When you examine the benefits ofand attention, the list reads almost too well to be true. Researchers say it can help improve anxiety, depression, pain and relief among other benefits.
But when it comes to actually starting to meditate, it can feel downright scary. For some, the thought of sitting in silence for an extended period of time feels overwhelming. For others, they would love to sit in silence for a period of time, but children, pets or other obligations seem to prevent them from finding the time.
Whether you are curious about meditation or a long-term meditator who wants to return to training, the tips below can help you start or restart meditation. Ashley Wray, meditation teacher and founder of Mala Meditation, shares her top tips for beginners.
Myths about meditation
One of the most difficult things about meditating is simply starting over. There is a lot of information about meditation out there, and much of the information says that there is a right and wrong way to do it.
But according to Wray, these types of preconceived notions actually prevent most people from starting or keeping a practice because they are too intimidating. Below she removes common myths that can hold you back on your meditation journey.
Myth 1: There is a “right” way to meditate
With all the meditation courses, apps and books out there, you probably think there is a “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. There are many different styles and philosophies around mindfulness and meditation, the best one for you is the one you actually want to do.
“Try not to get caught up in the form – if you do it right or wrong … and just do it. Build the habit first instead of worrying about whether you are sitting right or doing it right,” Wray says.
Myth 2: You must not think
One of the most common misconceptions about meditation is that if you allow yourself to think while meditating, you will fail. But Wray says that is simply not the point.
It is normal for your mind to wander while you meditate, but the important thing is that you notice it and do not let it track you. “Even if it’s uncomfortable, just look at your thoughts and get back to your focus. And when your mind wanders, you can choose to judge yourself or come back with kindness,” says Wray.
Myth 3: You must meditate for 30 minutes or longer
Another common myth about meditation is that you have to do it for a certain amount of time for it to “work”. Some people talk about meditating for 30 or 45 minutes or even for hours – which is super scary when you have never even meditated for 5 minutes.
“Thinking that you need to clear your mind for 20 minutes or 30 minutes is a really scary approach to meditation. So I try to make it a little more accessible with the idea that it might be 10 minutes or 8 minutes to connect to the spirit and slow down. and find some space between your thoughts, says Wray.
Beginner tips for meditation
Wray often teaches new meditators and says that most people do not even begin to meditate because they “have an all or no approach.”
Again, there is no right way to meditate. Try the tips from Wray below to help you with your new meditation exercise.
Have something to focus on
When you first start meditating, it can feel really uncomfortable to sit in silence without distractions, like your phone, around. A minute can feel like hours.
For this reason, Wray suggests using a tool to help you focus on your meditation, especially when your mind is wandering. She suggests mala beads – bean beads that some use to meditate – for beginners because it gives you something tactile to focus on.
The Mala pearls have helped me not to look at my phone so much [and ignore other distractions.] It is just a light point of contact that is good for beginners to help with both energy and attention and timing, she says.
Use and app or guided meditation if you want
Usingor guided meditation video can be helpful when you first start. Although these tools are not necessary, they can give you an idea of how different meditation styles are or help you provide some structure around how you meditate.
Many of the apps offer meditation challenges, which can be helpful for habit. Popular apps include Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer.
Do not hit yourself if you get distracted or can not be consistent
Meditation is not about being perfect, it is about appearing and trying, no matter what it looks like for you. “Be light on yourself and be kind to yourself. It really is not all or nothing. If you miss a few days, it’s good. I have days where I feel I do not want to do it, and I have other days there. it’s the most groundbreaking, says Wray.
Link meditation to a ritual you already do
We all haveand rituals that are ingrained in our days. Whether it’s making coffee or making your bed, linking your meditation to a routine you already have can make it easier to remember and more likely that you actually do. For example, you can meditate while your coffee is brewing. It can mean as soon as it starts, you sit down to meditate, even if it is only for 5 minutes.
Enter a space in your home for meditation
Creating a physical space in your home for meditation, even if it’s just the corner next to your bed, can help you make it more likely that you will actually take the time to do so. Seeing a special meditation pillow or pillow that you like can be a simple reminder to meditate. You can add personal details like a candle or something relaxing that makes the place a restful place you look forward to going to every day.
The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health problem.