Blog Wellness

Meditation Tips for Beginners + Sharing My Own Journey: Part II

meditation

If you caught last month’s post, I shared my (re)entry into the world of meditation. To re-cap, meditation is an ever-evolving journey and not something we simply master and move on from. It’s the equivalent of a mind muscle that strengthens upon usage, and the more you use it the greater are the benefits.

Meditation for beginners can be as simple as sitting down with your eyes closed for two minutes by focusing on your breath. Once you have become familiar with this you can increase your minutes. The aim is not in having a thought-less mind but in allowing any thoughts to come and go without your reaction or attention to them.

What I learned

The verdict is that I did manage to meditate almost everyday with the exception of two or three missed days. On these days I avoided allowing myself to become discouraged. As people, we’re simply acting from a human level and not an algorithmic level, I thought to myself. We can’t expect to be operating at an ongoing constant but we can hold ourselves accountable should we become complacent. This alleviated the pressure which ironically enough, gave me the motivation to continue on the next day.

I’ll be honest, I still find meditation to be challenging. I had no issue sitting still for the seven minutes I dedicated myself to, but where I was met with resistance was in not engaging with the thoughts. Each time a mental image would surface it took a certain level of discipline to shoo them away. This was especially true for any ideas that came up – my solution was to keep a notebook beside me and write anything down afterwards that stuck with me. And by following my breath I was brought back to the present moment.

The other thing which I realized has been the greatest barrier in following a meditation plan is actively integrating it into my daily routine. In the beginning I was merely checking off those seven minutes of silence like an item on a to-do list. This completely defeats the point in meditating, I realized, it should be a routine and not a task. The former we feel inclined to do, the latter obligated. After this awakening did the integration of meditating daily become much more seamless.

Wherever you may be in your meditation journey, find out what part of the day your mind is most still and carve out those minutes in your routine to sit, breathe and be in the present without any distractions. For myself, I find the early morning BEFORE GOING ON MY PHONE, the best time to meditate. At this hour we’re still mentally malleable and receptive to any intuitive downloads that may come.

Activations vs. Meditation

During the past month I came across an App called Superhuman where they vouch for activations over meditations. In this app you can choose a time of day or even what mood you’re in and they offer an array of lengths to suit your needs. I came to really enjoy this app as it acted as a sort of guided meditation, if you will. Moreover, they integrated visualizations into the audio, which might sound counterintuitive, but helped ignite a meditative state. The price, however, is steep so depending on what you are looking for this app could fit very well.

Another great facet of this app, is the amount of affirmations that are included in the audio. Affirmations are proven to help support a positive state as they activate the reward processing part of our brains. Moreover, our thoughts create our reality and affirmations are rooted in thinking.

Guided Meditations

If you’re unsure of where to start, guided meditations are a great starting place for beginners. Either via an app or an in-person class, a meditation instructor will, as the name suggests, guide you through your meditation. It can consist of a body scan, breathing exercises or similar to the Superhuman app, with visualizations. I tried out the guided meditations via the Headspace app years ago and found it beneficial. Plus, they have a music playlist that is very fitting for a meditative or any other relaxed setting.

The Takeaway

Going forward, I will continue to keep up with a meditation practice as it is something I wish to improve upon. This time I’m increasing it to 10 minutes a day. Like I said earlier, meditation is like a muscle that strengthens with time. And the benefits of meditating are certainly something I wish to strengthen. Once I got over the initial hurdle of sitting down for seven minutes a day, I began intuitively needing those minutes of silence! It is astounding how quickly a habit can nestle its way into our psyche in less than a month. So choose your habits wisely!

Again, coming across activations I have noticed how helpful it is to have that audio to guide you through and anchor you into the present moment. I aim to incorporate a mix of guided meditations with body scans and breath work. If my mind craves the solitude of complete silence for 10 minutes another day, I’ll honour that as well. At the end of the day, what matters is the intention and consistency in keeping up with a healthy mindset lifestyle.

Tips

• integrate meditation into your daily routine as opposed to checking it off as a task.
• to ground yourself further, have a soft music playlist going – you can listen to mine on Spotify.
• follow your breath by placing one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
• make yourself comfortable – preferably by sitting on a cushion or cross-legged on the sofa.
• try guided mediations or visualization exercises
• allow your thoughts to come and go and to resist engaging with them.
• set a timer with your preferred minutes.
• do a body scan starting from either the top of your head or toes – really feel into each part of your body. Again, avoid thinking simply feel into your body.

If you missed Part I read it here!

Thanks for reading! xo

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