How to Meditate
By Chris Brown
Meditation has been used for thousands of years to reduce stress, build mental strength and resilience, increase attention span, improve memory and concentration, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep quality. There is even evidence that regular meditation increases longevity and maintains a sharper brain into old age. Meditating seems like a great idea, but starting a meditation practice can be an intimidating concept.
For those who thrive off external guidance, there are an innumerable amount of guided meditation videos available online. However, if you decide to take the plunge solo, there's an easy-to-learn method of meditation that lets you stay disconnected from your electronic devices.
The Multitude of Meditation Styles
There are many different methods of meditating from guided to mantra meditation. The style that works best for each person depends upon their disposition and meditation goals. Meditations usually are intended either for calming purposes (which promotes concentration and inner peace) or to ruminate upon a particular topic (or mantra) in the hopes of gaining insight. However, one of the simplest meditation methods to learn and regularly perform is the calming, unguided, breath technique.
The Easy Beginner's Mindfulness Breathing Meditation
The breath meditation technique helps you to calm your mind and control your errant thoughts by mindfully focusing your attention on your breath. To start a breath meditation, simply follow the below:
- Sit comfortably in a quiet location (if possible)
- Set a timer for your meditation period (5-10 minutes is a good length for beginners)
- Close your eyes
- Pay attention to the timing and temperature of your breath as it goes in and out
- If you notice your mind wandering from your breath, kindly bring your attention back to your breathing
- Once the time has completed, and your alarm as gone off, end the session by noticing how your body now feels
The most important thing to keep in mind when first starting a meditation practice is to not get discouraged by errant thoughts. Oftentimes, meditation newbies become frustrated when constant thoughts intrude upon their sessions. This is normal and doesn't mean that the meditation wasn't effective. Practicing meditation improves your mind's ability to focus and, like most valuable skills, it takes consistency and regular practice to become proficient. Eventually, your mind will get into the habit of quieting down and allow you to go longer and longer in a thought-free, meditative state.
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