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Health & Fitness Wellness

Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Steps, Types, and Benefits

In today’s world, it is not uncommon for people to get caught up in the many responsibilities they have – both professional and personal. This results in everyone always rushing to do something and rarely stopping for a while to simply breathe and unwind. However, the stress of life has made many people realize the importance of taking care of themselves more.

Trying to do more than one is capable of and overwhelming yourself with too many tasks to chase unrealistic standards you or people around you have set is an unhealthy way of living. This can cause feelings of anxiety, restlessness, or even trouble sleeping. Because of this, more people have started practicing meditation.

However, some people might still be skeptical in regards to meditation. Several questions might arise: how can it help me, what type of meditation is right for me, does it really work, and so on.

While the practice of meditation is rooted in cultures from India or China, western countries have adopted it thanks to the many benefits it can have on mental health and the overall wellbeing of an individual.

If you’re a beginner, follow these steps

It is essential for individuals who have never tried meditation to know the basic steps that facilitate and prepare you for meditation. If you have tried it once but weren’t impressed, it is of the utmost importance to mention that you might not have created the ideal and proper space to immerse yourself in the session.

Not having any distractions and being somewhere where you feel safe and comfortable are essential aspects. Plus, it is vital to mention that, for meditation to work, it is necessary you are consistent and create a routine. Otherwise, you will not be able to notice its benefits.

So, without further ado, the main steps to follow before meditation are as follows:

  • A space free from noise: One of the most important aspects is to find a place where the environment is free from any distractions. If you can hear any noises from outside or even if you have a slightly loud neighbor or flatmate, your mind will immediately focus on that instead of getting in the suitable mental space to meditate. If the noise is out of your hands and you cannot control it, you might consider a type of guided meditation that is accompanied by specific music for meditation so you can focus on that. This way, you will be able to relax. If you are meditating on your own, consider playing a calming playlist.
  • Find a comfortable position: If you are sitting uncomfortably, it will be challenging for you to meditate if you keep trying to find a position that relaxes you. So, whether you sit in a chair, on the floor, or lying on a yoga mat, it is essential you make sure it is comfortable, and you can relieve your body of any tension.
  • Focus on your breathing: When you start meditating, the main aspect is to breathe softly and focus on how you inhale and exhale. This way, you become aware of it and your body, and you can begin to relax. A body scan can also help you acknowledge how each part feels.
  • Acknowledge distractions: It is not uncommon at all for your mind to begin wondering and get stuck on particular thoughts. Beginners worry about this, and it causes them to give up meditation right away due to the misconception that such distractions shouldn’t happen. It is normal and inevitable, and the secret is to learn how to manage these thoughts through mindfulness. Whenever you feel getting stuck or when you start thinking of many things at once, it is vital you return to paying attention to your breathing. This way, you eliminate a distraction. With practice, this will come naturally.

Meditation types – find the one that suits you

Depending on your preferences, you can find a meditation type that suits you more. Regardless of what kind you choose or if you stick with a simple and basic meditation technique, the common denominator is to create a routine for it to be effective. You can do this by allocating at least 5 or 10 minutes every day according to your schedule. What’s more, it would help if you practice mindfulness around the same time each day to make it part of your routine more quickly.

You might want to try other forms of meditation that use different focus anchors. In this case, you could try the following:

  • Body scan: During this type of meditation, instead of focusing on your breathing, you will be directing your attention towards sensations in your body. So, you can begin at your head and neck and notice how you feel them, then move towards your arms and see how they feel by your side, and so on. This benefits people who are struggling with stress or tension.
  • Loving kindness: If you have low self-esteem and are not usually kind to yourself, this meditation form helps you improve this and develop feelings of love and compassion directed at yourself. By saying positive thoughts during your meditation, you will learn to be kinder and more considerate of your own feelings. Plus, this can be directed at other people too.
  • Visualization: When you feel stressed and need to find inner peace, practicing this meditation type can help you immensely. As the name implies, you can begin by visualizing certain scenes that promote calmness and increase deep relaxation. It would help if your visualization was accompanied by specific sounds or smells so you can imagine everything more intensely.

How can meditation benefit you?

One of the most significant benefits of practicing meditation is developing a stronger sense of self by gaining a better understanding and increasing your self-awareness. When you learn to notice certain negative thought habits, you are already one step closer to healing yourself. As you become more aware, you are more equipped to understand your feelings and their source. By doing so, you can replace a bad habit with a constructive one.

Apart from this, when meditation becomes a routine, you will be able to reduce negative thoughts and emotions and, therefore, alleviate symptoms of anxiety. A noteworthy mention would be not to be hard on yourself when you miss out on a session. It is vital you are kind to yourself when this happens and know that you can practice your favorite type of meditation the next day.

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