With so many additional stresses added to our lives as a result of the pandemic, taking time out for self care has never been more important. Meditation and mindfulness are popular ways to combat stress. There are many benefits to be gained through meditation, but beginners often struggle to develop a meditation practice. There is a lot of confusion around the simple, but challenging, practice of meditation. A few tips can make a significant difference.
10 tips to meditate more effectively and enjoy greater benefits:
- You don’t need anything to meditate. It can be nice to have a proper cushion, loose fitting clothing, and a quiet location. However, you don’t need any of those things. You can meditate on the bus in your three-piece suit. You always have everything you need with you to meditate properly.
- Start with mindful breathing. Other forms of meditation can require higher levels of focus and discipline. Arguably, mindful breathing is the most valuable form of meditation. Simply focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders, gently return your focus to your breath.
- Move if you need to. That doesn’t mean to squirm around in your seated position. Get up and talk a walk instead. Be mindful in your walking. Ideally, you can find a peaceful location where you can still focus on your breath, free from the worry of being run over by a car. The more distractions you have, the more challenging it will be.
- Use a timer. Suppose you plan to meditate for 15 minutes. It can be very distracting to wonder how much time is left. So, you peek at the clock and mentally calculate how much time is left. Use a timer instead and keep your attention where it belongs.
- Be mindful throughout the day. Use a timer app on your phone or computer to remind you to be mindful. Set the timer to notify you every 10 to 15 minutes. Take a few mindful breaths and return to your previous activity.
- Meditate several times each day. Use your trusty timer again. Perhaps you can meditate for one minute each hour or 10 minutes every 4 hours.
- The goal is to maintain a mindful state 24 hours per day. This is more easily accomplished if you meditate several times each day.
- Be gentle. Meditation isn’t about forcing yourself to concentrate with tremendous effort. Meditation gives energy. It doesn’t take energy from you. Use gentle, persistent attention. You’ll be more successful and enjoy the process much more.
- The longer you meditate, the more important your posture becomes. Almost any position can be comfortable for a few minutes, but few positions are comfortable for 20 minutes or more. Even your comfy couch is inadequate. It’s important to maintain a well-supported position with a straight spine. Leaning or slouching will create tension and discomfort.
- Have you ever wondered why the full-lotus position is so popular in meditation? It’s because your ankle bones aren’t digging into the floor like they would be if you had your feet folded underneath you. It’s also very stable and allows for a straight spine.
- Find a position that works for you. Consider using a wooden chair if you’re unable to find a comfortable position on the floor.
- Avoid meditating after a large meal. Meditation isn’t a form of sleep. A big meal can make you sluggish and uncomfortable.
- Add time to your meditation practice slowly. Avoid pushing yourself. Five minutes is a good start. Add a few minutes each week. A long session of 30 minutes per day is a worthwhile goal to work up to.
Meditation is a subtle skill that requires time and practice. Many beginners give up before realizing the benefits that meditation provides. Make meditation one of your daily habits. It won’t take long before you consider meditation to be one of your most important activities.