So, you know that you want to start meditating (after all, it does boast a TON of potential benefits), but you might not be sure where to start, or even how to do it. There is a big misconception with the practice of meditation that you have to be able to clear your mind of any and all thoughts and be perfect at entering a next level zen-like state … The truth is, meditation is a practice and just the act of trying to slow your mind down and be present is what it is all about.
For those of you who are looking for a little help in getting started, we have put together some of our best tips for the new meditator.
GET COMFORTABLE … WHEREVER THAT IS FOR YOU!
We typically think of meditation as sitting up straight with your legs crossed and eyes closed. While this may work for some, it is certainly not the only way to get into a meditative state. The truth is, you should just be comfortable … Whether that means sitting up, laying down flat, or even curled up in your favorite chair. Just find a position that you can stay still in.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO MEDITATE
There are absolutely different ways to meditate, and it’s a good idea to try different approaches to see what works best for you. Two of the most popular approaches are Transcendental Meditation and Mindfulness meditation.
Transcendental Mediation is the practice of getting the mind still, and focusing on your breath or a mantra, with the idea of transcending your own thoughts to get into a meditative state. Mindfulness meditation is more about staying very focused on your body, and in the present moment. This form of meditation is a great one if you want to meditate using personal affirmations.
According to Quora (who offers a great breakdown of these two types of meditation): “The main difference between the two is that the goal of mindfulness meditation is to have one’s thoughts be on the present moment, whereas with Transcendental Meditation, the process involves transcending thought itself and experiencing a state “pure awareness,” in which one is aware but without an object of thought.”
START WITH A BODY SCAN AND FOCUSING ON YOUR BREATH
Regardless of what kind of meditation you want to try, it’s a good idea to always start with some deep breaths … The kind of breaths that come from your belly (think breathing like a baby does). This signals to your body and mind that you are ready to deeply relax. Once you are in your comfortable position, start mentally scanning your body from your toes, all the way up to the top of your head. Once you are done scanning, go back to focusing on your breath.
IT’S NOT ABOUT FORCING YOURSELF TO HAVE NO THOUGHTS
One big misconception in meditation that leaves a lot of new meditators frustrated is the idea that you are supposed to have zero thoughts. Our brains are complex machines, and it is very hard to try and shut out thoughts all together. Instead, it is more important to try and clear your mind, and when a thought comes into your head, to just acknowledge it, and then let it pass. Remember, meditation is a practice and you are not meant to be perfect at it. And on that note ….
IF YOU CAN’T SETTLE YOUR MIND, FOCUS ON GRATITUDE INSTEAD
Sometimes you can sit down to meditate and it feels almost impossible to shut your mind off no matter how hard you try. Instead of fighting this, and feeling like you are having a fruitless meditative session, try shifting your focus instead. Stay in your comfortable position, continue to take those deep breaths, and try mentally listing all of the things that you are currently grateful for. This practice of gratitude is an extremely effective mood and energy booster, and an incredible way to come out of your mediation feeling recharged. Because you are thinking of things that you are currently grateful for, it also keeps your mind in the present moment.
TRY A GUIDED MEDITATION
There are a TON of amazing resources out there for guided mediations. Just browse through Spotify and search ‘meditation’ and you will be flooded with results for both guided meditations as well as meditative music. These guided sessions are a great way to learn more about the practice of meditation and what works for you.
A meditation doesn’t have to go on for hours, even five minutes can be effective (although we recommend at least 15). When you are first beginning, commit to the practice and see how it can benefit you. Give your new meditation habit at least 30 days.
SAY NICE THINGS TO YOURSELF WHEN YOU ARE DONE
When we speak to ourselves, the brain listens! While it is hard to always say only positive and glowing things to ourselves, try forming a new habit of speaking kindly to yourself for a few minutes after every time you meditate. You will be amazed at the impact this can have on your overall self-image.
Happy meditating! Beijos xx
Women of Today