20 May 8 Meditation Tips for Beginners
When you are just starting out, practicing meditation can be difficult. Even for those who meditate regularly, it’s rarely a perfect experience — that’s why we call it a practice. The more you meditate, the easier it should become over time.
Whether you’ve struggled to meditate in the past and need some guidance, or you’ve never meditated before and aren’t sure how to begin, here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
Practice in the morning.
Although meditation is useful at all times of the day, practicing first thing in the morning is typically a great way to begin building a habit for beginners. Mornings are ideal for meditation because it allows you to start fresh, without all the stress and drama we sometimes feel at the end of a long day.
Many people who meditate every morning also find a few other benefits, such as lower anxiety, more energy and focus, and a more calming tone for the rest of the day. It can also help to meditate before doing any other activities, especially before checking your phone for emails or social media updates.
Find a comfortable place.
Before you begin to meditate, you’ll want to make sure you are sitting somewhere you feel comfortable and at ease. It might be your favorite reading chair, an open area on the carpet in the center of a room, or on your porch outside. Wherever you choose, find somewhere in a quiet space and without distractions.
Set a timer.
One of the hardest parts about practicing meditation in the beginning is the amount of time. Even five minutes can feel like forever when you aren’t used to meditating. Try using a timer so you don’t have to keep checking the clock every few seconds to see how much time has passed, and instead be able to better enjoy the time you have while meditating.
As a good starting point, consider setting the timer and meditate for just two minutes or five minutes for the first week. Once you feel more at ease with this amount of time, extend it to ten or 15 minutes the next week. Before you know it, a 20 or 30-minute meditation won’t seem so hard!
Focus on your breathing.
This might feel weird at first, but by focusing intently on your breathing, other thoughts tend to fall away and you can find a sense of calmness. Pay attention to the breath itself, without worrying about how you’re breathing. Focus on the motion of the air coming into your lungs and out your mouth.
Try using calming sounds or music.
Some beginners find it easier to meditate with soothing sounds and soft music in the background, rather than sitting in silence. There are a variety of great CDs, Youtube videos, and Spotify playlists out there for practicing meditation, so try out a few to see what works best for you.
Repeat mantras or positive affirmations.
In some practices, meditation is about clearing the mind of all thoughts completely. However, you might also find that saying or repeatedly thinking one sound or phrase can help you stay focused and let go of all other thoughts or worries.
For example, Om is commonly used in yoga classes, as a way to connect to the meditation practice in a deeper way and has vibrations that can calm the body and nervous system. You might also want to check out this list of other mantras and affirmations to try during meditation.
Don’t stress about meditating the “right” way.
Your thoughts are bound to wander. Some days may be easier to practice than others. Meditation isn’t about doing it perfectly; it’s simply about doing it. Some emotions or thoughts may arise, and sometimes it’s better to let them stay for a moment before returning back to focusing on your breath. Take this time to be open to listening to what your emotions and body are trying to tell you.
Meditate your way.
You might be surprised to hear that you have likely already been meditating without realizing it. Have you ever stared at the wall or off in the distance for a few minutes in a zone and we “come to” realizing that five minutes has passed? Or do you run long distance and find that you get “in the zone” when you’re running? These are all forms of meditation, too. Anything that gets you in a zone is meditation.
So instead of worrying about doing it “properly,” find what your way looks and feels like. Everyone assumes that meditation requires that you sit still and quiet your mind, but that’s not the case. You can use meditation as a way to guide your thoughts, visualize, or create an active mental exercise with a specific goal. Modern meditation is different from the traditional view of meditation: since we’re not all monks with hours to dedicate to a meditation practice and quieting the mind, we can make meditation work for us in whatever way we choose.