So you are wondering what does meditation mean? Why many people are swearing by its benefits? How to meditate? And what are the meditation techniques to start with?
Look no further! Our ultimate guide to mindful meditation for beginners will enlighten you.
Meditation is the practice of remaining in a silent and calm state for a while, to train the mind to be free from negative and harmful thoughts. Obviously, many thoughts are useful in managing your life or solving problems. But, the mental mechanisms are so active that they constantly produce thoughts that are often unhealthy.
The goal of meditation is to ensure that these racing thoughts have no longer control over us and to free us from the critical inner voice and the destructive thoughts that prevent us from moving forward in our life.
To meditate is therefore to use certain techniques of concentration and relaxation to focus on yourself and thus silence your inner hubbub. It is a parenthesis in our noisy, distracting, fast-paced, stressful daily life: it is being able to land, stop, and observe what is happening within us.
Mindfulness is a state of consciousness in which attention is anchored to the present moment in a calm and lucid objective manner. We all experience mindfulness from time to time, most often in a stealthy way; a few seconds, or a few minutes at most, when we are both focused and relaxed; watching a roaring fire, or during a walk in the middle of a forest.
Meditation helps develop this state of mindfulness. It trains the mind to free itself from the flow of thoughts and to focus on the present moment longer and deeper. All those who practice it experience mental clarity, inner peace, and better control of their emotions; during meditation and also in their daily life. By practicing mindful meditation regularly, you will start noticing lower stress levels, better decision-making skills, and significant relief from anxiety.
Did you know?
Meditation is now widely popular with more than 18 million people practicing it in the United States alone. Leading companies like General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Google, Apple, and Nike use meditation practices in the workplace, and 22% of employers provided psychology training to workers in 2016.
Mindful Meditation Benefits For Mind And Body:
The actual practice of meditation can be applied in many different ways, but the one that has shown promising results is known as mindful meditation.
The purpose of mindful meditation is to train your mind to focus profoundly on the present moment. It involves directing your attention to something like your breathing, as well as taking moments to notice your body and become aware of your being.
Meditation Recharges Your Brain
Meditation is what helps you to be comfortable and relaxed, in a way that your thoughts and feelings are no longer controlling you. As a result, your mind will become more able to manage itself in a way that you can make better decisions and enjoy mental clarity.
Meditation is not about being a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It is about awareness and getting a healthy sense of self. In mindful meditation, you are not trying to stop your thoughts or feelings. You are learning to observe them without judgment. Ultimately, you may begin to be aware of them, understand them, and then manage them.
Meditation Keeps Your brain In A Healthy State
Just as exercise makes your body physically stronger, this mental practice makes your mind stronger. It activates the parts of the brain that promote things like intelligence, peace, empathy, and happiness.
It is a known fact that our brain begins to slowly shrink from the age of thirty, but maintaining the shape of your brain through meditation can prevent it from contracting completely.
When Your Body Screams: Help! Meditation Can Be Your Savior.
When we are so busy, we may not notice the subtle symptoms in our bodies. For example, when we are stressed, there are early symptoms such as distress, irritation, and heaviness in the body. When we ignore these symptoms, it can lead to much more developed symptoms such as high blood pressure, fatigue, and anxiety.
Meditation helps you become more aware of your health level and well-being. It allows you to hear what your body is trying to tell you so you can address any condition before it’s too late.
Why You Should Start Meditating Now?
More than 50 years of scientific research has shown overwhelming evidence of various benefits that meditation can provide to your brain and body.
One of the most compelling facts about meditation is that it literally changes your brain. Brain scans have shown that the rich, nervous part of the brain known as the gray matter has increased significantly in multiple areas of the brain that deal with important functions such as decision-making, emotional regulation, and memory.
A simple Meditation Technique For Beginners
If you have never meditated before, spending at least two minutes a day can be a great start to developing the habit of meditating and experiencing its magnificent results.
One thing to keep in mind is that meditation is not about trying to stop your thoughts. It’s more about increasing your awareness and then simply letting your thoughts come and go.
All you need is a calm and comfortable space where you will not be disturbed and do the following:
- Sit with your back straight at a comfortable level, either in a chair or on the floor (whichever is more comfortable).
- Leave your eyes open with a soft, relaxed eyesight focus.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
- While breathing, gently close your eyes and resume normal breathing.
- Take a moment to pause and enjoy being in the present moment. Feel the pressure of your body on the chair under you, your feet on the floor and your hands and arms resting on your legs only.
- Gently return focus to your breathing and observe the breathing and your body with its upward and downward sensations.
- When you realize that your mind has wandered into other thoughts, sounds, or sensations, you should gently return the focus to your breathing again.
- Restore interest in your body and the space around you. Then gently open your eyes again.
- Take a while to absorb how you feel before moving on with your day.
Overcome This 5 Common Obstacles to Meditation
Some hindrances may prevent you from experiencing the amazing results of engaging in regular meditation. Here are some challenges to anticipate, as well as some tips on how to deal with them:
Skepticism – You might wonder if this simple practice could really help you in any way. Plenty of evidence has proven this to be true, so go ahead with an open mind and trust the process. You will notice the changes gradually and the possibilities will soon become a reality for you.
Restlessness – you may find yourself constantly disturbed and distracted by your thoughts when you meditate. Be aware that this is completely normal, especially at first. Like any other exercise, you will have some good days and bad days but as you continue to train your brain, you will become more fluent as you enter a calm state.
Impatience – You may not experience the benefits as quickly as some other people. Don’t worry while it may take a little longer to see positive results, go at your own pace, and as you continue to practice and improve, you will definitely experience results.
Falling asleep – you will definitely have trouble concentrating if you are tired or low on energy. If you find this happening often, try meditating at a time when you are more awake, ideally earlier in the day rather than closer to bedtime.
Frustration – As with any other new training, some days you will miss your meditation sessions. Don’t let this discourage you. Don’t give up and keep going and do it whenever you can. Just remember small actions lead to big results.
Basic Meditation Techniques And Practices (with specific steps)
Two of the most scientifically researched types of meditation include Focused Attention Meditation (FAM) and Open Monitoring Meditation (OMM).
The Focused Attention Meditation is when you bring your full attention to a particular stimulus, such as your body, your breathing, an image, or some words.
The Open Monitoring Meditation is an open observation practice that focuses the meditator’s awareness on the feelings, thoughts, or sensations that are currently present in one’s body, without any judgment or focus on it.
Most mindfulness meditation sessions use a combination of the two types, starting from the Focused Attention Meditation at the beginning and a gradual shifting to the Open Monitoring Meditation.
To help you meditate a little, here are some basic techniques you can practice for each type:
Focused Attention Meditation Techniques:
Attention meditation can be focused in a variety of ways, as there are many things that you can concentrate on. Here are some basic techniques you can use to combine:
Breathing meditation – This is a very common form of focused attention method where you focus on breathing while meditating. Simply count to 10 with every breath in and out and repeat. When your mind strays, gently return your focus to your breathing and start counting again.
Walking meditation – take a walk at a comfortable pace. Start by focusing on the sensations you feel in your body. Notice the weight of your feet as they hit the ground and the movement of your arms with each step. If started thinking or being aware of other things, gently return the focus to the sensations you are feeling while walking.
Mantra spelling – A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself. It could be any positive word that you would like to say. When you start to meditate, close your eyes and repeat your mantra to yourself. Focus only on the sound and the emotions of your mantra, and gently draw your focus to it as your mind wanders.
Image meditation – this involves placing your focus on either an image in your mind or an actual object in your environment. Meditation with images can be done either by closing your eyes and imagining an object or with your eyes open when focusing on an actual object such as a flower or a candle flame.
The Open Monitoring Meditation Techniques:
Open Monitoring Meditation is all about observing experiences without judging or being attached to them. Being aware of your thoughts and feelings without controlling them is what is referred to as mindfulness.
Mindfulness enhances the clarity, perspective, and wisdom that comes with gaining insight and helps you make better decisions, especially when dealing with difficult emotions such as fear and stress.
Here’s how to do it:
- Be comfortable in a meditative and relaxing position.
- Take long, deep breaths. With each exhale, feel how your body becomes more relaxed.
- Rest your consciousness now.
- Take a moment to monitor your body weight on the chair with your hands on your lap. Notice any sounds or smells in your room.
- Monitor your body parts by performing a body scan from the top of your head to the tip of your toes and notice any sensations while doing so.
- Focus your awareness more by observing your thoughts or feelings. Recognize any deep emotions.
- Remember not to think about these emotions, but simply notice them instead as though they are separated from you. One way that can help you not to identify your self with those emotions is to label them. If you suffer from fear, just tell yourself “This is fear.” Then let go.
- When your mind wanders away from the moment, resist the urge to attach yourself to those thoughts. Just let it come and go.
Meditation Is The Transformation You Were Looking For
One of the main ways that meditation helps is by making you realize that you are not your thoughts or feelings. Meditation sets you free if you are restricted by your thoughts.
By connecting with yourself, you can develop an amazing ability to deal with stress, improve your health, and increase your intellect.
Take two minutes now to close your eyes, and focus on your breath and your presence. Then you will be on your way to changing your life for the better.
Share with us your meditation experience in the comments section if you already tried one of the listed exercises. we would love to hear from you.