Mindfulness is a powerful practice that can help you stay present and connected to the world around you. One way to practice mindfulness is by meditating. There are many different forms, but I enjoy focused meditation. You can cultivate self-awareness, reduce stress and anxiety, improve your focus, and gain a greater sense of happiness simply through meditation.
Meditation at its core is about observation, letting go, and enjoying the moment rather than focusing on the past or thinking too far into the future. With focused meditation, our goal is relax, focus on the present moment, and if distractions arise, we return to our breath. Here’s a simple approach to getting started for beginners.
What is focused meditation?
There are 16 different types of mediation according to Headspace, but today we’ll be looking at focused meditation. This form of meditation is simple, easy to follow, great for beginners, and perfect for those who live a busy lifestyle.
Focused meditation doesn’t require anything other than sitting or laying down and focusing on your breath. Anytime unwanted thoughts arise, you redirect your focus back to your breath and repeat the process.
6 Simple Meditation Tips for Beginners
1) Start Slow Meditation encourages present-moment awareness and as a beginner, it’s important to start slow. It can be difficult to sit still for minutes on end just focusing on your breath, so I recommend meditating for 1-2 minutes daily. Once you’re able to get used to sitting still, that’s when you can start trying 5, 10, and even 30-minute intervals.
2) Location Find a comfortable space where you can meditate for a few minutes away from distractions. You can sit on the floor, on a chair, or even lay down in your bed. Once you’ve been practicing for a while, you’ll find that you can meditate just about anywhere. Such as focusing on your breath at your desk, during lunch, or anytime you have a moment to yourself.
3) Breathing As you close your eyes, begin focusing on your breath. There are many breathing techniques to choose from, but I personally like box breathing, also known as square breathing. Box breathing is when you inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, and hold again before repeating the same steps. This technique calms your nervous system and decreases stress in the body.
Tip! Use essential oils to enhance your meditation experience. You can apply your favorite oils to the palms of your hands and take a deep inhale, or add a few drops into a diffuser. The smell of your essential oil can act as an anchor. Whenever you feel your mind wandering, the smell can help ground you back to the present moment. I personally love peppermint and lavender.
4) Observing As you begin meditating, you’ll notice that your mind will start to drift. Random thoughts will come and go, and as they do, gently redirect your attention back to your breath. These thoughts can be distracting, but instead of reacting or judging your thoughts, practice observing them. You can envision a clear blue sky, and as these thoughts enter, you can imagine them as clouds floating by. Just observe, focus on your breath, and let them pass.
5) Patience We’re used to thinking about a million things at once, so quieting your mind during meditation, especially as a beginner, can be a challenge. It’s important to approach meditation from a non-judgemental standpoint and understand that each session will be unique. If you’re having a difficult time quieting your thoughts, remain patient, and try again tomorrow.
6) Consistency Consistency is the key to success. Quieting your mind and focusing on the present moment can be difficult at first, but the more you practice this skill, the easier it’ll become. Developing healthy habits take time, and by practicing for a few minutes each day, you’re already 1% better than you were yesterday.
Mindfulness is a journey, not a destination. Everything requires patience and practice. As long as you show up for yourself daily, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits that meditation has to offer. Through meditation, we can learn to let go of attachments, become more present, and find more peace and joy in our daily lives. What’s your favorite type of meditation? Do you have any tips for beginners? I’d love to hear your suggestions. For more posts relating to wellness, visit my tag here.