Meditation 101: Where To Begin And Why
Have you ever tried to meditate, closed your eyes and cleared your mind only to suddenly remember you were supposed to call your friend/put a wash on/make a meal plan/put out a metaphorical fire at work?
Perhaps you’ve never attempted to close your eyes and clear your mind because you feel meditation is not relevant to you, or worse because you simply don’t have the time.
Whichever camp you fall into, mediation is a worthwhile pursuit, and once you’ve mastered it you’ll want to do it again and again, but before we get started, let’s clarify what mediation is and what it is not.
Meditation is a practice dedicated to quieting the mind to achieve a heightened state of focus, awareness, and connection to your higher self.
If that sounds a little too ‘woo’ to you, it can also be a way to simply grab 5 minutes of complete peace and calm in your day.
Meditation isn’t closing your eyes and attempting to muddle through your problems, contemplate life, or reflect on events, and it isn’t linked to any particular religion either. At its core, meditation is simply the process of stilling our busy minds to reach a heightened state of calm and consciousness.
The Magic Of Meditation
Feel like your face is permanently pointed in the direction of your phone, or that your attention is pulled in 50 different directions at once?
In a world constantly connected taking a breather is more important than ever, and meditation has many benefits. Is your mind awash with competing thoughts, problems and to-dos? Then meditation is the way forward. Not only will it give your mind a break from all the noise; it can also improve your clarity and focus which in turn enables you to find solutions and be more productive.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful benefits of meditation is the powerful connection you may feel to your higher self while mediating. Put simply, your higher self is the best version of yourself. We can’t always access this part of ourselves because the constant busyness of the mind can keep it hidden, but the process of meditation allows it to emerge.
When it does, you may notice that you feel overcome with a powerful, awe-inspiring feeling of connection and calm. Don’t be surprised if an intense but comforting feeling of euphoria washes over you while meditating.
If all that isn’t reason enough, meditation can also lessen anxiety, regulate your mood, increase creativity, improve memory retention, boost feelings of happiness, reduce stress, deepen your sense of gratitude, improve the functioning of the brain, aid sleep, strengthen immunity, and improve your attention span.
How To Get Started
Step one: Get comfy
You might feel happier sitting upright in your favourite chair or find you’re at your comfiest when lying flat on your bed. Choose what feels best for you.
It’s also a good idea to find the right space. Ideally, somewhere where you feel calm, collected and clutter-free.
Step two: Start slow
You don’t need to spend a full 60 minutes a day meditating to feel its benefits. It’s best to start slow and build it up as you go along. Aim for just 5 minutes in the beginning and over time you can increase that to whatever feels right to you. It all starts by closing your eyes that very first time and committing to make it a consistent habit.
Step three: And breeeeeathe
This next step is so simple, it hardly even warrants instruction. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Notice your chest rising and falling, and the air flowing in and out of your nose with ease. Just keep your focus on this and nothing else and you’ll slowly slip into a meditative state.
Step four: Let the thoughts pass
Want to know one of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to meditation? It’s getting frustrated when thoughts emerge. Sure, you are meant to clear your mind when you meditate, but during the process of meditation, thoughts will naturally pop into your mind.
The trick is to simply observe them and let them pass. Getting annoyed or disheartened that a thought has distracted you lessens your connection and impedes your success. Occasional thoughts are normal. Just let them float on by.
Step five: And your back in the room
Once your time is up, slowly begin to notice the sensations in your body again – some people like to wiggle their fingers and toes as they come back into full consciousness. Open your eyes, take a moment to fully awaken, and slowly ease yourself into your day.
Step six: choose your style
There are so many different meditation styles to choose from. Lucky for you in our Head Plan 30 Day Meditation Challenge we explore many of these. We feel it is important that you find what works for you. Take the time after each day to jot down one or two lines of reflection on how a particular meditation style made your feel.
And that’s it. You’ve meditated and you’re on your way to making it a habit. Whether you felt as though you connected with a deeper part of yourself or you just feel a lot more peaceful and calm, it’s all good. Be kind to yourself and keep going.
Is it always easy? No, particularly when you’re very stressed or overstimulated. But is it always worth it? Absolutely.
Join our The Head Plan 30 Day Meditation Challenge and download your PDF challenge sheet. We hope you find what works for you and feel the benefits of taking part over the next 30 days.