The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Start Meditation

{HABIT: Relax}
Month: 10 / Week: 2

beginnersguidemeditationMeditation. It’s all the rage right now. But if you’re like many people (including myself at one point), you’ve thought it was “woo woo” or just too difficult and time consuming. Who has time to spend an hour just thinking about nothing? How is that even possible? I can barely quiet my mind for 60 seconds, let alone 60 minutes.

And there’s where you (and I) were wrong. What does it mean to meditate?

{Meditate}: think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time

That’s it.

Even more, there isn’t one way to do it. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to practice meditation. You don’t have to be sitting or standing in a specific position. You don’t have to do it for an hour. You don’t have to be “perfect” — not the first time you do it and not the 1000th time you do it.

Adding a meditation practice to your day may provide so many benefits, including:

  • reduced stress and irritability
  • increased creativity and intelligence
  • feelings of vitality and rejuvenation
  • increased emotional control
  • improved concentration
  • may improve blood pressure
  • may boost immunity

While there are many ways you can get into the practice of meditation, I’m sharing with you 2 options: DIY and guided. Try one, try both. Pick the one that works for you.

#1 DIY: Want to try it on your own first?

Beginner’s Guide to Start Meditation:

  • Start small. Begin with 1-5 minutes. Work your way up to 20, 30, or even 60 if you’d like. But don’t feel like you need to. Some people meditate for just 5 minutes a day and still reap the benefits. It’s really up to you and your lifestyle.
  • Find a quiet area. While this isn’t mandatory, it’s ideal for someone just starting out who can easily be distracted by surrounding noise. Plus, a quiet place is more calming and can get your mindset in the right place much easier.
  • Choose a comfortable position. Don’t feel like you have to torque your body into some whackadoodle position. We’re not all pretzels. And that’s okay. You can sit on the floor with a pillow, in a chair with your feet flat, kneeling with your bum supported on a bench, or any other position that keeps your posture in check and provides you enough comfort to last through the session. I want to make a note here, no matter what position you choose, you probably will feel some degree of discomfort, especially if you’re someone who fidgets (like me). The more you do this meditative practice, the more you’ll get used to it and eventually be able to block it out. If you need to adjust during the meditation, do it. Just move slowly and don’t focus too long on the movement. Get your head right back in it.
  • Add ambient lighting. Whether it’s sunlight, candles, or other soft lighting, adding some brightness can help prevent you from falling asleep. It’s common for beginners to want to doze off, particularly if they’ve chosen a position that’s a little too comfortable.
  • Focus. On your breath. Many beginners attempt to focus on “clearing the mind”. But, if you really stop to think about it, how in the world do you focus on nothing? You can’t. So stop trying to do that 🙂 Instead, focus on your breath. You can even start out by simply chanting to yourself, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out…
  • Accept your thoughts. Every. Single. One. This is hard for many, especially perfectionists who believe meditation has to be done a specific way and only that way. Meditation is not about clearing your mind of thoughts. When a thought enters your mind, notice it, acknowledge it, and let it pass. Do not judge thoughts as good or bad. Do not judge yourself for thinking particular things. Just recognize it and get back to your focus.
  • Create a routine (and a habit). Consistency is key to pretty much anything in our lives, but especially meditation. The more you do it, the easier it gets. And, the more rewarding it will become. Don’t believe me? Try it. I dare you.

#2 Guided: Would you rather listen to a guided meditation?

Many of the steps listed above still apply, so I encourage to read those first. But for the actual meditative practice, there are a few apps that guide you through the meditation. From position to timing to declaring specific actions to take (what to focus on, how to breathe, etc.), these can be very useful:

CHALLENGE: Start a meditation practice.

New to the healthy habits challenge ? Start here.

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