Meditation, like exercise, is one of those rare practices that is almost universally agreed upon as beneficial. It is a powerful practice that has been used for thousands of years to cultivate inner peace, clarity, and emotional well-being. In recent years, meditation has gained even more traction with people from all walks of life as research has increasingly shown that it can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while also increasing focus, creativity, and overall well-being. And who doesn’t need that?!
If you’re interested in beginning a meditation practice, the following guide, inspired by some of our favorite meditation teachers, can help you get started.
- Create a dedicated space
Creating a dedicated space for meditation can help you establish a regular practice. Choose a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. You can decorate the space with objects that inspire you, such as candles, incense, or pictures of spiritual teachers.
- Choose a time of day
Choosing a consistent time of day to meditate can help you establish a routine. Many people find that meditating in the morning helps set a positive tone for the day, while others prefer to meditate in the evening to help them unwind and relax.
- Start with short sessions
Starting with short meditation sessions can help you establish a regular practice without feeling overwhelmed. No matter how busy you are, chances are you can steal time for a five or ten-minute sessions. Even one minute is better than nothing! Gradually increase the length of your sessions as you become more comfortable.
- Focus on your breath
Focusing on your breath is a lovely meditation technique that can help you develop mindfulness and concentration. Simply sit comfortably and pay attention to your breath as it flows in and out of your body. When your mind begins to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
- Incorporate guided meditations
Guided meditations can be a helpful tool for beginners. They provide instruction and guidance, helping you to stay focused and engaged. You can find guided meditations online or through meditation apps, like Insight Timer, Headspace, or Waking Up.
- Join a meditation group
Joining a meditation group can provide support and accountability, as well as an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. Even the smallest communities have local meditation groups, and online groups abound as well.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been shown to have a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health. Research has found that meditation can:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
Meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and decrease symptoms of anxiety.
- Improve focus and concentration
Meditation can improve attention and concentration, which can benefit both work and personal life.
- Increase emotional well-being
Meditation has been shown to increase feelings of happiness, compassion, and overall emotional well-being, and help people avoid dramatic emotional highs and lows.
- Lower blood pressure
Meditation can help lower blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Reduce symptoms of depression
Meditation has been found to reduce symptoms of depression and improve mood.
- Increase creativity
Meditation can enhance creativity, spark fresh ways to think about things, and inspire new answers to old problems.
Cultivating a regular meditation practice is one of the best things you can do to increase emotional equilibrium, presence, and quality of life. It’s easy, free, and available to anyone with even one minute to spare.
Jack Kornfield, celebrated meditation teacher and author, once said, “Meditation is a process of transformation, a way to open the heart and mind to the depth and richness of life itself.” Through regular practice, you can develop a greater sense of inner peace and clarity, and open yourself up to a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you. Sound too good to be true? Try it and let us know!