regards to meditation and the many benefits I believe it can generate. I felt it would be a good idea to put a simple guide together to teach anyone how to meditate and I hope these 6 tips help you.

 

1. Decide when you are going to meditate each day and how much time you can dedicate to this

I personally meditate twice a day if I can, my first morning session lasts approximately 10–15 minutes and it is either a guided session or solo . My second session takes place in the evening approximately 1 hour before I go to bed and this is a unguided session, I use an app called white noise which provides comforting background noise to my breathing exercises — my second session of the day is more aimed at relaxing me before I sleep, where as my first session of the day is aimed at awakening and preparing me for the day ahead.

For First few weeks I always suggest taking 5 to 10 minutes for your sessions and then increase as you see fit when you get comfortable.

 

2. Find a quiet space and get comfy

I have several go to quiet spots in my house that I use to practice my meditation, I use a mixture of sitting on the floor and also sitting on a chair. I do find on occasions that sitting on a chair allows me to focus more and get a bit more comfortable which is very beneficial for my morning sessions to get me ready for the day, in the evening I mostly sit on the floor and allow myself to relax that way.

Always make sure you find a comfortable and quiet place, keep your back straight when in position and keep your neck relaxed, your muscles should slowly release tension too. Regardless of whether you’re using a timer or a soothing background noise app for your session always make sure you commit to the full length of the session you set yourself even if you’re finding it easy or tough.

 

3. Defocus your sight and breathe deeply

Look softly and unfocused into the distance, then start by taking 3–5 deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. On your last exhalation slowly begin to close your eyes and continue the soft breathing pattern.

 

4. Getting settled

With your eyes still closed and starting to form a breathing pattern, switch your breathing from the nose and mouth and just focus on breathing through the nose, let in your body hit its natural breathing rhythm. Take a few moments now to get in tune with the senses in your body, checking your posture, the sensation of the feet on the ground and the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs.

 

5. Observe your breathing

Now bring your attention to your breath. Ideally we want to be breathing in just through the nose, but if it makes you feel more comfortable I would suggest using the breathing in via the nose and out the mouth technique at the beginning and then you can slowly progress to just breathing through your nose. At this point you can relax and let your body take over, it knows how to breathe and just focus on those breaths as you inhale and exhale if it helps you you can actually count the breaths, for me personally this doesn’t work I just like to focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling.

Don’t worry if your mind wanders, thoughts and feelings will continually pass through your mind which is perfectly normal and you’ll learn to better manage these through your journey. What we want to do is bring the mind back and focus on the breath, as soon as you’re distracted refocus your senses on your breathing, focusing on the rising and falling sensation in the body. The purpose of meditation is to help us be in the moment and focus on the now, I sometimes use a phrase to help me focus when I’m breathing or I simply just focus on the breaths as they pass.

 

6. You’ve done it

As your timer goes off take 30 seconds before you kick off to do anything with the rest of your day. Just remind yourself of that feeling of relaxation and clarity, think to yourself about how you’re going to take these feeling with you for the rest of the day. The main focus of meditation is to make you more aware and live in the now which is why it is very useful for those with anxiety (like me) as it helps the mind to focus on one particular thing and not have a scattergun approach overthinking and worrying about all manner of subjects at one time.

Give it a shot and see how you do, meditation is not the only way to relax but it is a useful tool for your kit that can be used to help achieve this along with other activities.

 

Resources

Headspace app available on IOS and Android

White noise calming Sounds app available on IOS and Android

Related Studies on meditation benefits at Harvard Journal & Forbes

 

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