To meditate means to ponder or think deeply about something. It can also be a religious or spiritual practice.
It’s helpful to be consistent with meditation and to pick a time to meditate every day. This will help you build the habit.
Start with focusing on your toes, then move through the body (heels, legs, pelvis, abdomen, chest, back, shoulders, arms, fingers, face, neck). Spend a few moments concentrating on each part.
The first time you meditate, it’s completely normal for your mind to wander. Don’t fight it – just gently bring your attention back to your breath. The more you practice, the less your mind will wander.
You can do meditation while sitting or lying down, but it’s best to be in a comfortable position that you can stay in for a long period of time. It’s also important to find a quiet spot without distractions. Turn off your phone, TV, and other devices before you start meditating. Some people find it helpful to play soothing music or soft, repetitive sounds before starting a meditation session.
Many people begin meditating because they want to reduce their stress levels, but it’s also a great way to improve your mood and increase your energy. It’s a powerful tool that can help you live your life with greater ease, joy and compassion for yourself and others. Start today!
Focusing on Your Breath
A common meditation practice is to focus on the sensation of your breath. You can start by finding a comfortable seat, either seated or lying down. Close your eyes and relax. Breathe slowly and deeply, focusing on the feeling of your abdomen expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale. You can also choose to apply a mental label, such as in, out or rising, falling, to help you keep your attention on the experience.
It is normal for your mind to wander during meditation, but try not to get frustrated if it does. Instead, gently guide your attention back to your breath when you notice your thoughts drifting.
Meditation isn’t about trying to turn off your thoughts and feelings, but rather learning to observe them without judgment. In time, you may even start to better understand your thoughts and emotions as they come up. This is what is known as mindfulness. It is an essential aspect of our mental health.
Observing Your Thoughts
Every thought that passes through our minds carries an emotional charge, influenced by our past experiences, beliefs, and societal conditioning. This charge can range from subtle and nearly imperceptible, like a soft breeze, to overpowering and tumultuous, akin to a raging storm. The ability to observe our thoughts, without getting caught up in them or engaging with them, can help us become more self-aware and make better decisions.
As you practice meditation, you’ll learn to pause throughout the day and tune into your thoughts as if they were clouds drifting across the mind’s sky. Over time, you can even integrate observation into routine activities such as brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Many people think that they have to sit in a certain way or for a long time to meditate, but meditation is flexible and personal. It can be done sitting still, standing up, or while walking, biking, kneading bread dough, or doing anything else that requires focus.
Bringing Your Attention Back to Your Breath
As you sit, it’s normal for your attention to leave the breath and wander. The first time this happens, simply notice that your mind has wandered and gently return it to the sensation of breathing. Repeat this as many times as needed, with patience and kindness for your wandering mind.
Then try to focus on the quality of your breath, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe in and out. You may find it helpful to count each inhalation and exhalation, starting with 1 on the inhale and counting up as you go through the process of breathing in and out.
Another way to practice is with a body scan meditation, where you slowly go over the whole body, feeling the sensations of each part as you move through it from head to toe. This can help to release any tension or stress that you might be holding onto.