How to Meditate: For Beginners
It’s not just for hippies.
Meditating isn’t just for hippies and crunchy, granola eating, hikers who live off the grid.
No, really, I’m serious.
I used to stereotype meditating like this: sit cross-legged on a pillow on the floor, put a statue of Buddha in front of you, close your eyes and drift off into an alternative reality. And, only weird people would actually do that — not me.
Then, someone told me in order to get my anxiety and constant state of worrying under control that I really needed to try meditation.
What?! Ok, well, I was desperate and willing to try anything.
First, I read the book “Journey of Awakening” by Ram Dass. This is a great book for anyone who feels uncomfortable or unsure about meditation. It is a practical guide that teaches various forms of meditation. So, you can experiment and decide which method is best for you.
Meditate to Master Your Mind
It turns out that meditating is actually quite simple; not at all what I had stereotyped it to be. It’s really just a way to get your mind under control.
I take at least 5 minutes a day to sit down and listen to my breathing. If my mind wanders off (which it always does), I just gently bring it back to my breathing. Meditating is really that easy.
Robin Sharma (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari) pinned the eye-opening phrase “The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.” The mind loves to go off on crazy tangents taking you up and down the emotional roller coaster of life when you yourself have actually never even gone there.
Meditating is a way of taming your mind.
Practicing meditation to lower stress
This practice of focusing on your breathing creates a kind of “muscle memory”, so that when you find yourself freaking out because you have 20 people coming over for a birthday party and what if your house isn’t perfect, what if someone doesn’t like the food, what if I get sick and I have to cancel everything, what if…. Well, you get the point.
When that happens, you can just take a minute and reel your mind back into reality. And, when you’ve practiced meditation for a while, this becomes easier and easier to do. Because the truth is that you can meditate anytime, anywhere.
I also find focused breathing very helpful at night. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night and then had trouble shutting your mind off, try meditation. It helps me fall back to sleep most of the time.
Meditating in the morning is another great time to practice. Starting off my morning with just 5 minutes of meditation puts my mindset in a better place.
And, the final way that I have been incorporating meditation into my daily life is by practicing Yoga. Many of the postures and poses in Yoga require intense concentration and awareness. Despite another stereotype that I used to have, Yoga is a great workout in addition to being another way to calm the mind using a form of active meditation.
There are also many free apps out there that offer guided meditation which can be very helpful for beginners.
So, now you are ready to try meditation. Pick a method that works for you and let me know how it goes!
PS — Check out this Breathing Exercise Video Tutorial if you want a little further guidance.
Bridgette is Founder and CEO of Mommy Needs a Timeout. She empowers moms to reconnect with their identities OUTSIDE of being a mom, without the guilt.
Originally published at www.bridgettepetrino.com on April 18, 2016.