What if I told you that in just 10 to 20 minutes per day, you could improve immune function and memory, increase focu...
What if I told you that in just 10 to 20 minutes per day, you could improve immune function and memory, increase focus, and even physically change the structure of the brain? You’d think I was crazy.
But these are just a few of the proven benefits of an ancient practice that is experiencing a major resurgence: meditation.
There’s just one problem: many people give meditation a try and find the experience uneventful at best and terrifying, frustrating or anxiety-producing at worst.
Where do you start if you have no idea how to meditate, or have tried but feel like you just can’t do it?
1. Sit comfortably: You don’t need a special cushion or to sit crossed legged. In fact, the most important thing is to sit in a comfortable, upright position so you aren’t distracted by any pain or discomfort in your body. If you sit on the floor, sit on a cushion that provides enough height for your legs to be slightly lower than your hips. This will allow you keep your back straight. You can also sit on the front edge of a chair with your feet resting on the ground, or you can sit cross legged on the couch with your back against the backrest.
2. Observe what goes on: Meditation is not about feeling peaceful or experiencing a special moment. It’s about being present and simply noticing what thoughts are going through your mind, and what sensations are going through your body.
3. Accept the experience without judging it: You might experience sadness, anger, frustration when you meditate; you will almost certainly experience a near constant stream of inane thoughts. Try and accept the experience without judging it. If you have a negative thought or intense emotion, watch it drift by like a cloud in the sky. Notice and say, “Hmm, that was quite a negative thought. I wonder where it came from?” and then let it go.
4. Take a bath: Einstein has famously said he had some of his biggest breakthroughs in the bathtub. When you are in a relaxed state of mind, your brain will most likely give you some of your most connected, creative and possibly genius ideas. Focus on the warm water, clear your mind and simply relax. Some people like to chant in the bathtub or even say a prayer! Do whatever works to help you unwind.
5. Listen to a guided meditation: Guided meditations were the first way most people learn to meditate. They literally walk you through a process. It’s best to try a few methods (and voices frankly). But you’ll soon discover yourself immersed in a meditation process and won’t even notice it when 20 or 30 minutes go by.