Meditation is a simple way for you to practice mindfulness in an emotionally calm and mentally clear and stable state. There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to meditation, so we threw together this simple guide of do’s and don’ts to help you on your way to a healthier and better you.
When you first begin your meditation journey, it’s best to start with small increments of time. Aiming to sit quietly for 10 to 15 minutes can turn out to be more challenging than you might think. Studies have shown that 10 minutes of meditation each day can improve your focus and relieve anxiety.
Comparing yourself to others is unhealthy for many reasons, but it’s important to remember that meditation is different for everyone and what you see or how you feel will vary from someone else. There is no one ‘better’ way to meditate. Meditation is deeply personal and individual, and it’s likely that even your own personal experiences will differ from session to session, so definitely don’t compare yourself to others.
The best way to make something stick is to make it a habit, and that means doing it every day. Furthermore, you should try to meditate every day at the same time. Studies have shown that meditating in the morning is the most beneficial because you are least likely to blow it off or postpone it. Of course, some people, like me, prefer to meditate before going to sleep (I use the Guided Meditation podcast on Spotify). I find that this improves my overall sleep quality and helped me go to bed easier. But again, this process differs from person to person.
It’s okay to miss a day or even a couple. Sometimes, life gets in the way and it’s important to understand that. Just because you miss a couple of days of meditation, doesn’t mean you’ve lost all of your progress. Simply remember the reason you turned to meditation in the first place and begin anew the next day.
Everyone is different, and that doesn’t change when it comes to meditation. There are many different styles of meditation that you can choose from, ranging from breath-focused meditation to guided affirmations meditation. You should find what works for you, and the best way to do that is to try new things!
It’s important to be patient with yourself. Change doesn’t happen in a day, and it’s possible that you won’t feel any notable improvements after the first few times you meditate, but by no means does this mean that it’s not working! Meditation, like any other activity, requires practice.
Having a dedicated meditation space can make all the difference, especially during the COVID-19 epidemic with everybody at home. It’s important that you find a place where you won’t be disturbed. Also, adopting a meditation spot can get you into the mindset of meditation earlier, just like an office space incentivizes work and your bedroom is where you sleep. However, make sure that you are comfortable! If you’re on the floor, grab a couple of pillows to make things comfier.
When we lay down, we send signals to our brain that we are ready to go to sleep, and you have to teach your body the difference between a relaxing meditative state and falling asleep. It’s best to stay seated during your meditation. Once again, use pillows, or lean against a wall to make yourself more comfortable!
A gentle timer is a good way to signal the end of your meditation. The Insight Timer app is a good one to use that gentle chimes at the end of your desired time. The use of a timer also decreases your time-based anxiety and will stop you from peeking at the clock every two minutes.
Meditating isn’t about becoming good at meditation, but rather improving your overall mental and physical well-being. It’s okay to get distracted during some meditations, or even drift to sleep. What matters is that you meditated that day at all, and how you feel you are progressing in your day-to-day life having started meditation.
By deciding to make meditation a habit, you’ve already had one success! Beginning a new activity is just as important as maintaining it. Celebrate your small successes as well. Each time you are able to meditate longer, or focus more, count it as a win! It’s important to recognize your successes in meditation because, as with any mental exercise, it can often feel like we are constantly failing. But rest assured, you’re not. Give yourself credit for the small things, and you’ll start to see that they add up.
While it’s okay to get distracted sometimes, the main goal of your meditation practice will be achieved through focus. You can find your focus easily by concentrating on your breath. When your mind strays, draw your attention to your breath, your inhale and exhale, and breathe until you regain your concentration.
It’s important to have an open mind about not only meditation itself, but what you find during meditation. During your session, don’t judge yourself or the thoughts that you might have. Treat yourself with kindness and have an open heart, as that’s the only way you will be able to heal.
Meditation is extremely individualistic, but hopefully, with these tips, you’ll find something that works for you. One thing that I want to emphasize about meditation is that you have to want to do it. No one can force you to meditate, or sit quietly and focus your mind. It has to be something that you want internally. It’s important to remember your ‘why?’. Why did you turn to meditation? Why are you here? These questions will help center you and provide you with the motivation you need to begin your meditation sessions.
With all of this in mind, I wish you all a positive and healthy day.
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