Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation can be an incredibly powerful method for reducing stress. Improving focus and cultivating a sense of presence.
Although the health benefits of meditation are well-documented. Still, many people are put off by a lack of clarity about how to get started with a meditation routine.
Keeping things simple is vital when you’re just starting out with meditation. An effective and repeatable routine can be built with four key tips.
Tip 1: Define your expectations
One major hurdle for people starting meditation is a lack of clarity about what they really expect to achieve through their meditation practice.
Many people expect to quickly achieve an ’empty’ mind, with the ability to silence their thoughts at will.
Although meditation can be used to develop greater control over the thoughts that pass through your mind, Achieving this level of control can take a long time to develop.
Starting meditation with excessive expectations can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation to continue.
It can help to think of meditation as training your ‘mental muscle’.
With each meditation session, you slowly increase your mind’s strength and resilience, regaining control of your consciousness.
Although you may still find that your mind is incredibly busy with thoughts during meditation. It will improve.
By focusing on the small improvements rather than a far-off ultimate goal you can stay patient and satisfied.
Expect each session to be a slight improvement on the last — it’s as simple as that.
Tip 2: Set the scene
Although it’s possible to meditate in a hectic environment with lots of noise,
movement, and other potential distractions, such an environment isn’t ideal for a beginner.
A perfect environment for a beginner has the following features:
It’s consistently quiet
You won’t be interrupted
Lack of sound makes it easier to focus on the meditation routine,
whilst confidence that you won’t be interrupted allows you to relax and let down your guard.
Tip 3: Sit comfortably
Although it’s possible to meditate sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, it’s not a requirement.
It’s important to simply sit comfortably, ensuring that physical discomfort doesn’t provide an unnecessary distraction.
Sitting upright is preferable to lying down as it prevents you from falling asleep.
Back support can provide comfort to your back — sitting on the floor with your back against a wall can be a good starting point.
Tip 4: Simply focus on your breath
The aim of your meditation practice should be to simply maintain focus on your breath.
Once you’re sitting comfortably in the correct environment,
begin by breathing in deeply and then breathing out.
Focus on the inhalation and exhalation, noticing the sensations in and around your nose and mouth as the air enters and then leaves.
Continue to breathe in and out, maintaining a focus on your breath.]
The aim of this is to center your attention on a simple aspect of the present moment — the sensation of breathing.
When thoughts arise, don’t fight them.
Think of each thought as a wave — they rise, break and then disappear. The aim isn’t to immediately silence your mind — just ride the waves.
Initially, your mind is likely to be filled with thoughts,
with no noticeable gap between one thought and the next.
Over time gaps will develop, bringing brief moments of silence.
Split your attention between focusing on your breath and enjoying these moments of silence.
If your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath as soon as you realize.
Keep repeating the routine, building your mental muscle.
With consistency and patience, the health benefits of meditation can be developed into a powerful tool.