Okay, so I’ve only been practicing meditation for a few months now. But I can already tell you it’s 100% like a magic pill! Seriously. When I discovered it, I was looking for things to help with anxiety problems. It helps with so many things in your life, though; it’s honestly hard to find something that it doesn’t help with.
When I first started meditating, I had a hard time with it because I didn’t totally understand what the point was. Plus, it’s so hard for me to sit still and think about nothing. I got used to that, though. It gets easier the more that you do it. But those of us who have the toughest time doing it are probably the ones who need it the most!People who have the toughest time meditating are the ones who need it most! Click To Tweet
I also did a lot of research about it and once I started to actually understand it and what it’s about, it started to work and now I can’t imagine not doing it. If you don’t meditate and you want to know some of the benefits, how to do it, what it’s all about, etc. – read on! This is Meditation 101. 🙂
So let’s dive right in, shall we?
What exactly is meditation?
Meditation is not about forcing your mind to think about nothing, as some people might believe. It’s also not necessarily a religious practice (although it can be if that’s what you use it for). Think of it more as strength-training for your brain. You train it to focus. It makes you more mindful, less stressed, and just generally happier. If you have anxiety, meditation can be like a magic pill for you – for real. If you find yourself getting stressed out or angered easily, you’ll find meditation will help you become calmer. Things that used to get you worked up easily, will no longer frustrate you.
There are so many different kinds of meditation that it can get sort of confusing to figure them all out. But essentially, they all have one thing in common: making your mind focus. You just want to clear your mind and focus on one thing. This is giving your mind a much-needed break and allowing it to rest. To me, meditation is just a way to make yourself more peaceful and mindful.To me, meditation is a way to make yourself more peaceful and mindful. Click To Tweet
(Some of the) benefits of meditation
The major benefit of meditation is that it gives you insight, and some say it’s the only way to achieve true happiness. It’s also the only way that we can actually give our minds some rest. Our brains are constantly working, thinking, worrying, etc. – even in our sleep. Meditation is the only way that they get to relax for a little while. Once you’ve mastered meditation, you’ll begin to figure all of this out. But here are some more benefits of meditation:
- It reduces anxiety
- It improves mindfulness
- It makes you healthier
- It makes you happier
- It boosts your self-esteem
- It improves your focus
- It lessens depression
- It improves awareness
- It increases optimism
- It increases memory retention
- It improves your decision-making
- It increases mental strength
- It improves your immune system
- It improves your heart rate
- Literally so much more! (Here, here, and here)
How to meditate
Step One: Get comfortable – and silent. You don’t have to sit cross-legged unless you want to. You can sit in a chair, stand, lay down, or whatever works for you. Although it’s better for your breathing if you’re sitting up with your spine straight. Just make yourself comfortable and make sure there’s no noise.
Step Two: It’s best to put yourself in a position that makes your spine straight and upright. Proper posture is important because it helps with your breathing and concentration. Your back and neck should be straight.
Step Three: Relax. Close your eyes (at least most of the way) and try to let go of your tension, stress, worries, etc. Relax your muscles and steady your breathing. I like to take deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. Just try to bring your mind into a state of serenity.
Step Four: Concentrate. Try to concentrate on something. On your breath, a word, an affirmation, counting – again, whatever works for you. Just pull your mind into a state of focus and try not to let it wander.
Step Five: Pull yourself back. If your mind wanders off and you start thinking about other things, acknowledge those thoughts and then gently pull your concentration back to whatever you’re focusing on.
More info & things to remember
- It’s better to start out with 5-minute sessions and work your way up to 30-minute sessions. Go slowly if you need to – whatever works for you.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t keep your mind clear. If you catch it wandering off, gently bring it back to the present; be patient with yourself.
- While meditation is still beneficial if you do it every once in a while, it offers the most benefits if you practice it daily.
- Science has shown that meditation can lead to neuroplasticity – which is basically the brain’s ability to change. (Read more about neuroplasticity here.)
- Visualization meditation is another awesome thing to do. If you want to learn about how to visualize and meditate, click here.
- It doesn’t take a lot of practice to start reaping the benefits of meditation. The results and benefits start immediately and if you keep up with it, they can last you a lifetime!
- There are tons of helpful guided meditation apps (like Headspace) if guided meditation is more your style.
- You can also use soothing things like essential oils or calm meditation music to help you relax and get in the “meditation zone.”
11 different types of meditation + techniques
- 3 pranayama breathing techniques for beginners
- 6 simple meditation techniques
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Tea meditation
- The ultimate guide to walking meditation
- Zen meditation (Zazen)
- Mantra meditation
- Chakra meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Self-inquiry meditation
- Crystal meditation
Do you have any tips for people interested in meditation?