Meditation is an ancient practice that has been around for well over thousands of years. It’s a simple yet highly effective technique that can have life-transforming effects. It has regained its popularity in recent times for its amazing benefits both in the realm of mind and body. If you’re starting out and are looking for ways on how to meditate for beginners, then this article is just for you.
We’ll discuss every important detail related to meditation for beginners. After you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll have good knowledge of where to start and how you can use this practice to your benefit.
What to think about while meditating for beginners?
Meditation is all about putting a grip on your thinking and developing a sense of awareness. Now meditation is a simple technique, but many people teach it in ways that it seems complicated. If you want to know how to meditate for beginners, the first thing you should learn is what to think when you meditate. Below we’ll first look at some misconceptions and then the right techniques on how you need to think.
Do you “turn off” your mind during meditation?
No. Many starters come across this term that you’re supposed to somehow “turn off” your mind during meditation. Not only is this concept confusing but completely absurd too. There’s nothing involved about turning off your mind. Meditation is not about zoning out or becoming a vegetable. Let’s be clear, your mind will remain “on.” You will not hallucinate or undergo any weird experience.
Are you supposed to get rid of your thoughts?
Now another misconception is that you should get rid of thoughts. That’s also wrong because producing thoughts is exactly what our mind is designed for. As long as you live, your mind will have thoughts. Our minds simply cannot just stop thinking. Many beginners get discouraged because they can’t seem to get rid of their thoughts. But little do they know they don’t need to.
So, then what am I supposed to think during meditation?
Meditation is all about developing a healthier relationship with your thoughts. It’s all about becoming familiar with how you think and what kind of thoughts occupy your mind. Well, how do you go about doing that? It’s simple.
Focus on your breath
You use your breathing as a tool. So, you focus your full attention on it. You pick a fixed point such as your nose or your belly. Then you observe the air flowing in and out through that point. Remember, you do not have to control your breath in any way. You just simply observe it coming and going.
During this time, your mind will wander off and you will have all sorts of thoughts. Now, this is the gist of meditation. As soon as you observe that you have lost your focus on your breath and are now thinking about something else, you stop thinking about it by observing what was going on and bring your attention back to your breath.
This will happen countless times. And every time this happens, you will simply observe it and bring your attention back to your breath. Be gentle with yourself as this will happen a lot and it might frustrate you, but there’s nothing wrong in it for as long as you bring your focus back on breathing.
It’s like walking on the street. You see someone, you acknowledge them and then bring your attention back to your walking.
What is the right time for meditation for beginners?
Another reason why meditation for beginners is hesitating is that they think meditation requires hours. They fear that they’ll have to reschedule their days just for meditation. Again wrong. You can’t blame anyone for thinking like this because, in today’s fast-paced world, there’s never enough time.
The good news is that if you’re just starting out, even 5-10 minutes of meditation can have amazing benefits. Maybe you can try meditation for 2 minutes in the morning and then a few minutes later in the evening. You can adjust the time to your liking as you progress, there’s no specific time limit for meditation.
The important thing is that you just start. Even 2 minutes of meditation each day will show you improvement in your conditions. As you get more comfortable, you can crank it up to 20 minutes or even more depending on how much time you have.
Benefits of meditation
Let’s cut to the chase. Now you know how to meditate for beginners, but why should you bother anyway? Meditation might look simple and effort-free, but it leaves lots of amazing benefits in its trail.
1. Stress reduction
Meditation makes you a generally calmer person over time. It reduced stress hormones called cortisol in your body which translates to less stress. It also decreases symptoms of stress-related conditions in people.
2. Controls anxiety
Low stress means less anxiety. People who practice meditation report a reduction in many anxiety-related issues such as OCD, social phobias, or panic attacks.
3. Promotes emotional health
Meditation cures depression and creates a more positive outlook on life. Long term meditation can induce permanent benefits in the way you think, thus making you a happier and more optimistic person.
4. Increases self-awareness
You become more aware of how you think and learn to know yourself better. This helps you understand how your thinking works so you can make positive changes.
5. Increases attention span
Meditation is a practice of focus. It enhances your ability to redirect and maintain your attention. As little as 4 days of meditation can have an effect.
6. Improves memory loss
Regular meditation can increase clarity and strengthen memory. This works especially well for those who have memory-related issues due to older age.
7. Generates kindness
Some forms of meditations focus on cultivating positive feelings for yourself and others. This makes you kinder by cultivating empathy, compassion, and positivity towards others.
8. Improves sleep
Meditation can relax and control your obsessive thoughts that can interfere with your sleep. Meditation slows your racing mind and calms you down. This can help people with insomnia or who have difficulty sleeping because of their negative thoughts.
9. Helps fight addictions
Meditation helps you develop control. This can be especially helpful in fighting unwanted impulses. It helps lose weight, fight unwanted behaviors, and reform yourself for the better.
10. Decreases blood pressure
When you meditate your whole body enters a relaxed state. Individuals who meditate regularly experience normal blood pressure as it helps reduce strain on arteries or heart disease.
11. It helps control your pain
People that have chronic illnesses often experience relief with meditation as it can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. It can even sometimes work as a supplement for physical therapy.
12. It improves your thinking
Meditation makes your mind much sharper. It increases your brain’s problem solving and decision-making strategies. The more you meditate, the more powerful your brain feels.
As long as you don’t meditate yourself, you won’t fully experience the upsides of meditation in their full bloom. These were only the primary benefits, you will experience several other positive changes as well.
How to meditate in bed?
Usually, meditation is done while sitting cross-legged or on a chair with your back straight. But, meditation is a flexible practice. Meditating before sleep can boost your quality of sleep and make you relaxed in the true sense. If you feel like you want to meditate while lying in your bed, then you can definitely do that too. Here’s how:
- Lie down on your back with a straight spine, feet should be hip-length apart.
- Rest your arms comfortably on the side, your palms should be upwards.
- Stretch your body a little and place it in a comfortable position where there’s no stress on your joints.
- Remember, you don’t have to push anything. Just hold your body in a comfortable position and relax.
- Now when you’re completely relaxed, start by paying attention to your breath. Close your eyes and feel the air flowing in and out through your body.
- Observe your thoughts as you would in any other meditation position. Once you’re done, stay in that position for a couple of more minutes and then experience the good sleep that comes after meditation.
How to meditate for beginners? — Guided Meditation
All the basic and essential things you need to do while meditating are mentioned above. But, here’s a guided meditation technique for beginners to really hit it home. We’ll look at the procedure once more step by step so you can clear any doubts. Here’s how it goes:
- Find a place where it’s comfortable for you to meditate: Try picking up a room that’s free of distractions such as noise and is cozy to be in.
- Choose a time for your meditation: Optimally, morning is the best time, but you can do it whenever it suits you.
- Wear comfortable clothes: Such as your PJ’s or anything which lets your body loose.
- Sit in a comfortable position: Usually, people sit in a lotus position with their legs crossed. But there’s no restriction on how you should sit. You can sit on a cushion, on the floor, or even a chair. Whatever is most comfortable for you. Keep your back straight and comfortable and sit still.
- Set a timer: Set aside a couple of minutes before you start. For beginners, 10 minutes can do the trick, but if you have more time you can set your timer for 20 minutes too.
- Start with long and deep breaths: Always take 5-7 long and deep breaths when you start. It helps your body adjust and relax.
- Focus your mind on your breath: Once you’re comfortable, gently close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath. Don’t try to control it, just see your breath as it normally is.
- Just know you’ll have thoughts: As soon as you start focusing your breath, you will experience some random thoughts. You will notice sounds in your environment, sensations in your body, in short, all sorts of distractions.
- It’s normal to feel distracted: Now you will feel distracted and find yourself in a different chain of thought than what you started with. Know it’s normal and it will keep happening.
- Bring your attention back to your breath: Your mind wanders, now as soon as you become aware of it, you shift your focus back to your breath. You non-judgmentally see your thoughts, observe how you got sidetracked, and then come back to your breath.
- Keep with it for your specific time: You will keep getting distracted and your job is just to know when you’re distracted and come back to focusing on the breath. Do it for the duration of your timer.
- Know when your time’s up: When your timer rings, don’t instantly get up. Sit there for a couple of minutes, stretching your body and feeling the relaxing sensations. Look around and when you feel like it, get up and carry on with your day.
There you have it. A complete guide on how to meditate for beginners and why you should do it along with every step of the process. Now, to experience the true colors of meditation you’ll have to meditate first. Set aside a proper time and meditate daily. In a couple of weeks, you’ll understand why meditation matters so much and how it can help you become a better version of yourself.