Thinking about picking up meditation to improve your mental health and personal well being? These ten steps will get you to Zen in no time.
1. Choose a peaceful environment
Try not to pick a place that is too distracting – an empty room works well, or a nice tranquil outdoorsy spot. You will want to switch off or silence all devices that could bother you, like a television or your mobile phones. If you don’t have complete control over the noises around you, consider investing in a pair of cheap isolating earplugs.
2. Don’t dress to impress
Remember, this is for yourself, and you don’t need to be seen by anyone while you’re meditating. Throw on some comfortable clothes – a hoodie, sweatpants, your old pajamas, and get in the zone. Loose clothes help you block out external distractions – something too tight could impede your focus.
3. Plan the length of your meditation
We recommend starting with just 5 minutes a day to help you form the habit, before trying for longer periods. It’s not always easy for you to get into a peaceful mindset, and you want to avoid associating restlessness with your meditation. Set a gentle alarm on your phone to remind you of when time is up.
4. Stretch, stretch, stretch.
Meditation involves being in a fixed position for what could be a lengthy amount of time. You will want to stretch before you start to get rid of any tightness in your body. It will stop you from focusing on those pressure points while you’re trying to meditate.
5. Find your position
Different people find different sitting positions comfortable. For some, sitting in the lotus style works best, but you may find that you prefer sitting in a chair. As long as you’re poised, and not feeling any tension, it should be fine.
6. Close your eyes
At least at the beginning, you should close your eyes to stop being distracted by your surroundings.
7. Clear your mind
The Cheat Sheet
Try to focus on a single thing at most inside your mind. Once you get more comfortable with your meditation, you can try to clear your mind completely. If you’re able to meditate with your eyes open, try focusing on an single object – something like a candle might work.
Breathing meditation is usually the easiest for beginners to start off with. Be aware of the rising and falling of your abdomen as you focus on taking your breaths. Try using mental analogies to guide yourself – a buoy rising and falling with the motion of your stomach as you breathe in and out, for example. If you lose focus, don’t worry too much about it. Just try to get back on track.
9. Body scans
The Chopra Centre
Focus on each part of your body individually and consciously relax it – this may reveal certain things that you need to fix with your body. But after completing your body scan, you should feel a profound sense of calmness and serenity.
10. Form a habit
Try to practice meditating at the same time every single day – your body will grow accustomed to this behaviour, and not put up additional resistances once you’ve made it a habit.