Meditation is a mind training technique that can help relieve stress, free your mind and help you relax — so how do you learn how to meditate?
In this guide i’ll introduce you to the health and wellbeing benefits of meditation. I’ll also show you how to get started with it and how to get the most out of it. By getting to grips with meditation techniques you’ll give yourself a sure fire way to improve your emotional wellbeing and this guide will help you master the process as a beginner.
Meditation can provide a myriad of health and wellbeing benefits. A lot of research has been carried out about meditation since it gained popularity in the 1970s and all of the following short term benefits have been documented:
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Better blood circulation
- A relaxed state
- Reduction in stress levels
- Increased wellbeing
- A reduction in anxiety levels
- Lower heart rate and cortisol
At the moment we aren’t sure of the long term benefits since no peer-reviewed studies exist into this. Meditation m ay help with certain health issues but this isn’t its goal. The goal of meditation is simply to just be. To achieve a state that empties the mind and lets you exist in the moment.
In Buddhism, meditation is seen as freedom of the mind from situations, feelings and experiences it cannot control.
How to meditate
The process of meditation can seem complicated but once you get started you’ll find it’s actually quite simple. Use the tips below as an introduction to meditation.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position or pose. For some lying on a yoga mat will work and for others, sitting with legs crossed will be better. Try out a few positions to see which position is most comfortable.
- Make sure the room is quiet and warm. Not too warm, but a comfortable temperature.
- Shut your eyes.
- Focus on your breath but breathe naturally. Don’t force it. You want a calm natural breath. Focus on how your body reacts to each breath. Feel how your chest moves as you inhale and exhale, relax your shoulders, and feel how your belly moves. Give all your attention to your breath but don’t force it. Keep your mind on your breath, it’s natural for random thoughts to creep in but force them out of your mind by going back to concentrating on your breathing.
Start with small periods of meditation and gradually make them longer. Three minutes is a good time to start with and try working your way up to meditation sessions of 15 minutes.
- Meditate at the same time each day to help establish a routine. For many people morning will work well and it is a great way to start your day. If you have trouble sleeping or get restless then a pre-bedtime meditation session will work better for you. It all comes down to personal preference.
- Like the step above, making sure to meditate in the same place each day can really help with establishing a routine. Just make sure that wherever you choose is quiet and comfortable.
- Experiment to find the position that’s best for you. Don’t force yourself into a position if it isn’t comfortable.
- Try the following positions to find out which one works:
- Sit in a chair with arms and legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor
- Lie on a yoga matt with a pillow under your head
- Sit in a yoga position, back straight, legs crossed
- Think about how you feel emotionally and physically? Are you feeling stressed, anxious or maybe you’re happy and excited. Make a note of your emotional state so that you can compare it with how you feel after meditation.
- If you can’t meditate one day, make a note as to why. Are there regular things coming up that are impacting on your ability to meditate. Is there anything you can do to mitigate this. Maybe choosing a different time of day to meditate.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a while to get to grips with meditation, just persevere.
- After your session, think about how you are feeling. What is your physical and emotional state? Is your mind more clear, do you feel more focused or less anxious?
- Take a moment to bathe in your relaxed state, don’t rush into your next task but just live in the moment.
- Maybe prolong the good feeling by doing something you enjoy. Have a long bath, read a book or listen to some music.
If you’ve enjoyed this guide, don’t forget to fill in the subscribe box below and also check out my guide to asmr for an alternative to conventional meditation.
Hopefully you’ve found this beginners guide to meditation helpful and now have the confidence and resources to start practicing meditation. Just leave me a comment below if you need any further help.