When we meditate we are learning how to lower our stress levels, understand our limiting beliefs, connect better and, most importantly, learning how to be kinder to ourselves <3
Maybe you want to start meditating in order to feel more at ease and relaxed, lower your anxiety, be less reactive or become more focused? A meditation practice has the potential to change your perspective on life.
For myself, I began to notice how exhausted my mind made me feel. Due to a plethora of hard times in my late-teens to early twenties I was in a place of constant worry and anxiety, always ready and waiting for the next bad thing to happen. It was extremely overwhelming.
It wasn’t until 3 years ago, when I started making mala beads, that I learnt about the beautiful world of meditation.
Meditation is learning how to create more space between yourself and how you relate to your thoughts (because your thoughts don’t define you). It’s a practice in awareness and finding a healthy perspective. You’re not trying to eliminate your thoughts or feelings, you are learning how to observe them without judgement.
The action of taking your mind off auto-pilot, realizing you’re deep in thought and coming back to the present moment, stops the cycle of thoughts fuelling your emotions. Over time this develops into a place of quiet confidence and contentment.
How to Meditate
So, how do you begin to learn meditation? Very simply, you start with focusing on the breath. This is referred to as ‘mindfulness meditation’, which is a practice in awareness. All you have to do is close your eyes and focus on your breath. When you realize you have gotten lost in thought (this is awareness), simply come back to the breath. Here is an example of what a mindfulness meditation would look like:
- Sit comfortably and take a few big deeps breaths- in through the nose and out through the mouth
- Close your eyes and simply follow the natural rhythm of the breath. Where do you feel your breath? Is it in your chest? Or, in your stomach? Are they deep breaths or shallow? Use these little details to focus on as you meditate.
- Try following your breath for just 3 minutes. Every time you realize you’ve become lost in thought come back to the present moment
So how did that feel? It’s perfectly normal, at any level, to experience feelings of restlessness, boredom or resistance. Meditation is a skill and therefore, needs to be developed over time.
What’s most important is that you remain consistent. Being able to find a few minutes everyday to meditate is more important than the duration of the meditation itself.
The more you stick with meditation the more benefits you will realize and the more you will understand how your mind thinks and feels. This understanding will allow you to take steps towards a happier and healthier life, with increased clarity, contentment and compassion.
Staying Mindful Post-Meditation
At the end of your meditation make sure to just sit still for a moment and your quality of mind. Make it a priority to carry that feeling of spaciousness and calm with you throughout the day. It’s so easy to just jump up and move on to the next task, so just be conscious of this!
A consistent meditation practice will allow your to pause, put things in perspective, and then choose how to move forward. As you move throughout the day it will provide a pocket of stillness amid all the outer chaos.
4 Meditation Tips for Beginners
These tips and tools really helped me when I was first starting. The trick is making your meditation a consistent routine.
1. Use an App
If you are completely new to meditation I would highly recommend using a guided app so that you can learn the foundation. I started out with the Headspace App and still use it to this day. I believe they offer 10 beginners sessions for free!
2. The Space
Of course you’ll want to find as quiet, calming space as you reasonably can. You can make your space more calming by diffusing essential oils (I love eucalyptus, it’s rejuvenating but also calming), lighting candles, using a mala or holding crystals.
3. Using Mala Beads
Instead of focusing on the breath while meditating you can also use mala beads. A mala bead necklace is strung and hand-knotted with 108 beads and features a tassel pendant. When meditating with a mala, you roll each bead between your fingers as you breath or as you recite a mantra. It acts as a physical way to direct your attention and energy and is a gentle reminder to reground and refocus.
Meditation is a skill and it will take consistent practice for you to feel comfortable. But there is no such thing as ‘perfect meditation’- your focus will wander and sometimes you will forget to follow your breath. That’s okay, the most important thing is meditating consistently, it’s about the journey and not the destination. Find comfort in that!
I hope this helps as a quick introduction to the world of meditation. As a next step you could try our quick 10-minute meditation designed to alleviate stress and anxiety. Breathe in, breathe out…
If you ever have any further questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in the comments below!