Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment.
Would you take it?
Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all-natural and costs nothing.
Now would you take it?
The pill exists. It’s called meditation.
Meditation can sometimes seem very complicated and difficult to learn. However, that shouldn’t be the case. A lot of people think meditation is just for hippies or monks, but that’s not true. It has nothing to do with religion or spiritual practice. Actually, it has been scientifically proven to be the best exercise for keeping a healthy mind.
It trains the brain as if the grey matter were a bundle of muscles. You work those muscles and they get stronger. Just 10 minutes of meditation a day, can have huge physical and mental benefits.
Here are ways on how to meditate and get those benefits.
1. Pick a spot.
Pick a quiet location, somewhere nobody will distract you. You can simply use your room because it’s quiet and
there are no distractions. If you live in a noisy environment, meditate early in the morning or before you hit bed. Usually, people are asleep and nobody will bother you.
Now pick where you’re going to sit: It can be on the chair, on the floor, on your bed. Wherever you can sit comfortably. You can do it sitting on the floor, on a pillow.
2. Set a time
Before you begin, you should decide how long you are going to meditate. Many seasoned meditators recommend 20-minute sessions a day. As a beginner, meditating every day is far more important than the amount of time per day. Try to aim for 5 minutes daily to begin, either when you wake up, or before you go to bed.
It’s way more beneficial to meditate for 5 minutes each day than to meditate for 30 minutes once a week. Start small then slowly work your way up to Don’t just decide how long you’re going to meditate, but also set an alarm before you do. You want to avoid thinking about the time and checking your watch if those 5 minutes have passed. You will notice that during meditation, time seems to move slower than usual.
Some meditators say your legs should be on top of each other, in a lotus position. But for the beginners, it’s ok if you just criss-cross them. Now whether you sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, make sure that your spine is upright with your head up. Traditional analogies say that your spine should be like an arrow or a stack of coins, one on top of the other.
You want to feel uplifted when you sit down to meditate. However it is still important that you are comfortable, relaxed, and your torso is balanced so that way, your spine supports all of your weight in a natural way. Rolling back your shoulders should help a bit.
The traditional hand placement involves resting your hands in your lap, palms facing upward, with your right hand on top of your left, forming a cup shape. However, you can also just rest your hands on your knees or leave them hanging down by your side – whichever you prefer.
4. Close your eyes
While it is possible to meditate with eyes open, I don’t suggest it. As a beginner, you might get distracted by any external visual stimulation that prevents you from focusing on calming your mind.
Now after you’re all set:
5. Pick an anchor
An anchor is what you basically use to point your attention at. You want to bring your mind back to this anchor
whenever it wanders and believe me, it will wander. You can focus on your breath, you can focus on a mantra, you can count to ten and then repeat. You can follow my breath. Just place the attention on your breath as
it comes in, and follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs.
Notice how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. When your mind wanders, which it will simply bring your attention back to the anchor. You can also try counting your breaths.
Count “one” as you take in the first breath, then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat this to the count of 10, then start again at one. When you notice your mind wandering simply return to your anchor. Count “one” again, and start over. It’s perfectly OK to not stay focused, we all do it.
Many people worry whether or not they’re doing the meditation right.
You can’t really do it wrong.
Meditation is only a technique for relaxing your mind and body. Don’t get upset with yourself if your mind is racing constantly. During meditation you will start thinking about what you should be doing, all your troubles and worries will pop up, you might even realize that you’re hungry.
The point of meditation is not to stop all thoughts, although that can happen. The goal is to notice them, acknowledge them, and gently push them away.
Basically: The whole game is just to notice when your mind is wandering and to come back to your breath, over and over and over, and when you do that. it is a bicep curl for your brain. Meditation is one of the ways you can become better than yesterday. When you learn how to meditate you learn to live a peaceful life.