We've recently championed the benefits of meditation in Is Meditation a Transformation Fodder for Stress, and if you're like us, well, easier said than done, right? Stress sucks, and life throws it at us from every angle... it seems. And meditation's benefits are vast - from stress relief to peace of mind, to clarity, health and beyond, way way beyond. It's a no brainer that we should all be carving space into our days to turn in and slow down. But meditation can be downright intimidating. Here are some steps to make the initial plunge a little less frigid.
1. Start slow, and pick a time. Schedule your meditation into your day as you would exercise (think; mental exercise). Fifteen minutes of meditation when you wake up is an excellent way to start a day, and start your practice. Plus, you can literally roll out of bed and into your meditation before your mind has had a chance to start rolling. Generally, you may want to err on the side of an earlier time, for nighttime could send you into an early slumber.
2. Sit on something. For many of us, sitting is in-and-of-itself uncomfortable. Invest in a meditation pillow or designate your favorite blanket or pillow as a cushion for your bum. Sit crossed legged with just your hips elevated on the blanket, pillow or cushion. If sitting is excruciating, you may consider adding a little yoga into your life to prepare your body for sitting in meditation. It could also prepare your mind.
3. Create a sacred space. We're not saying you need a spare meditation room, but let a corner or spot in your home be the special place you've chosen and cultivated to meditate in - your oasis.
4. Choose a mantra. Don't think you're going to be able to sit down and clear your mind without a lot of committment and work. No one ever said it was going to be easy. Picking a mantra - whether it be a sound, word or phrase that resonates with you - to focus on will help you, focus.
5. Be patient and don't judge yourself. Don't try to stop thinking, for that effort begets thinking. Instead, sit on your cushion, focus on your breath and on your mantra. When a thought arises, notice it, and gently bring yourself back to your mantra or breath. Judging yourself will just send you into a tailspin. Instead, acknowledge that thinking is natural, but that you don't have to attach yourself to and give charge to every thought that arises.
6. Get a meditation app. Yup, there's an app for that. In fact, there are many. Search the meditation apps and let yourself be guided from the intelligence of your smart phone. It takes some of the thinking out of it, which is just what we want.
See related on MNN.com: “How to Meditate”