Meditation. Mindfulness. Me-time. All these terms sound great, right? Most of us could go for a little more R&R in our lives, especially since stress is so harmful to our health. But, when it actually comes to practicing meditation or similar healthy habits, it can be hard to know where to start.
So, here's how to meditate (plus some great reasons why you'll want meditation to become part of your everyday life.)
The Basics of How to Meditate
At its core, meditation is simply the practice of focusing on your breathing. The practice helps clear your mind as you hone in on one simple, essential, and relaxing function. By focusing on your breathing, you also take deeper, fuller breaths and naturally become more in tune with your body.
Since basic meditation is such a simple concept, you can do it anytime, anywhere. All you need to do to learn how to meditate is to practice:
- Sitting or standing somewhere comfortable, keeping your back straight
- Breathing in and out slowly for a couple of minutes while relaxing any tense muscles
- Focusing on your breathing instead of anything else (you can count your breaths!)
You may find your mind wanders or your posture slumps while you meditate. That's okay! Just gently refocus on your breathing and sit up straight again.
Specific Kinds of Meditation
Besides basic meditation, there are many specific practices that experts have developed over the years. Some of the main types of meditation include:
In this kind of meditation, you perform some kind of exercise while focusing on your breathing and posture. Yoga or Tai Chi is popular for this, but you can also practice this while gardening, stretching, and more.
Especially helpful for de-stressing, mindfulness meditation involves acknowledging anything that pops into your head while you focus on breathing. You acknowledge each thought without judging it, helping you find balance in your mind.
When you practice focused meditation, you perform a very simple task like eating or stretching while focusing on relaxing and breathing deeply. This type of meditation can be combined with mindful eating and similar strategies.
Reasons Why Meditation Matters
Once you've practiced meditation, some of the benefits will be obvious to you. For example, you'll probably notice you:
- Feel more relaxed physically
- Are less stressed mentally and emotionally
Besides these two wonderful results of meditation, there are many health benefits you may not notice as quickly. Some of the benefits of meditation include:
- Improved memory and brain power
- Reduced risk of depression and anxiety
- Enhanced immune system
- Less inflammation and pain
- Fewer cravings
- Fighting premature aging
To start experiencing the advantages of meditation, we recommend practicing with the help of an instructor or guidebook. Begin your journey with our FREE 21 Day Yoga Guide.