Learning to meditate is the best thing I ever did for myself. I used to be at the mercy of my mind. It was impossible to focus for more than ten seconds at a time. “Distracted” was my natural state of being. Meditation taught me how to control my consciousness, which made a huge impact on my quality of life. Want to accomplish the same thing? Follow these thirteen meditation tips and tricks for beginners.
1. Take baby steps.
Meditation is not a competitive event. You won’t get a trophy for meditating all day. Meditate for a minute. If you can do that everyday for a week, meditate for two minutes the next week. Repeat this process for as long as you like.
2. Schedule an alert.
It’s easy to have aspirations. It’s hard to act on them. Don’t just say, “I’ll meditate everyday.” You’ll get busy and forget. Set-up an alarm in your phone. When that alarm goes off, meditate right away.
3. Time it right.
Meditate at the same time consistently. Mornings might be best. It’s easier to make time for meditation before your day gets crazy (and you’ll go to work with a calm, focused state of mind).
4. Go to a quiet place.
Sit outside and listen to the birds sing. Close your bedroom door and turn on classical music. Meditate in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. The less noisy distractions, the better!
5. Don’t bring your phone.
Texts can wait. Emails can wait. Social media notifications can wait. None of this stuff is so important that it needs to be answered immediately. Leave your phone in a different room.
6. Sit however feels comfortable.
You don’t “have” to sit cross-legged. You don’t need a special cushion. You can sit on a chair, bed, sofa, pillow, rock, or whatever. As long as you’re not slouching, the specifics don’t matter.
7. Tune-in to your state of mind.
How do you feel (physically and mentally)? Don’t over-analyze it. Trust your intuition. Don’t judge any thoughts or feelings as “good” or “bad.” Accept them as they are. Everything is okay.
8. Focus on your breathing pattern.
Paint a mental picture of a surfer riding a giant wave. If he loses focus for one second, he’ll fall. Ride your inhales and exhales with the same level of concentration. Be one with your breath.
9. Aim for equal inhales and exhales.
On every inhale, say: “One, I am breathing in.” On every exhale, say: “Two, I am breathing out.” (Don’t literally say it… think it to yourself.) After you reach ten, go back to one and do it again.
10. Observe where your breath goes.
Breathe in through your nose. Follow your breath as it travels to your belly, lungs, and chest. Feel the sensation of air filling up those areas. In what order do those body parts rise and fall?
11. Resist the urge to beat yourself up.
Don’t get upset when your focus wavers. It happens to everybody. If your mind goes elsewhere, go back to “one” and start counting again. It’s a meditation practice (not a meditation perfect).
12. Treat your thoughts like friends (not foes).
You are not your thoughts. Do not identify with them. Perceive them with love and compassion, not fear and judgment. As you continue to meditate, your thoughts will have less power over you.
13. Be mindful of how meditation influences you.
Are you less reactive during times of stress? Were you able to stay calm when a client got angry? Do you find it easier to focus on your work or studies? Appreciate these benefits as they arise. This will motivate you to stick with your meditation practice.