The Simplest Way To Start Meditating
And the benefits you can obtain from it
A couple of years ago I started hearing about meditation. People from different sources were mentioning its benefits and the research proving them. I thought I had some issues, and it looked like meditation could help me, so I decided to give it a try.
I hadn’t really read much about it, I didn’t know there were a thousand types of meditation. I was reading Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson, where he suggested a very simple exercise to start doing it. It was so simple that I got started as I was reading it. It was very similar to what I usually do now:
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, shoulders straight but relaxed.
- Breathe only through your nose.
- Focus your attention in the air as it comes in and out of your nose. More specifically, focus on how it feels right on the rim of your nostrils as you breathe in and out.
- When you realize that you’ve been distracted with random thoughts (which you will) get your attention back to the breathing on your nostrils.
That’s it. That’s what people call meditation. I know the word sounds very woo-woo, but that’s what it is.
I would suggest you start progressively so you don’t become overwhelmed the first time. Start with one minute the first time, so it’s almost impossible that you fail, and build up from there.
Meditation does a couple of things for you.
- It teaches your brain to shoot fewer thoughts per minute, and also how to ignore them. This is really useful when you want to concentrate or just relax.
- It helps you learn to be more aware of your own self. I believe this is great because everybody knows that the first step to fixing a problem is being aware of it.
My Own Experience
There are many reported benefits of meditation but I’d like to talk about what I started noticing the most.
The most obvious and immediate one for me was the relaxation I would feel while doing it and the moments afterwards. I would do it right before going to sleep and it would take me from a myriad of thoughts about work, personal issues, etc, to a few or none.
The second benefit began to show up after a few days or weeks, but it’s been the most significant one. When you spend 20 minutes a day watching your thoughts it starts to become automatic, and you start noticing more and more how you are feeling and what you are thinking at every moment through the day.
Before I started meditating, there would be times where it would be very easy for me to snap, yell or get mad, which I hated. I felt like it wasn’t me doing it, like I wasn’t in control of myself.
Remembering the way I was before I can only describe it as being numb, unaware. I would get through the day not being very conscious about myself, my own feelings or thoughts.
I can’t say that I’ve completely changed it but the difference has been very substantial. I am (mostly) in control now. I am much more conscious about the way I feel and think.
These are the top resources that helped me get started with meditation:
- Mindfulness in Plain English: this book does a really good job of explaining what meditation is and what is not. It also provides really practical advice on how to deal with problems and distractions, among others. Really recommended if you want to learn more.
- Headspace: This app is probably the best way to get started with meditation. It’ll help you ease into it and improve every day.
- Tara Brach: she is the diva of guided meditations. I really enjoyed her interview with Tim Ferriss, but you can also check out her most popular meditations on Youtube, as well to suscribe to her podcast.