Have you heard about meditation but don’t know what it is or how to do it? Here are some tips for learning how to meditate for the first time.
What is meditation?
Meditation is simply the act of clearing your mind to bring you a sense of peace. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You don’t have to sit for hours on a fancy pillow with your legs in lotus position. Meditation can be just a minute or two of silence. Learning to meditate is a personal practice that you will grow into and figure out as you go along. No judgement.
Why should I meditate?
Inner peace. That’s the whole goal of meditation. It’s a chance for you to step out of your daily life and shut down the endless chatter in your mind to give yourself a break. Meditation has been practiced and proved for thousands of years around the world. People worldwide meditate every day for the simple reason that it works. You can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, be more productive, show up as a better person in your life by simply learning how to meditate.
I see people holding their hands like this, do I have to do that?
No. You don’t have to sit in any twisted position or hold your hands in any certain way to meditate. With time and practice you may want to, but you certainly don’t have to. You can sit in a chair, on the floor or lay in your bed to meditate. You can even be standing or sitting at your desk at work and still meditate. The reason why some people sit in certain positions or hold there hands in different ways to for greater focus. You can learn all that fancy stuff later, but for now, just relax and learn how to meditate first 🙂
How to meditate:
You can start by simply closing your eyes and focus on your breath. Try to not think about anything and just feel and hear the air moving through you as you take a deep breath in, hold it, then slowly release. With each breath in, imagine a sense of peace filling you up. When you exhale, imagine releasing all the stress and tension in your body. Repeat with as many breaths as you feel you need.
Tip: I find it helpful to imagine + plus signs flowing in with my breath on the inhale, and – minus signs leaving my body on the exhale.
What if I can’t stop thinking?
It’s ok if thoughts come into your mind. Getting to the point where you can not think about anything takes time and patience. We all have that racing mind. When thoughts come in, just try not to get attached to them. It can be helpful to picture them as words floating across in front of you and letting them pass right by and disappear. When thoughts come in, just refocus on your breath. Learning how to meditate is a journey, not a destination. Just be gentle with yourself and try your best.
Ok, that was great, now what?
Why not make meditation a daily gift you give yourself? A great self care practice is to spend a few moments each morning in meditation before you begin your day. It will help you feel more calm and grounded, which starts your day on a much better note. Meditating again before bed can help you calm your mind, relax and get better sleep.
Guided meditation tracks are a great next step. A guided meditation is where someone walks you through some relaxation techniques and takes you on an inner journey in your mind. Guided meditation is perfect for you if you have trouble shutting off the thoughts, but want the benefits of meditation. Going on an inner journey entertains your mind so the non stop self talk ceases.
You can also learn some different visualization exercises you can do yourself.
Mantras or using affirmations is another meditation technique you may want to try. Pick a power phrase that you wish to focus on and try repeating that over and over in your mind while you meditate. It can help calm the random thoughts and program your mind for the new ways of being you aspire to. Here are a few mantras to try:
- I let go of anything that no longer serves me
- All the stress is leaving me now
- Love fills every cell in my body
- My life is getting better all the time