Meditation sounds complicated, but it’s just
about taking time to quiet down.
Do you want to start doing meditation, but does the idea freak you out a bit?
Here are some ways to get started today:
- Set a timer, keep it short and sweet. 5 minutes each day is all you need to get the full benefits of meditation. Even 1 minute when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed can help heaps.
- Set the mood. Find a place in your house where you’re comfortable and won’t be disturbed. On your bed or sitting on a pillow in a wee corner of your room are great spots. You can even light a scented candle or have a nice, low light to help set the mood.
- Start with your breath. Sit upright in a comfortable sitting position. Close your eyes and start with just making your inhale and exhale the same length. Focus on your breathing, don’t worry about your thoughts – just slowly go back to your breath once you notice your mind has gotten busy.
Try this 1 minute
- Sit upright in any comfortable sitting position.
- Set your phone timer for 1 minute.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe in for 5 seconds
- Hold your breath for 5 seconds
- Release for 5 seconds
- Hold for 5 seconds
- Practice this breath pattern for one minute a day.
Try this 5 minute
body scan meditation
- Sit upright in any comfortable sitting position. Set your phone timer for 5 minutes.
- Close your eyes.
- Start by making your inhale and exhale the same length. Do this for 5 breaths.
- Turn your attention to your body. Start noticing how your head feels. Is it cold? Hot? Is there some tingling, or is there a light breeze you can feel? Just notice any sensation.
- Scan your body slowly from head, to toe. Notice which body part is tense, or relaxed.
- Feel how your feet are touching the ground, or how the weight of your body feels on the ground.
- When you’re finished, bring your attention back to your breath, until the timer is up.
- It’s not about stopping your thoughts – it’s about noticing what’s there. Stopping your thoughts is not the point of meditation. Meditation is about learning to just notice your thoughts, without going where they’re going. It’s like being on a train platform – you either ride that train of thought and go where it’s going, or you stay on the platform and just watch the train go.
- Don’t worry that you’re doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way of doing meditation, just pat yourself on the back for doing it.
- Use a meditation app. We like Buddhify and Headspace
- Reduce stress and anxiety. 163 different studies have shown a regular meditation practice has an overall positive effect in reducing stress and anxiety – even for people with clinical anxiety.
- Improved relationships. With a regular meditation practice you become more comfortable with yourself, which makes it easier to be in relationship with others.
- Helps with focus and self-control. Neuroscientists have found that after 11 hours of meditation, people changed the structure of their brain that controls focus and self-control. This means people who meditate can stay on task far longer than others who don’t. This helps with study, or if you’re trying to control sugar cravings!
- Creativity. Research shows meditation promotes a type of thinking that helps you generate more ideas.
- Reduce insomnia and improve sleep. Studies show a regular meditation practice can help improve sleep and reduce insomnia by making your body switch from its normal stress response, to getting used to the relaxation response.