How to Meditate for Beginners: A Complete Guide
Meditation, something that has been around for centuries in other countries has only recently made its way to the United States in any real way. Still, even though it is relatively new here, most people know that it’s super beneficial to your peace of mind and even your physical health. In fact, the practice is often identified with highly successful, and super happy people who have certainly “made it” in their lives, so to speak. Not only this, but it is touted to be a great thing when it comes to relieving the stress and anxiety of this hustle and hurry world, and also as being the biggest thing in mainstream wellness since apple pie and baseball. Studies have even shown that meditation has tons of health benefits from the physical to the mental and emotional. Of course, as with anything to do with improving your health, meditation has its own set of followers, and of course, its own set of detractors.
If you are just now starting out in the world of meditation, you might be a little confused about everything from how to begin, the reasons you should actually meditate, the pros and cons and even the myths and misconceptions out there about this tried and true practice. Never fear, in this blog, we’re going to go into all of that for you, and try to leave you feeling peaceful and certainly less confused about the practice of meditation. We’re even going to throw in a few of the health benefits to your mind and your body to help as well.
So, grab a yoga mat, a bottle of water, your best relaxation mix, and let’s delve a little further into our guide to meditation for beginners, shall we?
How to Meditate as a Beginner
The first thing you need to know when you’re learning to meditate for the first time is where to begin in the process. You might ask the question “How do I sit still and empty my mind for that amount of time? I have way too much stress in my life for that.” While it’s not simple to just sit down and meditate, especially if you live a super-busy life like most of us do in today’s world, it is possible. Read on below for a few tips to help you get started on the path to a clearer head and a well-rested body.
Sit Still for Just Two Minutes
It is said that doing something in moderation every day is the key to mastering that thing. The same can be said for meditation. Make a conscious effort to sit down and meditate for just two minutes every day for a week. Once you are in the habit of that, make it five minutes every day for a week, and then increase your time as you go. This will make it easier for you to get into the habit of meditating gradually, instead of trying to force yourself to sit still for long periods right off the bat.
Meditate First Thing in the Mornings
We all know how easy it is to say, “Sure, I’ll meditate every day,” then quickly forget about it. Instead, set yourself a reminder to meditate as soon as you get up in the mornings. Even putting a note that says meditate somewhere close, where you can see it when you wake up will help you to get into the habit.
Don’t Think! Just Do!
It’s so easy to get caught up in everything from where to sit to what cushion to use, that people forget about the meditation process itself and come away more stressed than they were, to begin with. The trick to conquering this is to just sit. Wherever you’re the most comfortable, sit there and meditate. After all, it’s only for two minutes a day right now, right? Once you’ve mastered sitting still, then it’ll be time to worry about the other stuff, but for now, don’t think, just do it!
Conquer Your Wandering Mind
There is no doubt about it, your mind will wander away from your meditation, drifting to the tasks ahead of you for the day. No, you aren’t doing something wrong when this happens, it’s completely normal for our minds to focus on the tasks ahead. When you notice this happening, gently bring your mind back to the task at hand. Remember, this is practice, it’s going to take time to conquer.
Don’t Worry so Much
Of course, it’s normal for you to worry that you’re practicing meditation the wrong way. Everyone does, and you are a beginner. In reality, there is not a perfect way to meditate. Just be happy that you’re actually meditating and go from there.
Make a Solid Commitment
It’s not enough to meditate once every couple of weeks, you need to make a solid commitment to the practice and to yourself for it to do you any type of good. Lock in that commitment for just one month to see how you feel and where it gets you in terms of physical and mental wellness.
You Can do it Anywhere
You don’t have to be at home, just getting out of bed to meditate. Though it is recommended that you meditate first thing in the mornings in the beginning, you can meditate any time of the day, anywhere you happen to be. On your lunch break in the office, in the park, or anywhere else you feel that need.
Join a Community
Believe it or not, there are communities that meditate together. Find one of the ones in your community and join them. It will make it easier for you to focus and commit to meditation and you might make some new friends along the way.
Mediate with Friends or Family
You never know whether your friends and family would like to join you in meditation until you ask. Talk to them and see if maybe they would like to meditate together. That will keep you both focused and committed as well.
Now that you know a little bit about how to start meditating and sticking to the practice, it’s time to move into a few of the reasons and benefits of doing so.
Reasons/Benefits of Practicing Meditation
While the benefits of mediation are no secret, many people simply don’t see the reason to take the time out of their busy days to sit on a mat and breathe. If you are one of those people and have read this far, read on a little further to find out why you should take up meditation.
Helps You to Sleep Better
Meditation releases all kinds of natural chemicals into the system, making it easier for you to get a good eight hours of rest a night. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can make you irritable, distracted, and overall not your best. Not getting enough sleep can even lead to serious health problems, so if mediating a few minutes a day will help you to sleep better, isn’t it worth trying?
Helps You to Stress Less
Stress is one of the number one killers in the world today, from people having heart attacks to other stress-related diseases, and meditation seems to help with that. It’s a well-known fact that professionals with high-stress jobs are the biggest supporters of mediation. There’s a reason for that. It relieves stress, which allows them to be more productive in their lives and work. This isn’t just for celebrities and Wall Street workers. It can work for you as well.
Promotes More Mindful Eating
If you think about it, since mediation helps you to sleep better and stress less, it will also help you to eat less and not stress eat as well. If you aren’t stressed you don’t eat as much, meaning that you are healthier mentally and physically as well.
Those are just a few of the reasons that you might want to take up meditation, there are many, many more reasons and benefits out there. Now, let’s move onto a few of the pros and cons of the practice so you are informed before you make a final decision.
Pros and Cons of Meditation
As with anything else health related there are pros and cons to mediating as well. Read on below for a few of them.
Pros of Meditation
- Reduces blood pressure, relieves stress, stops overeating, and is a boost to the immune system
- Seems to help men increase their sperm count through relaxation a natural way
- Is said to increase concentration levels
- Increases relaxation levels and promotes sleep
- Is good for the heart
Cons of Meditation
- It is not a solution to the world’s problems, and if you have serious issues you still need to get help
- It only works, if you commit and stick to it
- It can’t tell you wrong from right. That is something you have to learn and decide yourself
- It doesn’t work for everyone
These are just a few of the pros and cons out there associated with meditation. In our opinion, the pros well outweigh the cons, but that has to be a decision you make for yourself. Next, we will go into the many myths and misconceptions surrounding mediation to help you get a grasp on what isn’t true and what is.
Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Meditation
While meditation is mainstream and widely popular today, there are some myths and misconceptions surrounding mediation that is not only untrue but can be dangerous as well. Many doctors are recommending meditation to their patients as a way to relax, relieve stress, and become more healthy. These are true benefits for some people, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Below, find some of the myths and misconceptions you as a beginner at meditation should be aware of.
Myth: Meditation is Super Hard
This myth comes from the old practice where it was thought that you had to reach a certain spiritual plane to be able to mediate. Meditation is not hard, and many teachers these days give simple, yet effective instructions for meditation practices.
Myth: It Takes Years to see the Benefits of Meditation
Again not true. Meditation benefits can start right away for many people. It is important to note at this point, however, that’s meditation is not a miracle cure and it won’t solve all of your problems. However, it is designed when done more than once every couple of months, to help you relax your body, mind, and spirit, which in turn improve your physical and mental health.
Myth: You have to Wear Special Clothes, be in a Special Place, and Burn Special Incense
Not true, not true, and again not true. You can wear whatever you are comfortable wearing, meditate wherever you are and burn nothing while meditating if you so choose. Many people find that burning their favorite scent or even playing a relaxation tape is the best way for them to mediate, but that isn’t for everyone and doesn’t have to be. You figure out what is your best way to mediate, and stick with it. What’s important is what works for you, not what works for your neighbor down the street. Do what feels right to you and helps you relax, and you will be fine, trust us on that.
These are just a few of the top myths out there concerning mediation that you need to know as a beginner. There are many more that need to be debunked as well. Do your research on the ones that concern you the most and then make a final decision as to whether meditation is truly for you based on what you find.
This concludes our guide on meditation and how it can benefit you. You know the pros, the cons, and even how to get started out the right way. Remember, there is no right or wrong, do what is best for you to relax and commit to it and yourself for the best possible results.
- Zen Habits: Meditation for Beginners
- Green Garage: 3 Pros and Cons of Meditation
- Live and Dare: 34 Misconceptions & Myths About Meditation