Lately, there seems to be growing enthusiasm among people for engaging in meditation as a way to relieve themselves of the daily stress in their life. If you’re new to mindfulness and meditation, it probably feels like a bit of a grey area to you, you probably have a lot of questions, and you could probably use some simple meditation tips.
What is meditation?
Is it difficult to do? How long will it take? Will it help with stress-relief?
The truth about meditation is simple. There are literally hundreds of meditation tips and techniques—many that you could learn in a few minutes and readily practice anytime, anywhere. The more you practice meditation, the greater the benefits. They key to its power lies in developing a daily habit wherein it becomes natural or second nature to carry it out to every day life.
While there are lots of different meanings and meditation practices, most often what I practice is mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you to savor life, change habits, live simply and slowly, being present in everything you do.
When we practice mindfulness meditation, the form doesn’t matter as much as in other types of meditation. We’re simply trying to get to the essence of the practice and create an oasis of calm and relaxation.
The most common form I practice is to focus on breathing as I inhale and exhale. I might also think of an affirmation or mantra to say in my mind while I breathe, such as Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Breathing in, I relax my body…breathing out, I smile”. But in the end, I’m practicing mindfulness.
Why practice mindfulness through meditation?
There are lots of great reasons, including:
- It relieves stress and helps you to relax.
- It’s easy to practice anywhere, anytime.
- Meditation has been shown to have numerous benefits such as increased happiness and improved memory, self-control and productivity.
- You begin to understand yourself through greater self-awareness.
The idea of being mindful or learning new habits may seem overwhelming at first. But it’s actually quite easy to do and in doing so will help you enjoy life more.
How to do meditation
Here are four easy meditation tips to get even the busiest person started:
1. Find a quiet spot. Try getting up a few minutes early in the morning, before others in your house awake. Or, find a park bench on your lunch break. It doesn’t really matter where you are as long as you can sit for a few minutes without being interrupted.
2. Sit comfortably. Don’t worry too much about how you sit. You don’t need any special equipment. If you like to sit on a pillow or if you prefer to sit cross-legged do what makes you comfortable.
3. Start small. Begin with just 5-10 minutes. This is really important. Even 3-4 minutes is perfect. You’ll find it’s much easier to start this way and form a long-lasting habit.
4. Focus on sound. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you. What do you hear? A bird singing, the sound of the kettle in the kitchen or perhaps the absence of sound? Focus on each sound, one at a time, following it wherever it goes. If your mind starts to wander (and it will), take note of it, but gently bring it back to the sounds. Repeat this process for the few minutes you meditate. Take a few more deep breaths and gently open your eyes.
That’s it. Simple, right?
In truth, you won’t get miraculous effects after a few minutes of meditation, but you will probably feel a little more relaxed. You will have learned to notice when your mind pulls at your attention, urging you to get back to being busy. And that’s an amazing start to forming the habit of meditation.
One of the best methods for forming new habits is to commit to a monthly challenge. If you make it your only focus, you’ll get better at it and eventually you’ll get into the habit of remembering to practice mindfulness and be more present.
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