How to Start Meditating Daily (For Beginners!)
So, you want to meditate. That’s a good thing, and you’ve come to the right place!
By now, you’ve probably seen countless posts on Pinterest and Instagram telling you all the benefits of meditation: reduced stressed and anxiety, better sleep, longer attention span, higher sense of self, and increased optimism and positivity. In theory, it’s a simple, painless addition to your daily routine that will change your life. Why wouldn’t you want to start meditating?
In reality, it’s not that simple. But it doesn’t have to be an impossible task, either.
If you’re anything like me, the first time you sat down to meditate, you had great intentions. You got into your comfortable position, rested your hands on your knees, closed your eyes, took a deep breath, and BAM. Your mind starts racing. There’s a to do list, the things you forgot to put on the to do list, dishes to wash, laundry to fold, dogs barking, and it all needs to be taken care of right now. In the midst of the chaos, you've completely lost focus on your breath, or the calm voice leading you through a guided meditation.
Maybe you try it again, or maybe you gave up after the first try, because “you’re not good at meditation.” Guess what? Nobody is “good” at meditating the first time around! But never fear. With a consistent, intentional practice, you’ll not only learn how to meditate, but how to make it part of your daily self-care routine.
1. Find a quiet place. Meditation isn’t easy; meditating in the middle of television shows, loud conversations, and all the ongoings of daily life is nearly impossible, at least for me. In order to start a meditation practice, it’s best to find a comfortable, quiet place where you can spend a few minutes a day alone, breathing deeply and slowing down.
You can make your meditation space as simple or as elaborate as you want, adding pillows, blankets, candles, essential oils…the list goes on and on! I like to keep things simple, with this Gaiam meditation pillow and my favorite DoTerra roll-on blend.
2. Make it regular. For me, doing yoga and meditating as soon as I get out of bed in the morning is the best way to ensure I get in my daily practice. Otherwise, I come up with a million reasons why I need to do a million other things.
Start at the most basic level: set your alarm five or ten minutes earlier than normal, find a comfortable seated position in bed, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath, trying to make the inhales and exhales of equal lengths. You can even count each inhale and exhale, aiming for a five or six second breath.
3. Set a timer. Setting a timer has a miraculous effect on my meditation. Instead of sitting there thinking, “When will this be over?”, I just breathe. My thoughts slow down, my brain focuses, and everything centers. Whether it’s five or ten minutes, or a whole half-hour meditation, setting a timer takes the stress off of the practice and allows you to reap the benefits of meditation.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Your thoughts will wander, especially in the beginning. Every time you notice them start to drift away from the breath, gently nudge them back. Using breathing exercises, like triangular breathing, or alternative-nostril breathing, has always been a huge help to me. If you’re not familiar with breathing exercises and their incredible benefits (especially for stress and anxiety relief), stay tuned! I’ll share my three favorite breathing exercises for anxiety in a post later this week.
What’s your secret to starting a meditation practice? When did you start meditation? Let me know in the comments below!