There are plenty of great reasons to start incorporating meditation into your daily life. It’s a simple practice that has been used for thousands of years to benefit overall health – and the results don’t lie. Meditating has been shown to not only promote physical health (lower blood pressure, reduce headaches, boost immune system, increase energy levels), but also mental health (emotional stability, reduced stress, increased creativity, mental clarity).
Taking just a few minutes a day to meditate can be all you need to start seeing benefits. Never tried meditation before? Here are ten tips for the newbies out there!
- Start small.
Set a timer for only two minutes. Yes, just two! This may seem so simple, but it’s a great way to get started. After you’ve practiced just two minutes a day for a week, increase it by another two minutes. Soon you’ll be able to quiet your mind for 10 minutes every day, no problem!
- Try a meditation app.
There are free apps to download that provide guided meditation to those new to the practice. An app that costs a little money but has gotten a lot of praise is Headspace. They even have the science to back up the importance of meditation!
- Choose the right time.
A good idea is to meditate first thing in the morning, or just before you’re about to go to bed. It will ensure that you don’t lose track of that time throughout the day, while also either starting off with peaceful energy or quieting your mind just before sleep.
- Find a good location.
It doesn’t have to be perfectly quiet, but choosing somewhere that you find serene and comfortable will aid in your practice. It can be in your bedroom with the door closed, or outside in a park where you can breathe fresh air.
- Sit comfortably.
You don’t have to fold yourself up like a yogi, or sit with your back straight and rigid. Sit anyway you feel comfortable, or even lay on your back. The point is to find an easy position to relax into without falling asleep!
- Don’t worry about doing it “wrong”.
At first, you may think there are certain right and wrong ways to practice meditation. This simply isn’t true! There’s no perfect way to do it. Focus on your happiness, not correctness.
- Count your breaths.
This is one of the easiest ways to keep your mind present. Slowly breathe in and count “one” as you take in the first breath deep into your lungs. Count “two” as you breathe out, repeat to the count of ten, then begin again at one.
- Understand that your mind will wander, and come back to the moment.
Meditation is about clearing your mind, and living in the present moment. This can be difficult to do for a long period of time, and the mind will inevitably wander. When you notice that you begin to think of other things, just start counting breaths again and consciously bring your mind back to the present.
- Be forgiving and loving.
Remember that your meditation session may not be perfect every day. You may have trouble adjusting the first few times you try, and that’s okay! It’s more important to keep practicing, as it will get easier. If you feel frustration, push out that emotion with love and forgiveness then move forward.
- Be thankful, and smile!
When you’ve finished your practice, think about everything you’re grateful for in your life and reflect on how you spent those two minutes. Smile that you’ve taken a big step on your path to a less stressed and more happy life!
Have you tried meditating? What has helped you to incorporate meditation into your everyday life?
[Credit: Babauta, Leo. “Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind.” Zen Habits.]
[Credit: The Art of Living. “8 Tips to Get Started with Meditation.” ArtofLiving.org.]