Tips for Beginning Your Own Meditation Practice
The practice of meditation became thousands of years ago as a part of prehistoric religion. In today’s society, it has become a widespread phenomenon and captured the attention of both health experts and scientists because of its many benefits. Not only can meditation decrease anxiety, stress, and depression, but it can also increase positive emotions, attention, immune function, and social connection. The following 5 tips can help you begin your own meditation practice and find a little more stillness in your life, without having to join a pricey yoga studio.
1. Start small
You do not have to sit for hours in silence to reap the benefits meditation. Committing just a few minutes out of your busy day can help promote its mood-boosting properties. We found that it is best to start short, even as little as one minute, and then gradually build up to longer periods of time, if desired.
2. Same time & place
Meditation is less about how long each individual session is, but more about creating a daily habit. The great thing about meditation is that it can be implemented at any time, in any setting. However, in order to establish a successful routine, it helps to do it at the same time and in the same location. Finding a quiet place first thing in the morning is a wonderful way to start the day, but it is important you find a schedule that works for your lifestyle.
3. Follow guided meditation
Guided meditations can help walk you through your practice step-by-step through verbal cues, music, and/or sounds. There are a plethora of free, pre-recorded guided meditations offered online. There are also apps that you can use on the go. We highly recommend downloading the app “Headspace” for their complimentary Take10 starter course.
4. Focus on your breath
Many of us will go through an entire day without taking a deep, cleansing breath. During your practice, get in tune with your body by counting your breath and/or placing a hand on your stomach. Before you know it your session will be complete.
5. Be gentle with your thoughts & emotions
It is easy to get frustrated with a busy mind during your meditation session. Rather than fighting your “to-do” list thoughts or anxious feelings, patiently observe them as they arrive and subside out of your consciousness. Visualizing a wave creeping up on the shore and then washing away can be helpful when addressing these thoughts and emotions.