Being still with your thoughts can feel daunting for those new to meditation. Here’s how you can ease into it. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.
Meditation is known for its ability to sweep away the day’s stress, reduce negative emotions, and increase one’s self-awareness. But for beginners looking to dip their toes into this practice, the idea of staying mindful can feel overwhelming at best. At least that’s how I felt when I first downloaded the award-winning Calm app and attempted their “7 Days of Calming Anxiety”, an audio meditation program over seven parts. While the guide’s voice was soothing, I found myself fidgeting just minutes into my first segment, with my mind fluttering over to the next day’s tasks and even my grocery list.
After attempting to meditate a couple more times over the course of a month, I started to fight my distractions less and instead focused on being present in the here and now. If you’re starting on your meditation journey, here are some quick tips:
1. Understand why you meditate
Having a strong purpose behind your newfound meditation practice can motivate you even when it gets hard, whether it’s to keep your mind clear or improve your productivity. If you’re living with generalised anxiety, daily meditation can gradually help you overcome anxious feelings and reduce tension in your body.
2. Meditate without expectations
Despite its benefits on your mental wellbeing, meditation is not a quick fix for all of life’s problems. Once you’ve established that, it’s much easier to approach meditation as an opportunity to learn more about the workings of your own mind. With regular sessions, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of increased mindfulness.
3. Schedule a time and place to meditate
According to research, habits take more than two months to become automatic. Make meditation a part of your life by pairing it with a daily ritual such as making coffee in the morning or brewing a pot of tea after dinner. Create a conducive environment where you can meditate in peace, away from smartphones and other tech devices.
4. Focus on your breath
Meditation isn’t as complex as it sounds. It’s simply the act of bringing your attention back to your breath, over and again. Focus on the quality of your inhales and exhales, then acknowledge your jumbled-up thoughts by simply labelling them as “thoughts.” Over time, this can bring you to a state of deep relaxation where you can simply be.