Simple Meditation for Beginners
Meditation is scientifically proven to have many positive effects on mental and physical health. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve insulin resistance, and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The medical community recognizes meditation as treatment for chronic pain, depression, and substance abuse. Best of all, meditation is something that anyone can do, and it has zero unwanted side effects.
While there are many different meditation techniques, you do not have to attend a class or find a guru to start a meditation practice. You simply have to start meditating. The first step is deciding to meditate regularly. This might sound like a big commitment, but you only need 15 minutes a day.
Try setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier, or set aside 15 minutes after dinner. If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to practice meditation right before bedtime. It doesn’t matter when you meditate as long as you incorporate it into your daily routine.
When you are ready, find a comfortable place to sit. This can be on your couch, the floor, a lawn chair beside the pool, or anywhere else that you can sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Lying down is not recommended because you might fall asleep.
Don’t be concerned if it is difficult for you to contort your legs into a pretzel shape. Just sit in the position that is most relaxing to you, and let your hands rest in your lap.
Now close your eyes, and take in a deep breath. Slowly fill your lungs to capacity, then slowly and deliberately exhale through your mouth. Take two more deep cleansing breaths, exhaling slowly each time. You will feel your body relax more with each exhalation. For the next 15 minutes, pay attention to your breathing.
Notice how the air feels coming into your nose. How does that contrast with the way it feels exiting your nose? Let the rhythmic rise and fall of your chest calm your mind. Enjoy these moments of freedom from the stresses of your daily life. When you are finished, take one last deep cleansing breath, and open your eyes. You have just meditated.
The goal of meditation is to allow your mind to relax. Undoubtedly, when you first start meditating, you will find that random and uncontrolled thoughts spring into your mind in rapid succession. Don’t be discouraged when this happens.
This is normal. Meditation trains the brain to take a break from all the worries of the day, but like anything else, it takes time. When thoughts pop into your head while meditating, simply say to them, “This is not the time for you.”
At first you may feel that you are fighting a losing battle, but with continued practice, your mind will learn to let go of these thoughts, at least while you meditate.
At first, you may not even feel like you are meditating. This is common among beginners, but keep at it. You will soon find that your body relaxes and your mind calms as if by reflex when you sit to meditate.
At some point, you might want to explore other meditation techniques. There are many to try, including mindfulness, guided, transcendental, and others. Instruction on each method is readily available on the internet and in book stores. You may find that you prefer to listen to meditation music, use a mantra, or be guided through your meditation by someone else. It doesn’t matter which method you chose as long as you meditate on a regular basis.
In today’s hustle-bustle world, anyone can benefit from regular meditation. Along with reduced anxiety, those who meditate decrease their risk of heart disease, boost their immune system, and report an improved feeling of overall well-being. There is no risk involved; no worry of adverse effects. Make daily meditation part of your routine to see the results for yourself.