July 17 2019 – Tyra Johnson-Brown
You’ve undoubtedly heard that meditation is very good for you. It can help you to reduces stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, enhances self awareness, reduces memory loss, and may help you to fight addictions.
People choose meditation for a wide range of reasons, whether to improve their creativity, help visualize a goal, quiet their inner chatter, or make a spiritual connection. If your only goal is to spend a few minutes every day being present in your body without worrying about everything you must do, that’s a good enough reason to meditate. Try not to over-complicate your reasons for meditating. At its core, it's just about relaxing and refusing to be caught up in everyday anxieties. Understand what meditation can do for you if you have issues with stress, anxiety, irritability, or overthinking. Meditation is a great way to increase your resilience to stress. If you have anxiety, it will help reduce your general tendency towards physiological over arousal and calm your nervous system.
Limit Your Distractions
Start small with 3-5 minutes (or less). Most beginner meditators started with 3-5 minutes. Even three minutes can feel like an extremely long time when you first start meditating, so don't "stress" with starting small.
Find a distraction-free area. Especially when you’re just starting out, it’s important to clear your environment of distracting sensations. Turn off the TV and radio, close your windows against the street sounds outside, and close your door to other noises that may be coming from family members or roommates. If you find it difficult to find a quiet space where you can focus on meditation, ask the people you live with if they would be willing to keep quiet for the duration of your meditation exercise.
- A scented candle, a bouquet of flowers, or incense can be great little touches to enhance your meditation experience
- Dim or turn out the lights to help you concentrate
Beginning meditators often think the goal of meditation is to get to the point that they can focus without becoming distracted. A more useful goal is becoming aware of when your mind has drifted sooner. Becoming aware of what you're thinking is the basis of successful Cognitive Therapy. You can't restructure your thoughts if you haven't first developed the ability to identify your thoughts.
Another useful goal for meditation for beginners is being able to redirect your attention back to your point of focus without criticizing yourself.
Relax and Be Comfortable
Choose a time when you’re most comfortable. When you’re more familiar with meditation, you might use it to calm you down when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. But if you’re a beginner, you may find it hard to concentrate at first if you’re not in the right frame of mind or location. When you’re starting out, meditate when you already feel relaxed, perhaps first thing in the morning, or after you’ve had a moment to unwind after school or work.
Again, remove every distraction you can think of before you sit down to meditate. Grab a light snack if you’re feeling hungry, use the restroom if you need to, then begin your session.
Sit with your back straight and your feet planted on the floor, or sit on a may on the floor "indian" style. Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply. Breathe in, counting to ten seconds in your mind, hold it for ten seconds, and then breathe out for ten seconds. Start off by continuing to do this for 5 minutes. Try and clear your mind of all your to-do's, stress and any anxiety you may be feeling.