Establishing a Meditation Practice to Improve Your Daily Life
Are you thinking about starting a daily meditation practice?
Have you seen how much your friends seem to have benefitted from attending meditation retreats?
Are you just tired of dealing with negative thoughts, anxiety, and uncertainty?
Whether you’re looking to improve your mood, get a bit of clarity about your future, or even if you want to experience the physical benefits of meditation, it can often be a challenge to know where to start.
Consider this post the beginner’s guide to how to practice meditation.
We’ll cover the physical and mental well-being benefits of meditating, the importance of establishing a routine, and numerous ways to meditate. Read on to add a little more om to your life.
The Benefits of Having a Meditation Routine
Before we talk about how to start meditating, let’s first make sure you understand why having a meditation practice is so beneficial.
It’s not just about “clearing your mind” or having an excuse to take a few minutes to yourself. Meditation has been scientifically proven to lower the body’s production of cortisol, our main stress hormone. It makes you more self-aware and confident in your own abilities, and can even help you to make decisions and set intentions and goals for the future.
Additionally, meditation can:
- Increase your attention span
- Boost memory function/prevent memory loss
- Improve sleep quality
- Manage physical pain
- Strengthen your immune system
- Boost grey matter production
- Fight addiction
In short, there are a whole host of reasons why you should consider getting into meditation. However, for the uninitiated, it can certainly seem a bit intimidating. Let’s talk about the best ways to get started with meditating.
How to Start Meditation for Beginners
Now, let’s talk about the basics of how to practice meditation successfully.
The number-one thing to do is to try and let go of all your expectations. The truth is that, no matter what anyone says, you don’t ever really totally “clear your mind” when meditating. In fact, if you try to do that, you’ll want to give up immediately.
Instead, think of meditation as more “zoning out”—which all of us have already done more times than we’d probably care to admit!
You may not be able to sit still for long periods of time at the start, either—and that’s ok. You may find you need complete silence, or that you prefer guided meditation. You may find lighting a candle or dimming the lights puts you in the meditating mood.
Don’t judge yourself. You’re here, and you’re giving it a try. That’s enough.
Always wear comfortable, breathable clothes that you can move around in. Take shoes off if possible. Sit on the floor directly, or place a cushion underneath you if you need extra support. You can even sit in a chair and keep your feet flat on the floor.
There’s no wrong way to meditate, it’s about finding what works for you.
Make sure you choose a specific area of your home to meditate in and try to meditate at the same time every day so that it becomes part of your routine.
Meditation Practices: Next Steps
We suggest starting for only five to ten minutes in your first few sessions in order to keep your goals attainable and to encourage you to keep going.
Remember, your goal is to make meditation one of your daily habits, so it’s important to, at the start especially, commit to doing it every day.
To get started, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Thoughts will come, just notice them and go back to focusing on your breathing.
You can choose to focus on a specific image, preferably one that calms you down, like a beach, a tree, or even an abstract shape. You can also concentrate on an intention or goal, and even repeat positive mantras to yourself in your head as you continue to focus on breathing.
If you’re struggling to focus, try the “self-scan” visualization technique.
Here, you visualize the very top of your head, and slowly picture the waves of calm and relaxation washing over the rest of your body, all the way down to your toes.
Besides visualization, one of the most effective points of focus is sound. It doesn’t have to be the sound of a singing bowl or chanting. It can actually be anything, from the pool pump to the hum of the air conditioner.
It just needs to be consistent and reliable. Listen to the sound, and as thoughts materialize, just keep coming back to the sound when you realize that you are engaging in a train of thought.
Before you know it, you might be blissing out like nobody’s business!
Other Ways to Meditate
Of course, there are lots of different ways to meditate, and we encourage you to try them all out to find out which options work well for you.
If you simply can’t find the time in the morning to meditate, or if you feel like you need more guidance, you can download any of these popular meditation apps.
You may want to attend a meditation class in your area, especially if you’re curious to learn more about meditation and spirituality in general. Sometimes, the serene atmosphere of a group of people meditating can lead to even more powerful feelings afterward.
Why not invite your friends or even your family members to come meditate with you?
Once you learn the basics, you’ll certainly want to share them with others.
Ready to Commit to a Daily Meditation Practice?
We hope this post has encouraged you to consider establishing a meditation practice.
Taking even just a few moments to yourself every day to get away from distractions, your thoughts, and your to-do list has wonderful long and short-term health benefits for the mind and body.
Soon, you’ll find yourself actively looking forward to your practice, and you’ll be surprised by how much easier it gets as you continue.
As you go deeper in your meditation practice, you may begin to think more about other natural ways you could improve your physical health and overall sense of well-being.
Meeting with a naturopathic physician offering numerous holistic health services gives you the chance to strengthen the mind-body connection and get more from each day.
Make an appointment with Dr. Threlkel to begin your journey to better health.