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Guide to Beginning Meditation

Post date: 
15 July 2021
Category: 
Health & Wellbeing

The very thought of meditation, or having to sit still and quiet your mind, for a period of time can be daunting. You would think sitting in silence for 10 – 20 minutes would be easy, but for many of us it can be very challenging.  Our modern world ensures we are constantly connected, busy and doing things. But for our minds to be healthy we need to make time to slow down, disconnect and pause.  Meditation is the perfect way to give our brains a much-needed break.  Regular meditation will improve your overall wellbeing by:

  • feeling more ‘in the present’,
  • improving quality of sleep,
  • better moods,
  • increasing your energy levels,
  • feeling better equipped to face life’s challenges, and
  • building resilience.

To meditate you do not need to be spiritual, a hippy, able to recite Sanskrit or be able to sit cross-legged on the floor. There are many forms of meditation with the simplest being the ability to focus on your breath. This is a good place to start. 

When should you meditate?

Anytime! As soon as you wake up is optimal because this time of day is generally quiet, and it is a great way to clear your mind and get ready for the day ahead. Afternoon and early evening are also a good time to begin to unwind. Meditating before bedtime can also promote a good night’s sleep.

Preparation

  • Find a quiet space – turn off your phone and let the people in your household know you are meditating and do not want to be disturbed
  • Either sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on your bed – whichever is more comfortable for you. And make sure you are warm.
  • Dim the lights and begin to focus on your breathing
  • The goal is to be as peaceful and comfortable as possible in preparation for meditation

During Meditation

  • What should I do with my hands? Rest your palms by your side if you are lying down or rest them gently on your lap or knees if you are in a sitting posture.
  • What about the noises around me? You cannot completely eliminate the noises in your environment. During meditation, the key is to notice different sounds but not focus your attention on them.
  • Focus on your breath – your inhale and then your exhale. In and out, in and out. When your mind begins to wander return your focus to your breath. You may need to do this many times during a ten-minute meditation, however, the more your practise the easier it will get.
  • During meditation, it is important to be kind to yourself. Do not get upset if you are thinking about your shopping list or what you will make for dinner. Or if you are fighting the urge to fall asleep. It takes time and patience.

After Meditation

  • Sit consciously for a few minutes and begin to deepen your breathing
  • Gently wiggle your fingers and toes
  • Think about how you are feeling in that moment
  • Think about what you are grateful for
  • Slowly open your eyes
  • Stand up and stretch

It is useful to think of meditation as a practice and remember there is no right or wrong way to meditate – you need to find a way to quieten the mind that works best for you.

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