Meditation is a Buddhist practice which is known to benefit our mental wellbeing.
It helps you to focus, be fully present and redirect your thoughts.
This article provides five simple ways for you to start meditating.
What is Meditation?
Meditation refers to a set of practices which are designed to improve concentration, increase awareness of the present moment and focus attention.
Meditation stems as far back as 5000 BC, when it was heavily integrated into Eastern philosophies and religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
Over the past few decades, it’s become increasingly popular in Western cultures. People use meditation for a range of reasons including self-discipline, pain management, reducing stress, better sleep and mental clarity.
How Do You Meditate?
There is no correct way to meditate; it’s important to find a way that works for you.
Meditation encompasses many different forms, including:
- Reciting a mantra
- Body scan (mentally scanning your body for different sensations)
- Guided meditation (i.e. following an instructor or listening to a podcast)
- Mindful meditation
- Meditative movement (i.e. yoga)
Follow our five simple tips to incorporate meditation into your daily life.
- Create a Relaxing Environment
Find a place where you won’t be disturbed such as your bedroom or living room.
Some people find it helpful to light a candle or infuse the room with some essential oils to focus their attention and induce feelings of calmness.
You may like to play some relaxing, meditative or classical music in the background. We’d recommend avoiding music with lyrics as this can divert your attention away from the meditative state.
Ensure the room you’re in is the right temperature; not too hot and not too cold. Finally, make sure you’re wearing some comfortable clothes which will enable you to sit in your chosen meditative position for an extended period of time. We’d recommend loose-fitting, cotton clothing.
2. Start With a Guided Meditation
If you’ve never meditated before, we’d suggest starting with a guided meditation.
Many offer short, beginner guided meditations that last for as little as five minutes. You don’t need to know how to meditate; all you need to do is listen to the meditation with an open mind.
Through a combination of words, visuals, music and breathing exercises, you will find yourself drifting into a deeply relaxing, meditative state.
3. Bring Yourself Back to the Present
It’s inevitable that once you start to slow down and meditate, your mind will start to drift.
Don’t beat yourself up over this; it’s a normal part of the meditative process. Simply acknowledge your thoughts and allow them to drift away like a cloud without reacting to them.
Meditation is about reverting your attention back to the present moment through your breath.
When your mind starts to wander, focus on breathing in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.
4. Establish a Daily Routine
It’s all too easy to find an excuse not to meditate; work, stress and general daily tasks can get in the way.
It’s important to prioritise your meditative time by allocating time for it in your busy schedule. Some people find that beginning their day with a few minutes of meditation is a useful way to start the day feeling re-energised and refreshed.
Others find that incorporating meditation into their evening routine is an important way to wind down and prepare for a blissful night of sleep.
Regardless of when you meditate, try to set a goal of how many times per week you will meditate and work it into your schedule accordingly.
5. Don’t Focus on Perfection
When you think of meditation, you might envisage somebody sitting cross legged, in a deep trance, reciting a mantra.
This might ring true for some people, but it’s certainly not a reality for most people. Focus on progress not perfection.
You might not feel like you’re progressing, and some days you mind may wander off during meditation sessions. That’s fine. The most important thing is that you’re finding time to prioritise your mental wellbeing by focusing on your breath. This itself is progress!