Have you ever felt so stressed that you don’t know what to do to calm yourself down? Nowadays with our more and more active social and professional lives we barely have time to breathe and think about ourselves. And not doing a thing for 5 minutes might seem like a waste of time. Wrong! It is important to take, MAKE time to recenter and reconnect with our true self in order to be able to deal with all the stress our daily life brings us. Meditation is one of the best ways to do it. Even if it is only 5 minutes of sitting in silence, trust me it is worth it. If you are keen to try this out, here is how to start.
But first of all, what exactly is meditation?
Meditation is a tool used to train your mind to calm down and practice mindfulness throughout your day. It has been used for centuries as a way to develop concentration and positive thinking. There are lots of different types of meditation but to begin let’s focus on the Mindfulness Meditation.
What are the benefit of meditation?
- Reduces stress: We all know stress is bad for our health. It can, throughout time, lead to health issues like anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, problem sleeping, weight gain and even memory loss and difficulty to concentrate.
- Lowers blood pressure: While you meditate, your body uses less oxygen which means that your heart beats more slowly and it then reduces your blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure, you can be at risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, dementia, kidney disease,etc.
- Helps loosing weight: When you are under stress, your body releases some cortisol that can result in an increase of fat around your visceral organs. When you meditate, you body relaxes and reduces its releases in cortisol.
- Improves your skin: Same as for weight management, cortisol is also bad for your skin. It can cause loss of collagen in your skin, which will create wrinkles. When these cortisol levels are low, you have better chances to keep a soft, smooth and glowing skin. Find out how to nourish your skin from the inside out with my post “10 foods for radiant skin“.
- Boosts your immune system: Meditation can improve your body’s production of antibodies and helps your immune system to react faster and more efficiently against aggressions.
- Improves mental health: studies have shown that meditation improves empathy and compassion for others.
How do I start?
It might seem scary at first, but meditation is not as hard as it seems. Follow these few steps to get started!
- Find your meditation space
Finding a quiet place, where you feel comfortable and at ease is important to start your practice. Try to find a spot where you won’t be disturb during this time you are taking for yourself. When I am at home in Panama, I like to sit on the beach early in the morning,when nobody is around yet, and listen to the sound of the waves. But you can do it from anywhere you feel comfortable, on your bed, your porch, your living room, garden, etc. There is really no “right” place to practice meditation. It all depends on your feelings.
- Keep things simple
As I was saying earlier, I recommend you to start with Mindfulness Meditation, which is I think, the “easiest” form of meditation when you are just getting started. Mindfulness meditation is the simple fact of sitting in silence and focusing on your breath. You can complicate things later 😉 To focus on your breath you could for example think “exhale”silently when you exhale and “inhale” when you inhale. You could also count 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale and repeat. This will help you bring mindfulness to your breathing and not so much on other thoughts and worries.
- Start little by little
It isn’t about the amount of time you spend meditating but more about the quality of your meditation. Some people can spend an hour or more meditating but I would advise you to start with 5 minutes and see how it goes. To avoid worrying about the time, set a timer on your phone or watch, so your mind can really focus on what matters.
- Pay attention to your posture
Your posture is important during meditation. It is certainly a time where you intend to relax and feel comfortable but let’s not get too comfortable. You can sit anywhere you want, on a chair, bed, couch or even on the floor, the one thing to keep in mind is to maintain a good posture. Think about your head being pulled up by a string towards the sky and your spine being elongated, keep your chin parallel to the floor and your shoulders down and relaxed away from your ears. You can obtain that by inhaling your shoulders up and exhaling them down.
- Just breathe
As said before, your breath is your focus during meditation. Of course you won’t be able to stop other thoughts to come to your mind. But just let them come and go, let them pass without paying more attention to them and go b
ck to focusing on your breathing.
- Make your practice a habit
Meditation is useful at anytime but the more regularly you practice meditation, the more benefits you will get out of it. Make a commitment to it, like going to the gym, or to an appointment. It doesn’t have to be long, as I said previously, even 5 minutes is enough to practice meditation. I usually try to meditate first thing in the morning when I just woke up. It helps me start my day in a positive way and feel grateful for what’s coming next. But once again, like the place, the timing is really up to you and what works with your schedule.
If you have a hard time concentrating on your breath by yourself, try these guided meditation videos by Rebekah Borucki on her Bex Life youtube channel. She has great tutorials for all levels and I think it is a great way to help you get started with meditation.
One thing I also like doing to practice mindfulness is colouring in mindfulness colouring books. You have seen them everywhere in these past few years and I feel really relax and mindful when I spend some time colouring in these books.
I hope this guide will be helpful if you try to start a meditation practice. Over to you now. What do you think about meditation? Do you already practice meditation? Are you a beginner? What kind of meditation do you practice?