How to Meditate

Meditation has been a popular exercise for the mind for thousands of years, and there’s good reason. It has been shown to reduce stress, control anxiety, improve sleep, and more.

If you’ve ever considered meditating, here’s how you can start!

Set a timer

Five to ten minutes should be enough. If you’ve never meditated before, you may struggle to last that long. You will inevitably get distracted. This time will allow you to get in a solid session of meditation without making it seem like a chore.

Meditation is a great daily habit to form. Setting a reminder on your phone or using guided meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm can help you create those habits and guide you through daily meditation programs.

Find a quiet, comfortable place

This is very important, especially when you’re just getting started. Find a place where you won’t be distracted by outside influences. Make sure there’s a place where you can sit (or lay) comfortably. If you’d like, dim the lights, and put on some ambient sound.

Get into a comfortable position that you can stay in for five to ten minutes (depending on your skill level). Make sure you can breathe deeply into your belly. Close your eyes and get ready to start.

Focus on your breath

This is the most important part of a successful meditation. Your breath will be an anchor for your mind. Focus on how deeply inhaling, then fully exhaling. It may help to have a hand on your stomach to feel it rise and sink.

Maintain a steady rhythm throughout the session. Make sure you are inhaling and exhaling completely. If it helps, count to ten as you breathe in and out. Whatever you do, just make sure you are taking deep, steady breaths.

Notice when your mind wanders

Your mind is going to wander. That’s okay! Even the most experienced meditators will experience this. You can even let it wander a little bit so long as you are able to reel it back in.

Think of your mind as a puppy on a walk. It will inevitably stray from the path. When it does, gently pull it back. Refocus on your breathing.

Notice your body

Use this time to take a mental inventory of how your body is feeling. Notice points of discomfort. Start by focusing on your toes, then gradually work your way up through your legs, torso, and head.

Ask yourself some questions. How does your breathing feel? Is there pain anywhere? Once you notice these things, you’ll be able to work on them once you stop meditating. Maybe you need some targeted stretching or foam rolling, or maybe you just need some sleep.

End graciously

Take your time reawakening. You may be tempted to get on with your day but resist that urge. Open your eyes slowly. Take a moment to stretch out and readjust to the light. Continue to breathe regularly.

As you go about your day, try to continue breathing and moving mindfully. Eventually, it’ll be second nature!

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