The simple guide to start meditating
Author: The Simple Bit
Category: Short Cuts
Meditation can help us in times of high stress (like now), but it can feel a bit daunting to get started. Here are a few simple tips to get you on your way.
- It’s natural to feel stressed, anxious or low at the moment
- ‘Stopping the noise’ through meditation might help
- If you’ve never done it before, here are some tips and resource to help you get started
Between a global health crisis, uncertain economic times and social isolation we’re all in the middle of a Venn diagram of stress, so it’s pretty natural for that to take a mental toll. So what do we do about it?
Well, among other things, mental wellbeing resource Mindspot recommends ‘shutting down the noise’ by listening to music or, yes, meditation. In fact, mindfulness apps like Headspace and Smiling Mind are offering free resources during the pandemic crisis to help people meditate. Musician and woke superstar Lizzo is even offering guided meditations on her IGTV channel, complete with crystals and flutes.
So there’s probably never been a better time to get started on your mindfulness and meditation journey. And yet, even with the freebies and extra time on your hands, it can still feel daunting. But meditation isn’t just for yogis on mountain-tops, it’s something anyone can incorporate into their day. It can even have a banging Lizzo soundtrack. Here are a few simple tips to help you along the way.
Pick your spot:
You don’t need a tent on a mountainside, just find a space in the house where you feel comfortable enough to sit with yourself – a bit of background noise is ok.
Pick your duration:
Start small and work your way up to longer sessions over time. First-timers, shoot for three to five minutes.
Move around a bit:
Find your comfy space – sitting on the floor, lying down, in a chair. If you choose a chair, keep your back straight, your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably in your lap.
Pick your method:
When starting meditation, you may find it easier to practice a guided meditation — this will take the guesswork out of what to do and when to do it. The Department of Health has made some resources free during the Coronavirus lockdown. Or go with Lizzo.
Shut your eyes (probably):
By closing your eyes, you allow your focus to turn inward. If you feel more comfortable keeping your eyes open, try gazing softly at one object. This will still allow you to focus your attention.
Pick your focus:
You might choose your breath as your object of focus – breathe naturally as you rest your attention on your breath, and notice the gentle rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. Or you might focus on your body and slowly move your attention through different parts. Or, you could choose to focus on the sounds around you. Experiment and find a method that works.
Remember, it is completely normal to get distracted, whether by thoughts, emotions, sounds or sensations. Every time you notice you’re distracted, gently bring your attention back to your chosen object of focus – over and over again.
Think (it’s ok):
Contrary to what many people think, meditation is not about stopping thoughts. Instead, it’s about changing our relationship to our thoughts. We become less bothered by them and get better at noticing when we’ve become distracted and bringing our attention back to what we are focusing on. With practice, your thoughts will begin to settle as you meditate. Don’t try to force it to hard.
Above all else though, don’t be hard on yourself. Take your time with it, and once you start to get the hang of it, keep going. It’ll be an awesome skill to have for when you can actually sit cross-legged in a teepee on a mountain-top.
A bit of simple can go a long way right now. Click here for details about how ahm can help you. Let’s try make these difficult times a little simpler together.