The beginning of this month I decided to start meditating. I watched this video by Cornelia Grimsmo and was immediately inspired. She is so interesting and enlightening and such a bright soul, I would recommend watching her videos.
Anyway, after watching her talk about meditation I felt really inspired to start my own inner journey. I am not a very spiritual person, and I doubt I will be. But I have been doing yoga every day this year (so far) and I have felt the benefits so much. I’ve felt it in my body; my strength, my flexibility and also physically, I can see muscle definition in my stomach and calves. But I have also felt the benefits in my mental state; I’ve learnt to use the power of my breath. I use it when transitioning through poses and in my daily life. If I’m feeling stressed or anxious I try and control that emotion with my breathing. This is why beginning meditation felt like the right decision for me.
I am writing this on my eighth day of consecutive meditation. Today, I felt like I made a real breakthrough. I managed to achieve that stillness. My mind was silent. A gentle hum. I always wanted to do meditation but thought I would never, ever be able to succeed. I have a very busy mind and it felt out of reach for me. But the trick is to understand there is no such thing as ‘success,’ meditation is about finding what works for you.
Below are my tips and tricks on how you can begin to meditate and become mindful in your actions and decisions. If I can do it, anyone can.
- Don’t think of anything. The aim of meditation isn’t to think of nothing. If you set out with the idea to think of nothing you are setting yourself up for a fail. Because it is freaking hard to think of nothing. So how do you meditate without thinking of nothing?
- Counting and Breathing. The first seven days that I meditated I put my phone of a five minute timer, closed my eyes and counted from one to ten, ten to one and kept doing that in sync with my breath. Whenever I realised I had stopped counting/my thoughts had trailed off I reeled myself back in and began counting again.
- Guided Meditation. This is what I began today and I did it with the app HeadSpace. You get a free 10 minute 10 day trial with this app and I would highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I could afford to pay for so I will be keeping an eye out for more free guided meditation. I find guided meditation is great for those with busy minds and believe it to impossible for themselves to meditate. It helps give you something to focus on.
- Start Small. You may have noticed above I said I put my phone on a timer for 5 minutes. On the 5th day I moved it to 6 minutes. Quality over quantity, as the saying goes. It is better to get a solid five minutes of meditation done than 15 minutes of struggling. I would say if you are like me, and have a ‘busy mind’ start at five minutes and increase the time in one minute intervals every five days.
- Everyone Can Meditate. Everyone can meditate. I thought that meditation just wasn’t for me. But I had never really tried, with intention. Just give yourself five minutes. You do have the time for it. If you can spare 4 minutes a day to brush your teeth you can spare five minutes to look after you brain.
- It is actually good for you. Research shows that mindfulness is actually beneficial. It isn’t all spiritual hippie doodah, okay? Anyone can do it. I found this article that lists scientifically proved benefits of meditating, which you should read but to list just a few:
- Decreases depression, anxiety and stress
- Increases immune system
- Improves your ability to control your emotions
- Increases brain grey matter and the areas related to paying attention
- Improves your memory
Those are all my tips and tricks to help you begin your meditation journey. It is so important to live mindfully and I really hope you give meditation a good go.
I wrote this for my younger brother, who said he wanted to start meditation. I hope this helps you, Cameron and also anyone else who feels like they want to begin meditation but doesn’t know where to start. If you have any free guided meditation apps or favourite guided meditations, let me know in the comments what they are. My previous blog post was on oil pulling which you can read here.
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