If you are looking to improve your mental and emotional health, you have probably considered meditation. The practice is becoming more popular all over the world by the day. In the past, meditation was closely tied to Eastern cultures. Now, many people in the west are discovering the benefits as well.
The overall goal is a greater awareness of your thought habits. Studies have shown that you can even use meditation to steal your thoughts towards more constructive thought patterns. Simultaneously, if you want to take advantage of everything the relaxation technique offers, you need to understand how to do so correctly. If you are wondering how you can get help starting meditation, there are a few essential points you should keep in mind.
What Is Meditation?
First, it is essential to define meditation. It is a lifestyle that will help you train your mind to focus your thoughts on more constructive patterns. If you have ever found that your thoughts tend to wander during the day, this is because you have a hard time controlling them. Your mind is like a muscle. Just as you regularly go to the gym to increase your strength, flexibility, and athleticism, you need to train your mind.
It may also be helpful to take a look at the history of meditation. References to meditation date back for thousands of years. There are specific carvings with individuals seated in postures that look like meditation. As meditation continued to evolve, it remained popular in India, China, and throughout Asia. Even though the practice has been used in these parts of the world for thousands of years, it only recently started moving west. As people begin to discover the benefits of meditation, it will only become more popular.
When you use relaxation and reflection properly, you can increase your awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people view meditation as a way to reduce stress while also improving concentration. It is also possible for you to use the practice to develop a positive outlook on life, improve your mood, improve your sleep patterns, and increase your self-discipline.
When it comes to starting meditation, there are a few crucial points that you should note. When you begin the process of meditation with the right frame of mind and set yourself up for success, you will access all of the benefits that meditation can provide.
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How Can Your Start Meditating?
If you would like to start meditating, there are several steps that you should keep in mind. First, be aware that there are online classes that you can take if you would like some extra guidance when it comes to meditation. Some of the steps that you need to follow include:
Step 1: Before You Get Started: Think About a Schedule and a Location
The first thing you need to do when considering meditating for the first time is to develop a schedule and location. Some of the questions that you need to answer include:
- When do you want to meditate every day? If you do not put aside a specific time to meditate, it is not going to happen. Like practicing an instrument or practicing a sport, you need to make sure that you carve out time every day to meditate.
- Where are you going to go where you will not be disturbed? Particularly for beginners, you need to find a quiet environment in which you will not be distracted. If a lot is going on around you, then you are unable to focus on meditating.
- How are you going to remember to meditate regularly? Some people like to put reminders on phones that go off when it is time to meditate. That way, you make sure that you do not forget about your daily meditation practice.
By answering these questions, you set yourself up for success during your meditation routine. If you want to start meditating regularly, you only need to set aside about 10 minutes every day. Even though this is not going to be that difficult, it is easy to forget. You have a lot going on in your daily life. You might find that it is difficult for you to find 10 minutes during the day that are convenient. That is why you need to make meditation part of your regular schedule.
You want to make sure that you create a separate space to sit simultaneously every day. When you develop a strict routine for meditation, you are more likely to stick to it. Even though the mornings work well for many people, some people like to meditate before bed because they find it helps them sleep better at night. Regardless of when you meditate, you need to find time to meditate when you are not interrupted.
Finally, a lot of people are wondering what they should wear when they start meditating. In reality, it doesn’t matter what you wear! You simply want to wear something comfortable for you. Even though it is a good idea for you to loosen your tie, take off your high heels, and loosen your belt, you simply want to wear something comfortable. That way, you will be able to focus on what matters most: your mind.
Step 2: Get Settled in Your Meditation Spot
When your alarm goes off, it is time to meditate. Therefore, walk calmly to your meditation spot. Remember that this is supposed to be a quiet place where you can relax. You want to sit in a chair, sit on the couch, or even sit on a bean bag. You want to make sure that you are comfortable wherever you sit.
Then, sit with your hands resting comfortably on your knees. At first, you want to keep your back straight. For this reason, a lot of people decide to sit in a dining room chair, a desk chair, or on a couch. If you find the back of your chair is not straight, then you may want to sit at the front of the chair and straighten your back on your own.
Next, try to relax your neck. You may find that it is more comfortable for you to keep your chin slightly talk. When you can rest your neck, you will find that it is easier for you to breathe. This is a critical part of the meditation process.
Finally, if you are a beginner, you want to make sure that you meditate for the entire time. Even though 10 minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, you may find that this feels like an eternity when you first start meditating. Therefore, it may be helpful for you to set a timer. Or, you may want to set up a music routine that lasts for about 10 minutes. Like practicing a sport, you will meditate for more extended amounts of time the more often you meditate. Even though you may start with 10 minutes, you may want to increase the amount of time you meditate gradually.
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Step 3: Breathe Deeply, In and Out
Once you are settled, it is time to start the meditation process. As you meditate, you need to focus on your breathing. The idea of focusing on your breathing is that you will not allow your mind to focus on your daily routine, your stress is, or anything else that is bothering you. You want to make sure that you breathe deeply. Make sure that you breathe in and out. You want to gaze softly into the distance, removing any and all focus from your eyes. Your focus needs to be on your mind and not what your eyes are seeing.
Then, try to take five deep breaths. It is helpful for you to make your breasts audible so you can hear the flow of air in and out of your nose. Finally, once you exhale for the last time, close your eyes. If you have correctly removed all focus from your eyes, you should sink into a deep state of relaxation. Then, continue to focus on your breathing as your meditation commences.
Step 4: Check-in With Your Posture
Once you have closed your eyes and focus on your breathing pattern, it is crucial for you to check-in with your body. First, you must focus on your posture. Remember that your hands should be on your knees. Make sure that your feet are touching the ground in some way. Feel the sense of the chair against your body. This will help you check in with the posture of your back.
Once you have checked in with your posture, take a look at your other senses as well. Your eyes should be closed, so you should not be distracted by anything in the distance. Take a note of anything you can smell. For example, many people like to release some form of aromatherapy as they meditate because it helps them relax. If you have aromatherapy going, think about what this smells like.
See if the smells are strong enough that you can taste them. Take note of whether the room is hot or cold. If there is a gentle breeze blowing because you meditate outside, note what this feels like against your clothes and skin. This will help you focus on the moment instead of worrying about what you have to do next.
Step 5: Scan Your Body Mentally
After you have checked in with each of your senses and your posture, focus on your body. This means scanning your body from head to toe. Turn your mind and word and focus on yourself. Reach for any tension or discomfort that might be present in your body. At first, do not try to change what you find. Instead, simply focus on what you note. This is going to help you learn more about yourself and your body.
Start with your head. Is your forehead furrowed? Is it relaxed? Then, move to your neck. Do you sense any tension in your neck? Is your neck out of with a relax? After this, you want to move to your shoulders and your back. Are you carrying tension anywhere? Do you feel like your shoulders are level? Do you feel any knots in your back?
After this, you can move to your torso and your hips. Are your hips comfortable? Do you feel like your legs are adequately relaxed? Finally, shift your focus to your knees, your ankles, and your feet. Take note of any stress or discomfort you find in these parts of your body.
Overall, this body scan should take about a half of a minute. Then, you want to figure out whether or not the state of your body. Scan your body without judgment. If you find something that you do not like, that is fine. The idea is to learn more about yourself. These body scans can help you. Then, you can focus on fixing these issues in future meditation sessions.
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Step 6: Consider the ‘Why’ for You
Once your body is completely relaxed, think about why you are meditating. Everyone meditates for different reasons. Some people try to meditate to help treat chronic pain. Other people meditate because it helps them deal with stress. At the same time, your meditation goals may change from session to session. That is okay! It signifies that your meditation is becoming more versatile. Therefore, think about why you are sitting and meditating today.
You may have come into your meditation session with certain expectations or desires. Let them go. You want to make sure that you are as calm as possible. This means letting go of your stresses, expectations, and desires. You want to be aware of yourself and why you are meditating as your meditation session continues. Remember that there is no “objective” that you are trying to accomplish; however, you do need to remember why you were meditating. Surrender control. Take a step back. Let everything unfold as it should. Take comfort and solace in the fact that as long as you do what you are supposed to, everything will take care of itself. That will help you honestly calm your mind, which is the ultimate goal of meditation.
Step 7: Observe Each Breath In and Out
After you have calmed your body and your mind, you want to focus on your breathing. The idea of focusing on your breathing is to remove all outside distractions. Now, you do not want to change the way you’re breathing. You simply want to focus on it. Start by focusing on the rising and falling that takes place in your chest with each breath. Breathe in, breathe out, and feel your chest rise and fall. You want to take note of where you are feeling your breath. You should feel the air move in through your nose and mouth. Then, you should be able to feel your shoulders and chest expand as the breath enters your lungs. Then, you want to feel your shoulders and chest fall again as you exhale.
If you feel like your mind is starting to wander off, you always want to bring it back by focusing on your breathing. If you’re going to truly calm your mind, you cannot allow it to focus on anything else. Therefore, always bring your attention back to your breathing. You may also find that it is helpful for you to count the number of breaths you take in a row. The more breaths you can count, the calmer your mind is. By focusing on your breathing pattern, you can keep your mind as clear as possible. This will improve the value of each meditation session.
Step 8: Allow Your Mind To Be Free
As your meditation session continues, you want to make sure that your mind is as free as possible. Once you feel like you have counted your breaths up to a certain number, stop counting. Then, see if you can allow your mind to be free even if you do not focus on your breathing pattern. Try to sit there for 20 to 30 seconds. You may feel like your mind is starting to return to the real world. Even though that is okay, try to keep it calm and focus. As the session ends, you want your mind to start to return to the real world. If you feel like your mind is becoming annotated with your plan after your meditation session, that is okay. It merely signifies that you have more work to do. There is always room to improve when it comes to your meditation sessions.
Step 9: Prepare to Finish Your Session By Returning to the Physical Realm
When you are getting ready to finish your meditation session, it is time to return to the physical realm. Just as you started the meditation session by focusing on your senses, you want to focus on them one more time. Start from the ground up. Take note of what the ground feels like beneath your feet. Then, if the backs of your knees are sitting against the chair, take note of what that feels like. If you can feel the chair beneath you, focus on the chair as well. If the heater or air conditioner is going, note what this feels like against your skin. If you are meditating outside, there may be a gentle breeze that you can feel on your face.
Next, focus on what you can taste or hear. If you still have aromatherapy going, take note of what this smells like. If there is someone cooking something in the next room, take note of what this smells like. Think about what this might taste like. If there is a light striking your face, note what this feels like against your skin.
Once you have taken note of your senses, scan your body one more time. Then, get ready to open your eyes. Start by slowly expanding your eyelids but do not open them yet. Then, take one last breath. Feel the air move in and out. Then, open your eyes but do not focus them.
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Step 10: Take it With You During Your Next Activity
To truly get everything out of your meditation session, form a clear idea of what you will do next. That way, you can take your meditation session with you. For example, if you are meditating in the evening, you may be getting ready for bed next. You may think about brushing your teeth. If you are meditating in the morning, you may be planning on getting a cup of coffee next. Think about what you are going to have to do to brew this cup of coffee perfectly.
The idea is to keep your mind as calm as possible. If you simply jump up off of the chair after the meditation session is finished, you are going to lose the calmness that you have just created. The idea is to try to carry this mental awareness with you to the next activity.
Finally, throughout the day, you must check in with your body once again. Think about the small moments that you created during your meditation session. Remember what it felt like to have an utterly calm mind. For example, when you first sit down at your desk, do not start working immediately. Perform a quick body scan to make sure that you are completely calm. Even though you do not need to perform the entire meditation exercise again, you may want to think about how you feel. This will provide you with the mental clarity you need to get the most out of your day.
When you follow these steps, you will find that you can get the most out of your meditation sessions. This is a critical part of starting meditation.
What Are the Biggest Benefits of Starting Meditation?
When you meditate regularly, there are a wide variety of benefits that you were going to enjoy. Depending on the exact type of meditation that you practice, these benefits may change. Therefore, it is a good idea for you to review the different kinds of meditation to improve your overall quality of life. Some of the main benefits of meditation include:
Meditation Can Help You Control Your Stress
Without a doubt, the most well-known benefit of meditation is that it can help you reduce your stress. One specific review took a closer look at meditation and stress reduction, finding that individuals who meditate regularly enjoy greater amounts of stress reduction than those who did not.
The specific stress hormone in your body is called cortisol. When you are under mental or physical stress, your levels of cortisol increase. Even though cortisol is critical for your daily life, too much cortisol can also lead to inflammation throughout your body. Information is triggered by cytokines, which can lead to several harmful health effects. Inflammation throughout your body can disrupt your sleep cycle, impact your mood, lead to anxiety, and can even increase your blood pressure.
Another specific study showed that people who meditate regularly reduced the inflammatory response triggered by stress. When you can control your levels of stress, you will enjoy several other health benefits. For example, you may reduce chronic pain, experience better digestive habits, and experience better mental clarity. As a result, if you are looking to control your stress, make sure you meditate regularly. By managing your body’s stress response, you can reduce inflammation throughout your body, improving your overall quality of life.
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Meditation Can Help You Reduce Your Anxiety
Meditation can also help you reduce your overall levels of anxiety. Many people do not realize just how common anxiety is throughout society today. Because we lived in a world with more pressure than ever, people are developing anxiety at an alarming rate. Some of the most common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and even specific phobias. The good news is that anxiety can be treated with meditation as well.
For example, one specific meta-analysis took a look at close to 1300 adults. The study found that individuals who meditate regularly experienced lower levels of anxiety. Furthermore, the study also found that the anxiety-reducing effects of meditation were most significant in individuals who suffer from the greatest amount of anxiety.
There was another study that took place over eight weeks. The study found that individuals who meditated regularly reduced anxiety symptoms in individuals who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Furthermore, the study also found that people who meditate regularly develop healthier coping skills to prevent anxiety in the future.
There are numerous situations in which someone may suffer from anxiety. Some people suffer from anxiety that is related to school. They may be worried that they are not going to do well on upcoming exams. Some people may have anxiety at work. They may feel like they cannot focus on their job and impact their ability to maintain gainful employment in the future. There are even people who suffer from anxiety stemming from issues with personal relationships. The problem with all of these examples is that people spend so much time worrying that they cannot take any constructive action. This is where meditation can be helpful.
When people meditate regularly, they develop the skills they need to focus thoughts positively. Then, they will be able to think about what they need to do next with greater mental clarity. As a result, meditation can be helpful for people who suffer from anxiety.
Meditation Can Help You Lengthen Your Attention Span
If you feel like you have issues focusing on what you have to do daily, you should note that meditation can improve your attention span.
Countless people start something and never end up finishing. Then, they might have ten projects going at the same time without finishing any of them. If you feel like you can never focus long enough to finish what you were doing, you may want to consider meditating.
Meditation can help you increase the strength and endurance of your attention span. One specific study took a look at individuals who listened to a meditation tape regularly. Then, they asked these individuals to complete a particular task. They found that the individuals who listen to the meditation tape experienced longer attention spans. As a result, they could complete the given task in a shorter amount of time with a greater degree of accuracy than those who did not listen to the meditation tape.
A similar study was replicated using specific meditation practices. This study showed that individuals who practiced meditation regularly performed better on a specific visual task. They had a greater attention span than those who did not practice meditation regularly.
Ultimately, meditating regularly is going to help you lengthen your attention span. You may find that you could complete your homework, tasks at work, and daily living activities in a shorter time. You clean up your to-do list more quickly, providing you with more free time. All of this can help you improve your overall quality of life.
Meditation Can Help You Protect Your Memory
As people live longer, dementia is only going to become more common. One of the hallmark symptoms of dementia is memory loss. If you are looking for a way to protect your memory, specifically against age-related memory loss, then you should consider meditation. When you take steps to improve your attention and mental clarity, you will keep your mind young.
Multiple studies have been completed showing that meditation can help you improve your memory. For example, one study took place in individuals who had already been diagnosed with age-related memory loss. The study found that individuals who meditated regularly performed better on neuropsychological tests. Even though meditation may not help people reverse symptoms of memory loss that have already taken place, it might prevent people from developing further memory loss in the future.
Another study showed similar results. They found preliminary evidence that meditation styles can help someone improve memory, attention, and mental agility. Therefore, it may be able to help people prevent the development of memory loss as they age.
Another study found that meditation can help people control stress and improve coping skills and care for individuals with dementia. Therefore, if you are caring for a loved one who is losing his or her memory, you need to take care of yourself, too. One study showed that meditation could help people control stress levels as they care for loved ones who suffer from dementia.
Overall, meditation can help you improve your focus and mental clarity. When your mental clarity improves, you may be able to protect your memory as you get older. Therefore, meditation is an essential part of fighting age-related memory loss, particularly in individuals at risk of developing dementia.
Meditation Can Help You Improve Your Sleep Patterns
One of the most common issues that people have today involves difficulty sleeping. Studies have shown that nearly half of all people suffer from some sort of sleep issues. One specific study took a closer look at meditation and individuals who suffer from sleep problems. The study found that individuals who meditated regularly stayed asleep for more extended amounts of time. As a result, symptoms of sleep disorders also improves.
One of the significant goals of meditation is to help you relax your body. When you can remain relaxed, you release a lot of attention that builds up during the day. When your attention is released, you are placed in a peaceful state of mind. Therefore, it is easier for you to fall asleep. If you can develop your meditation skills to regular practice, you may control your racing thoughts. Because racing thoughts often lead to insomnia, meditation can help you stay asleep for a longer amount of time.
Besides meditating regularly, you may also want to consider decluttering your bedroom if you would like to place yourself in a peaceful state of mind. If your bedroom is too busy, you may find that you focus on pictures on the wall, something on TV, or a phone lighting up next to your bed. When you are trying to layout your bedroom, consider taking a minimalist approach. When you minimize the clutter in your bedroom, your mind is put at ease. Therefore, it may make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.
Whether you are trying to fall asleep easier or remain asleep during the middle of the night, meditation can help you with this. When you can get the required amount of sleep, your overall quality of life will improve.
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Starting Meditation: Learn How To Meditate the Right Way
Ultimately, meditation can provide you with a wide array of benefits. You must learn how to meditate the right way. Before you start meditating, make sure that you find a peaceful area in which to meditate. Whether you are trying to meditate at home, at school, or work, you need to focus solely on yourself and your thought. Then, remember that if you would like to get the most out of meditation, it is vital for you to practice regularly.
When you can elevate your meditation skills, there are a wide array of benefits that you are going to enjoy. Meditation can help you sleep better at night in addition to protecting your memory. Meditation can also help you address a wide variety of mental health disorders ranging from stress to anxiety. Finally, remember that there are always ways for you to improve your meditation. There are plenty of online classes that you can choose from, and there are even vacations that are explicitly designed around meditation. Make sure that your meditation practices align with your overall goals. This can be a powerful tool in your arsenal that you can use to improve your overall quality of life.