Being more mindful, calm, and relaxed will involve slowing down and spending some quiet time with yourself and this is best done in the form of a classical meditation!
Meditating can be a foreign and somewhat difficult practice, especially for those who are constantly rushed, overthinking, and under pressure, but it’s a great tool to use to become more serene.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of meditation and how you can use it for your own greater good and achieve a state of calmness.
Without further ado, let’s get to it, shall we?
What is Meditation?
In short, meditation refers to a practice that involves a neutral state of mind that does not latch onto any thoughts or emotions, but rather observes them.
It is a technique, originating from India, that is used to enhance self-awareness, mental well-being, calmness, and serenity by reducing overthinking, anxiety, and stress.
Though it may seem complex at first, meditation, at its very essence, is really simple, so let’s have a look at the actionable steps you can take towards achieving a meditative state of mind!
Where do I Start?
To a certain extent, people may have made meditation seem like an esoteric, borderline magical practice.
This leads to the belief that meditation is something hard to do and certainly, it may seem like it is not for everyone.
Luckily, however, anyone can do meditation as it interacts with the brain and its different modes of work and thought patterns.
To make it easier for you, we’ve broken it down into a step-by-step process, so let us have a look!
Step 1: Setting
Before you start meditating it’s important to find a quiet spot where you are able to sit and relax without being disturbed – a closed room, a quiet spot in the garden, or a communal meditation class will be perfect.
Expert meditators like to burn some incense or candles and play relaxing music in the background – ensure that the room temperature isn’t too hot or too cold and that you have a comfortable cushion or chair to sit on.
All of this will allow you to focus less on sensory information and more on your inner world.
Step 2: Timing
Beginners should start meditating for a shorter period of time – set the timer for 5-10 minutes and increase the daily time limitations as you get more accustomed to the practice.
Some people meditate between 30-60 minutes on a daily basis, but this doesn’t mean that you have to do it all at once, you can divide the time between morning and afternoon.
Ultimately, the goal is to lose track of time – Don’t over-fixate on the time spent meditating, but rather the quality of the meditative state.
Step 3: Become Body Aware
Once you’ve comfortably nestled into your meditation spot, it’s time to notice your body – Close your eyes and become fully aware of your physical body while closing your eyes.
During this pre-meditative state, you should make sure that you are feeling comfortable.
You can also bring your awareness to all body parts, starting from the toes and working your way up.
Step 4: Breathing & Heart Focus
Once you’ve made sure you are comfortable and in a calm environment, it is time to get to the core of your meditation – Breath work & heart-focus.
Breathing is one of the key ingredients to a successful meditation session and though it is not mandatory, it is a powerful tool that can easily induce a meditative state.
Breathe in deeply through your nose, for 3-5 seconds, pause briefly and exhale slowly, taking the same time that you took on the inhale.
Focus on this breathing pattern – 3-5 seconds on the inhale and 3-5 seconds on the exhale.
In the beginning, you will consciously breathe like this, but in just a couple of minutes, this breathing tempo will become automatic.
While breathing slowly, focus on your heart and notice how it works – If you come to a meditation from a stressful work day, your heartbeat may be quicker.
Try and release every bit of tension with each exhale and bring about a powerful relaxation signal.
In doing so, you will be able to calm your heart down – Notice how the heart rate drops, the more you continue with your slow breathing pattern.
Throughout your meditation session you should be focusing on your breath and the sensation of air filling your lungs and then leaving the body, as well as your heartbeat.
In a full-on state of meditation, your breath will be slow and deep and your heart will do less, but more powerful beats.
Step 5: Keep Track of a Wandering Mind
Contrary to popular belief, the goal of meditation is not to turn off your entire thought process.
At one point or another, your mind will start wandering, which is why, the goal of a meditation is to just pay attention to this when it happens and CHOOSE not to follow any thoughts and make them into a story.
When you are focusing on your heart and lungs and an intrusive thought comes to mind, try to swipe it away and bring your awareness and focus back to your lungs & heart.
Step 6: End on a Kind Note
Once your time for meditation has run out, end the session in a gentle manner by taking a moment to notice your surroundings – the sounds and the sights.
Be kind to yourself in this moment and notice your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions – even if you are still feeling a bit stressed, you can continue practicing meditation every day until you reach a calmer general state of being.
Even though meditation can be quite tricky in the beginning, it becomes quite simple once you practice it more often – you just have to start somewhere!
Bringing yourself into a calming state is important for a healthy body and mind, meditation is your first step to serenity.
Find a quiet spot, take a seat, close your eyes, and start breathing and remember, with time, meditation will become a STATE which you can maintain throughout the majority of your wake life.