Beginner's Guide To Meditating
Meditating has become more and more mainstream over the past decade. If our Science Behind Meditating article has inspired you to finally try this age-old practice, we’ve now created a beginner's guide for newbies to jumpstart into meditating.
#1 - Start when you’re ready
So your mom keeps bugging you to try meditating? Or your friends claim that it’ll change your life? Well, their opinions don’t mean anything if you don’t want to start meditating on your own. You need to be open, willing and excited to start meditating. If you’re doing it out of obligation or with hesitation, it’s not going to be an enjoyable experience. Start meditating when you feel that it will best fit into your life.
#2 - Get quiet and comfortable
You could be in your bedroom, your living room, or outside somewhere. Choose a place that you will be undisturbed or not worried about disturbances. You don’t need to be sitting on the floor in a Buddhist temple either. A chair in your bedroom, a spot on the couch, even sitting upright on your bed works for meditating. As long as you're sitting upright, in a comfortable position, you're doing it right.
#3 - Start with an intention
When you meditate with an intention in mind, it can make your meditation be deeper and more impactful. Think about how this may benefit your life. Will you be less stressed at work? Will you be able to spend more time with your family? Will you be more kind to your partner? If you start your meditation with an intention or goal, you will find yourself more focused and less critical of the meditation.
#4 - Set a timer
An easy distraction during meditation is wondering how long it’s been. You can set a timer for how long you’d like to meditate for. You can start with just 2 minutes a day and slowly build up. Once you’ve reached 10 minutes, you can play music or use an online timer to keep time for you. If you’re looking for a 10 minute meditation timer with music, click here. If you’re looking for a 10 minute meditation timer without music, click here.
#5 - Follow the breath
It sounds simple, we know. All you have to do for 2 minutes or 5 minutes or 10 minutes is follow your breath. Yup, it sounds easy. Focus on the movement of the breath in your body. Focus your attention on the inhalation and the exhalation of your breath. Don’t try to change your breath either. Don’t suddenly breathe deeper or slower. Just breathe normally and focus your attention on that action.
#6 - Redirect the mind
Once you start following the breath, you’ll realize how hard it is to maintain your focus. You’ll start thinking about work, about errands later today, about that stupid thing you said yesterday. You’ll think about just about everything, besides your breath. When you finally notice that you're distracted, just go back to your breath. This is what you’re teaching yourself. You are teaching yourself how to be aware when you are thinking too much and how to switch your mind back to the present.
#7 - Remember it’s called meditation PRACTICE
This is a practice. You are not expected to be a master. No one is ever really a master of it. When you get distracted or find yourself frustrated, take the pressure off being perfect. Choose to be more compassionate with yourself and understand that you’re simply practicing and learning. Getting back to the breath will help negate some of those negative feelings as well.
#8 - End with gratitude
At the end of your meditation, take a moment for a small thankful thought. It could be about your meditation practice or something that happened today or about just waking up in the morning. If you end with gratitude, you will change the narrative for your day and your practice.
#9 - Stay consistent
You should feel a little better after each meditation; but don’t expect life-changing results after one session. Meditation is about consistency. You will truly notice the benefits, once it becomes a regular part of your routine. Pick a time of day that works for you and dedicate that time to meditating everyday. We recommend first thing in the morning.
#10 - Try an App
Foxxtales highly recommends the Headspace app for people ready to dedicate themselves to meditation. Headspace is great for absolute beginners and more advanced meditators. Headspace allows you a safe place to grow and try different techniques of meditating. You can try 10 meditation sessions for free on the app.
Share your journey with meditating in the comments!
Check out our Science Behind Meditating article in our Wellness section to learn about the benefits of meditating.