An Intro Guide to Meditation
New to meditation? Don’t let it stress you out! In this article I’ll teach you how to do it with this intro guide to meditation. Meditation is about the journey and not the destination, here’s how to enjoy that journey and get the most of its benefits.
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Meditation is gaining popularity thanks to trendy (and accessible!) apps that allow people to learn how to meditate in the comfort of their home. I used to think meditating was so intimidating. I think it was because I was focused on the end goal instead of the journey. The experience matters as much as the result. No, I’m not a zen master but I do know that focusing on calming my mind through simple meditation has helped my overall wellbeing.
Meditation is a simple practice that anyone can do almost anywhere, which can provide mental, spiritual and physical benefits. Research has shown meditation to reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Who doesn’t want that?
One of my greatest lessons with meditation is learning that it isn’t so much about clearing your thoughts as it is about becoming more aware of them. We oftentimes associate our innate being with our mind, but our mind is basically a never-ending loop of thoughts run by our ego. I don’t necessarily mean ego in the overly-confident sense, but more our method of self-protection and preservation. It feeds us thoughts to try to understand and control things because of a belief that it will make us feel safer when in reality these thoughts do not serve us at all.
Developing an awareness around these thoughts allows us to better understand which thoughts serve us and which ones we ought to let go of. It’s a never-ending process and while you can certainly improve and prolong the amount of time you meditate, actually mastering it is a hard concept to grasp (that’s why there are so few people we can identify as experts). But as I said, the benefits are in the journey, not the destination. Here’s my intro guide to meditation.
The most important thing to remember about meditation is there is not one way to do it…or one right way. Some meditate with their legs crossed on the floor with incense burning while others do walking meditations while moving in nature. Another reminder that wellness looks different on everyone!
If you’re just starting out, I’ve found it to be very helpful to have a meditation guide. There are several apps I love that lead you through quick meditations that are super doable and easily accessible from anywhere. Spoiler alert: you’re not going to sit down and meditate for 30 minutes on your first go. You’ll start with five or ten minutes and build from there…and trust me, five minutes will be hard at first!
My favorite apps:
How to start:
- Download one of the recommended apps – I suggest starting with a guided meditation rather than just a music + timer
- Find a quiet, comfortable spot. This could be in your home, at a park, wherever you feel grounded.
- Start the meditation on the app – it will guide you from start to finish, letting you when to close and open your eyes, how to breathe, what to focus on, what to do with your thoughts.
If using an app is not right for you, set a timer for 5 minutes and close your eyes. In a seated position focus on your breath for the remainder of the timer. When a thought comes, acknowledge it and then let it go. Come back to your breath.
Stay as present as you can through the meditation. I won’t lie, it’s hard at first. The more you practice, the easier it gets but the truth is that some days will feel more natural than others. I’ve found that the biggest impact for me has been noticing the days when I do not meditate. I feel less grounded, more prone to reactivity and just overall more scatterbrained. I try to prioritize it for these reasons but am also compassionate with myself if I just don’t get to it. Beating yourself up for not meditating is definitely not the point!
Do you meditate? How do you do it?
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