Keep Calm & Carry On
How to meditate: it's not as difficult as you think
With everything going on in the world, it’s a solid time to explore meditation and whether it might be useful for you too.
Meditation is the time you spend connecting with yourself and noticing what’s going on with you. It’s the basic sense of, “what’s happening with me? What’s going on with my thoughts, feelings and physical state?” I think meditation is really just about that home base of listening to yourself and having this conversation so that you can know what’s going on. Most simply, it’s a practice to calm the brain by paying attention. And most often, what we’re paying attention to is our breath.
Maybe you want to start meditating because you want to be less reactive, feel less stressed, or be more focused. Maybe meditating is part of a wider personal development plan of some kind. Or maybe you’re looking to improve your relationships with those around you. Whatever the reason, training the mind through meditation is training in awareness, and training in awareness offers the potential to fundamentally transform your perspective on life.
Overall, meditation is an incredible tool that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine—in any form you choose. The beauty of bringing mindfulness into your life is that there is no right or wrong.
Here is how to begin meditating in five steps.
Find a comfortable position for your body. You can lie flat, sit cross-legged on the floor, or sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground. What’s important is that you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Close your eyes. Helps focus and silence out what you can’t see.
Breathe. Just let it come in and go out as it does naturally.
Pay attention to your breathing. Hear yourself inhale and then exhale. Notice the sensation through your body.
Sit in stillness. Keep your mind focused and your energy internalized. Absorb yourself in the peace generated by your calmness and steadiness.
There’s no right time to how long you should meditate, however long you can is the right length of time. If you can spare one minute, once per day, start there. Then you might try three, then five. Ten, fifteen, twenty. With practice, what would have felt too long will begin to feel not quite long enough. As you train your brain to focus and experience quite, meditation becomes a meaningful well-being practice that is also a pleasure.
The mind will wander and that’s inevitable. Your mind will roam, you may notice other sensations in the body, things happening around you, or just get lost in thought, daydreaming about the past or present, possibly judging yourself or others. There’s nothing wrong with this — thinking is just as natural as breathing. When this happens, simply notice what it is you were thinking about or what was distracting you, then take a moment and pause. You don’t need to pull your attention right back to the breath. Instead, let go of whatever it was you were thinking about, reopen your attention, then gently return your awareness to the breath, being present for each inhalation and exhalation.
Now that you know how to get started with meditation, you probably want to know what benefits are likely to arise as a result. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that meditation is beneficial for the mind and body. Some people attribute feeling calmer, more peaceful and focused, less anxious, and more grateful to their meditation practice.
Benefits of Meditation
Lower blood pressure
Improved blood circulation
Lower heart rate
Slower respiratory rate
Boost mood & quality of life
Provides mental clarity and alertness
Develops emotional strength and resilience
Stimulates productivity and creativity
Improves focus and concentration
Overall, meditation is an incredible tool that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine—in any form you choose. The beauty of bringing mindfulness into your life is that there is no right or wrong. Staying grounded is more important than ever while we navigate through the unknown. Taking some time to quiet your mind creates less anxiety and allows you to fully show up as a supportive family member, friend and community member. It can generate positive emotions that can lead to a healthier and happier life.