“If fitness is an approach to training the body, then meditation is an approach to training the mind.”
A method to bring the active mind to stillness and tranquility, meditation helps to eliminate conscious thought, offering the meditator a unique concentration. During meditation, attention is focused on eliminating the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. The practice comes with a myriad of well-known health benefits including better focus, decreased anxiety, and emotional well-being, among others.
“Knowledge is good, education and understanding is relevant, but rituals make it real.” -Peter Sage
Even with the incredible benefits, and although many try meditation at some point in their lives, only a small percentage actually stick with it for the long-term. This is likely due to the fact most beginners give up after struggling with a few key issues.
“The outer world is simply a reflection of our inner world.” -Peter Sage
Enjoy these 10 practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation over the long term:
1. SET ASIDE TIME EACH DAY.
The only way to get to the the next level in meditation is by setting aside specific time each day to practice.
2. FOCUS ON BREATHING.
Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, and helps to focus and calm a busy mind.
3. LET IT GO.
It is common for beginners to have a hard time quieting thoughts like: “what am I doing?” or “why can’t I just quiet my mind?!” When this happens, as it inevitably will, try to really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings just fall away.
4. CHOOSE A ROOM.
Make sure that the room you choose to meditate in is not an office, your bedroom, or an area that you regularly exercise in. It should be the same room each day and needs to be an area where you can relax with “no-strings-attached.”
5. MAKE A COMMITMENT.
Meditation is a lifestyle not a trend or fad, so in order for you to get the optimal results, you need to follow through and make it a habit. Don’t get overly critical about your progress either, just do the best you can every day, and let it go!
6. DO NOT DISTURB.
It is critical that you remain undisturbed while in meditation. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is not taking steps to insure a peaceful environment. If you are constantly having to worry about whether your cell will ring, the dog will bark or the kids will wake up, you’re not going to reach that state of deep relaxation.
7. DON’T STRESS.
Try not to stress no matter what happens during your meditation. Inevitably, something will probably go wrong and catch you off guard. The only way to deal with it and stay on track is to let it go. Do not dwell on stress. One way to deal with stress in meditation is to focus on gratitude instead. Instead of stewing over what is bothering you, get to a positive mind by transitioning to feelings of gratitude.
8. FIND A PARTNER.
Meditating with a partner or family member can have huge benefits, not the least of which is accountability. When you have a partner to meditate with you have someone with whom to discuss new strategies and struggles with. It’s always easier with a friend!
9. RISE AND…ZEN.
Without a doubt, early morning is the ideal time to practice meditation. The morning hours tend to be quieter, your mind is not filled with a million things, and there’s far less chance you will be interrupted. Start to make a habit of getting up an hour or half an hour earlier to meditate, you won’t regret it.
10. STAY ON TRACK.
Meditation can seem like hard work, and you may feel like you’re just getting too busy and overwhelmed with daily life to continue. But it is precisely at this time that you will need meditation most. Re-invigorate yourself by reconnecting with the reasons that you started practicing in the first place.
Meditation is an a hugely beneficial practice, but it can be trying in the beginning. Use the tips described above to get the most out of your meditation!
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