Learning to Meditate: Tips for the Beginner

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Meditation has become mainstream due to its incredibly powerful effects on our minds, bodies, and spirits. It’s often touted as simple. After all, meditation is all about stilling the mind, sitting in one place, and basically “doing nothing.” How hard could it be? The truth is because our minds are so active, often bouncing from one subject to another all day, it’s very difficult to quiet the chatter in our heads and simply sit. While our brains need to rest and reset, our egos are naturally very resistant to quietly observing our thoughts instead of taking action, thinking about the future, or dwelling on the past. Here are a few tips for the beginner meditator to keep in mind while attempting to still the mind and be here now.

Know Why You’re Doing It

When you have a sense of why you’re engaging in an activity, you’re more likely to complete it and be excited about it. While there are countless benefits to meditation, figure out why you specifically want to learn to meditate. Once you get clear on your own goals and reasons, you’ll have a more solid foundation and self-awareness as you embark on this practice.

Start Small

Start with small increments of 3-5 minutes. Even this small amount of time will start to train your mind and help you form a meditation habit. If you try to start with 15 or 20 minutes right out of the gate, you’ll likely get frustrated. Focus on staying present for 3 minutes and take it from there.

Don’t Judge Yourself

Be kind to yourself and practice compassion. If you skip a day or you’re having trouble quieting your mind, don’t be hard on yourself. Meditation is all about a non-judgmental observation of your own thoughts and surroundings. You can practice this principle even when you’re not meditating by observing your thoughts and letting them pass by without judging them.

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