Are you looking to start meditating? If so, would you like some useful meditation tips to get the most from it?
Some of the earliest records of meditating stretch back to 3500 BC. Many human civilizations have realized the benefits of meditation for several millenniums. Although historically the practice was more popular in the East.
But in recent years, it has seen a major increase in participation by Westerners. Not only have celebrities raved about it, but massive corporations have encouraged it in the workplace.
This is due to its major benefits including, stress relief and better mental well-being. Plus, it can also help people to be more creative.
So how can you start meditating today and enjoy the rewards?
In this article, we’ll share seven of the best meditation tips for beginners. These will help you to better understand meditation and get the most out of it, regardless of which style of meditation you’d like to try. Let’s dig in!
Read on for more information.
1. Choose a Calm and Comfortable Space
When you first begin to start meditating, you’ll probably want to find a nice space that’s quiet. General physical comfort and minimal distractions will help you relax into the process.
So, don’t pick a room that people will come in and out of often. Plus, don’t choose somewhere that’s too cold, or too hot, or in some other way unpleasant to sit in.
Some of the best places are your bedroom, living room and even your parked car. But, if you do use your car, make sure you’re not parked near a busy road or somewhere with pedestrians walking past. Also, it can be a good idea to lock the doors of your car to ensure that you won’t be disturbed.
2. Don’t Have Any Expectations Before Meditating
A common problem beginners have is thinking they’ll feel wonderful after each mediation. When this doesn’t happen, they become discontent and often stop all together.
The truth is, meditation can take a while to become good at. You might find that you have a great experience one day, and then a not so great experience the next time. This is especially true if you’re working completely on your own, without anyone to guide you.
So, it’s good to keep in mind that some sessions can leave you feeling calm and relaxed whereas others have no effect. We’re here to tell you that is normal, especially in the beginning.
Expectations in general can be challenging in life. Think about it: if you expect to get/experience/attain something desirable, this automatically means that you’ll see not getting/experiencing/attaining that thing as undesirable. That’s how expectations work.
So, instead of expecting meditation to leave you feeling great (or even the opposite of expecting it to “not work”), try looking at it as a little adventure. In many ways, meditation is exactly like a walk around your neighborhood in that you never know what you’ll discover or experience.
Try thinking of meditation as “getting some fresh air” for your head (or heart…or even your soul), and then whatever your session brings will be whatever it is. This attitude will seriously cut down on feeling annoyed or disheartened after a practice session..
Just start meditating, not expecting to get anything from it. Plus, try letting go of controlling your thoughts. If your mind starts to wander and you find yourself focusing on problems you want to sort out, you can remind yourself that it’s entirely natural to do this during meditation. Especially when you’re first starting out – but even sometimes after you’ve been meditating for years. The mind wanders and thinks thoughts. That’s what it does. Meditation is a chance to practice of bringing the mind gently home to calm and focused awareness. This includes calm and focused awareness of the fact that the mind wanders. It’s kind of cool how it work.
And the good news is, you become better at meditating over time, allowing yourself to get the benefits from it more often.
3. Choose a Convenient Time and Stick to It
Especially in the beginning, it’s easier to get into the habit of meditating regularly by creating a schedule for yourself.
You need to choose a time when you don’t have to rush. Some people find it helps to meditate first thing in the morning because it prepares them for the day ahead. Others find it better to meditate at night because it helps them to relax before sleeping. Still others like to meditate on their lunch break, to keep themselves even keeled throughout their day.
There is no right or wrong time to meditate, it’s whatever suits you.
A useful tip is to combine meditation with a daily habit you already have. For example, this could be before you journal at night. Or before you take a shower in the morning. If you’re a mid-day meditator, try enjoying your practice before lunch. If you can find a little “hook” in your day to attach your desired meditation to, it might make it easier for you to remember to do it, and to stick with it.
4. Prepare to Meditate by Calming Yourself
One of the most simple meditation tips is to calm down and relax before starting.
It’s not wise to jump straight into meditating if you’ve just had an intense meeting or something. Instead, you should take a few steps to wind down and calm your mind.
To do this, try the following:
- Sit somewhere comfortable
- Take slow and deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth
- With each breath, see if you can relax your body more and more completely
- Recite a poem, a multiplication set, or a portion of the periodic table of elements
Following these steps can help you slow down racing thoughts. This helps to reduce your heart rate, which in turn allows your body to feel more relaxed, which further helps to slow the mind even more.
When you feel ready, begin your meditation.
5. Try to Remain Still While You Meditate
When you’re anxious and stressed, you’re more likely to start fidgeting. If you do this while meditating, it’ll interrupt your rhythm. You’ll be practicing distraction rather than meditation. So, to give yourself a little help with staying on point, try the following.
First, turn off any obvious disruptors. This includes mobile phones, computers, televisions, and alarm clocks. If something starts beeping halfway through, it will affect your focus.
Then, get into a comfortable position and try to remain as still as possible. It may take you a few practice sessions to decide on what “comfortable” means to you.
For example, if you want to sit cross-legged on the floor with a pillow, this might be perfect the first time out. Or, you might find that it hurts your knees. Or your back. Or even your butt. And then you have to disrupt your session to adjust yourself to stop the pain.
So, next time try an adjustment before you begin.
You might sit with your legs more loosely crossed, or not crossed at all. You might try a firmer pillow or a softer pillow. You might try sitting in a chair. Make decisions before practice to see if you can adjust your method and improve your chances of making it through your practice session without interruption. Don’t worry if it takes many sessions to arrive at the right setup for yourself. It will come.
6. Focus On Your Breathing
Beginners often don’t understand what they should be doing or thinking about. Well, for the most basic meditation practice, the answer is – drum roll, please – nothing. You’re “supposed” to be thinking and doing nothing. Instead you’re “supposed” to simply be.
The idea is to simply be in the moment, be aware of being in the moment, and appreciate it for what it is: a moment passing in a series of moments.
There’s no better way to do this than to just focus on your breathing. It helps to calm your mind and reduce your stress levels. You can try maximizing your meditation time by reaping the benefits of breathing through your nose.
If your mind starts to wander, slowly bring it back to your breath.
7. Commit to It
As we’ve mentioned before, you’ll have days when meditation practice isn’t especially effective. You may be left feeling anxious or down.
This is a completely normal and understandable response. Please, don’t beat yourself up over the ineffective practice session or the unhappy feeling it might give you. Try to make the decision early on in your practice to just stick with it, no matter what arises. Begin gently to include meditation in your daily life the same way you include eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth, waving at your neighbor, going to work, loving your friends and family, walking the dog, and all the many habits you have in life. Come back to meditation each day for the sake of coming back to it rather than for what it gives you.
Wonderfully, this is how you’ll get the most from even the most basic practice. You’ll see.
The benefits of meditation are great, especially in the long term.
Free Visualization: Try this “Inner Smile Technique” as You Become Better
We promised a free visualization, and here it is.
The inner smile meditation is to simply make you happy. Why? Because feeling happy is the best thing in the world.
To try the inner smile meditation, do the following:
- Get into your usual yoga pose, whatever that is.
- Straighten your back and relax your shoulders as best you can.
- Relax your face and let your tongue touch the roof of your mouth.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly lift the corners of your mouth until you are physically smiling.
- Focus on how you feel inside as you start smiling.
- Starting at the head, slowly focus on each body part to imagine it smiling its own smile, ending with the toes.
- Stay in this pose for 20-30 minutes, repeating the “smile journey” through the body.
This is a great meditation technique to reduce symptoms of depression and literally encourage a sense of happiness. It’s not fake. Just the opposite. In discovering the details of how smiling feels inside yourself, you begin to gain command of that feeling. You can even try this:
As you breathe in, say to yourself, “I’m breathing in happiness”, and as you exhale say to yourself, “I’m breathing out joy”.
Once you become accustomed to this practice, you can call on it any time of the day, even outside of seated meditation. It can turn around a sour mood, allow you to quickly shake off an upsetting encounter, or even help you motivate yourself to greater levels of creativity, compassion and kindness. As they say, “smile and the world smiles with you”. Give your smile to the world, and the world to your smile. See what happy changes it stirs inside you.
Simple Meditation Tips for Beginners
As you can see, basic meditation isn’t difficult to learn, it just requires the decision to meditate plus some dedication and practice.
If you can use all of these meditation tips, you should start feeling the wonderful benefits of meditation. Not only could your stress levels decrease but, may become more creative and generally happier with yourself and others.
Finally, you can sign up for a free QuietSelf membership to access guided meditations and music created specifically for meditation and introspection. These free audio tracks can help you in your practice starting right now.