The practice of meditation has been growing in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic.
Simply put, it involves taking time out of your day to immerse yourself in the present moment. The idea is to pay attention to your thoughts, emotions and sensations to boost self-awareness, improve your concentration and reduce stress and anxiety.
New to this? Not to worry — here’s our easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide when it comes to how to meditate for beginners.
1. Set Some Time Aside
Firstly, decide on when you will take some time out of your day to dwell in meditation.
Whether this is first thing in the morning or while you’re walking your dog, it’s important to devise a routine so you can get comfortable with the practice.
2. Find a Quiet Space
Next, make sure the area you choose to meditate in is quiet.
Needless to say, it’s going to be super difficult to concentrate if you have screaming kids surrounding you or loud music coming from next door.
Pick a time where you know you’re going to be alone so you can truly focus on yourself.
3. Get Comfortable
Meditation goes a whole lot more smoothly if you’re comfortable where you’re sitting. When you’re not comfortable, you often end up wriggling around, which makes it difficult to enjoy the process.
In fact, you might want to lie down while you’re meditating to allow your muscles (and mind) to fully relax.
4. Set a Time Limit
According to Mindful.org, if you’re brand new to meditation, you might want to set a time limit.
Choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes, until you gain more confidence with the practise.
5. Control Your Breathing
Now, let’s get down to the actual meditating part.
The first step is to control your breathing. Focus on transforming your breathing from short, quick inhales and exhales to slower, deeper ones.
It’s all about using your breathing to find stillness. Pay attention to the rhythm. Where do you feel your breath the most?
Put your hand on your stomach and feel it rise and expand as you draw in air and fall as you let the air out.
Try to aim for six breaths a minute as you feel your body let go of any tension.
6. Notice a Wandering Mind
Is your mind wandering while you’re focusing on your breathing? Not to worry — this is perfectly natural.
The trick to successful meditation is acknowledging when your mind has wandered and then bringing your attention back to your breath, whether this takes a couple of seconds or minutes.
If you’re really struggling to settle your mind, you can use a guided meditation. Sometimes, it helps to use the audio as a distraction to your wandering thoughts.
7. Finish Up with Kindness
Lastly, when you’re ready, lift your gaze (or open your eyes if you shut them).
Take a moment to notice any sights and smells around you. Pay attention to how you feel. Acknowledge your thoughts and emotions.
And it’s as simple as that!
Figuring Out How to Meditate for Beginners
Meditation is just like any other activity — practise makes perfect!
If you find your mind wandering constantly during the first few times, that’s fine. Just be kind to yourself, persevere and realise that, in time, you’ll notice a big improvement in your daily life.