I find that when I take the time to meditate, I am able to refresh myself and better refocus my thoughts during the day. Meditation can be a great way to relax a little, and release tension from your body — and your life. For some, though, it can be a little daunting to get started. Here are 7 tips that help me keep my meditation practice focused — and help me make it through the day without too much trouble:
1. Don’t Feel You Need a Huge Chunk of Time
One of the reasons that many people get discouraged by meditation is the amount of time they think it has to take. I actually only meditate for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. However, it is also possible to employ a 5 minute meditation routine. Set a timer for 5 minutes (or use an iPhone app, like Healing Music, that will play something soothing and then turn off automatically after a set time), then meditate for that time period. You can work up to longer periods of time as you become more comfortable with the process.
2. Don’t Concentrate on Keeping Thoughts Out
Rather than trying to keep thoughts out (which can make the whole process more stressful), acknowledge your thoughts and then let them go. This works with noises as well. When I meditate, I acknowledge the sound of a car, or the yelling of kids outside. I accept that it’s part of the moment, and then let it go. Trying to block things out is counter-productive.
3. Choose a Comfortable Position
There is no “right” way to sit while meditating. Choose a position that is comfortable for you. There are a number of poses, including an Egyptian pose that includes sitting in a chair. My favorite is actually meditation while lying down. You have to be careful, though, or you might fall asleep. Find a post that works for you, and is most comfortable for you, and meditate using that.
4. Consider Using Meditation Aids
Some people find that using aromatherapy or some kind of meditation music helps them enjoy meditation more. I have small meditation balls that make chiming noises as I use them during my practice. Consider whether meditation aids might help you let go of the turmoil around you and relax a little easier.
5. Use Your Breath as a Focus
Sometimes you can use your breath as a focus. Count while breathing. Breath should be deep and slow. Mantras thought in time with your breath can also help. Sometimes, focusing on your breathing can be very helpful as you meditate, allowing you to gently clear your mind and focus.
6. Make it a Regular Habit
Set aside time each day — whether it’s 5 minutes or 20 minutes — to meditate. As you incorporate meditation in your life, it becomes easier to do, and you will likely feel less stress in general. Many experts recommend that you meditate twice a day. Right now, I only meditate once a day for 10 to 15 minutes, but I’d like to increase to twice a day.
7. Use Guided Meditation if You Need Help
Sometimes, you need help meditating. Guided meditation can be a way to fit in meditation, while providing you with a focus. When I am having trouble quieting my mind, I find that a guided meditation on YouTube can help. You can listen to the cues, and you might find that it helps you.