Meditation is a timeless practice that can bring a wide range of benefits, including serving as a coping strategy for lowering stress and improving your mental health. However, if you have never meditated before, you might not know where to start. In honor of National Meditation Month, here’s our guide to how to meditate for beginners.
1. Be Patient
If you’ve never tried to establish a meditation routine before, go slowly and treat yourself compassionately. Since most people in the Western world spend the bulk of their days rushing and worrying – in other words, doing the opposite of being mindful – it can take time to learn how to quiet your mind and focus on your breath.
2. Be Disciplined
On average, new habits take more than two months to become ingrained. While you should set aside a specific time in your daily routine to meditate if you want to reap the maximum benefits, you don’t need to devote hours on end to practicing meditation for addiction. Even 15 minutes of quieting your mind and taking a “vacation” from your daily worries can enhance brain function and provide a sense of calm and relief.
3. Let Go of Expectations
As helpful as a meditation practice can be to integrate into a recovery strategy, it’s not an instant remedy for all your challenges. If you go into it with the belief that meditation is a magic bullet, you might be setting yourself up for frustration. Like physical exercise, mental exercise takes time to reap the benefits. Embrace meditation as an opportunity to understand your inner thoughts better, not as a quick-fix solution for life’s problems.
4. Designate a Space for Meditation
To help you get in the right mindset for meditation, it helps to create a spot that puts you in the zone. Ensure it is clean, decluttered and free of distractions. Add relaxing elements like throw pillows, some air-purifying houseplants, a white noise machine or an essential oil diffuser. If you don’t have a room that allows you to shut the door, put up a screen or curtain around the area and make sure everyone knows not to distract you when you go into your meditation space.
5. Keep an Open Mind
If you try traditional meditation techniques and find they don’t resonate with you, don’t give up. There are hundreds of ways to meditate, and you can get similar benefits by bringing mindfulness into activities like walking, eating and doing chores.
6. Remember, Practice Makes Perfect
Your goal in cultivating a meditation practice is not to remove all thoughts from your mind, so if you find your mind wandering while meditating, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Pause, notice the thought, then let it go and bring your attention back to your breath. If you create time and intention to meditate daily, this pattern will start feeling like second nature.
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