No! Meditation doesn’t have to be like this! (I would rather keep my eyes open when the view is this awesome!)
Before diving into any information, let’s start with a simple activity.
It will only take a few minutes. I promise.
- Sit at a quiet place
- Set your timer for 3 minutes
- Close your eyes and try to not think of anything until the alarm rings
Ready, set, go!
Hello again! How does it feel? Did you notice that your mind is always trying to think of something? Did you feel like your mind is talking to you and you constantly wanted it to shut up? Well, it just feels — weird, right?
Those questions I raised above were the ones that I encountered when I first trying out meditation. It was in a library and I tried it for 3 minutes. That was the point I realized how our minds are used to “thinking of things ALL THE TIME”. Our mind is not familiar with being stopped for a while.
I know lots of people would say that meditation is good for you, but don’t you feel like it is just a waste of time? I wouldn’t say that I love meditation after trying it out for the first time, but I still do it anyway. In this simple meditation guide for the beginners who want to give it a try, I will explain why and why you should try to include it in your daily routines too.
Different Types of Meditation
There are so many types of meditation out there, including those involving yoga or qigong (a type of Chinese system of balancing your physical posture and breathe ). It’s not just closing your eyes and do nothing. However, those types will be way to distracted if you’re just a beginner. So here, I conclude 3 simplest types for you to practice:
This is the type that you close your eyes and you put your focus on your breathing. In and out. Without thinking of anything else. (This is my favorite one! Because it’s so easy)
Mantra is a word in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, meaning a statement or quote repeating frequently. With this practice, you replace the focus on a word or a phrase, such as peaceful, I can do it, or whatever you want.
Keep thinking of an image in your mind, and again, whatever you want to choose. It could be an image of your happy place, your dog or just a piece of white blank picture.
Simply put, just to have something to focus on instead of coming up with new thoughts. And your main challenge is to stay on the thing you choose to focus.
What’s So Good About It?
I’m sure you have heard others talked about how great meditation is, but you just don’t believe in them. I was like you too, and here are the benefits that I experienced after I started this habit.
Enhance Your Mindfulness
This point has been researched by lots of people before. During your practice of meditation, you must have experienced the accidents of losing focus (yes, several times). The point is to realize that you lose the focus. And that is the trick of how to become more mindful, you are aware of your thoughts instead of being mind-wandering.
There are tons of people searching for “meditation for weight loss”. This can be done through being “mindful eating”.
Lengthen Your Attention Duration
Even if you’re just a novice on this, short meditation can help you improve your attention. As people said, “Practice makes perfect”. The longer you practice meditating, the better you will become on focusing. Just as weight lifting, the more you train, the heavier weights you can hold onto.
Improve Mental Health
These bad feelings including depression, anxiety, stress, and etc. As research shows, those who practice meditation in long-term tend to be more positive.
Better Sleep and Health
Do you have a moment when you are so tired and you want to sleep, but as you close your eyes, there are tons of thoughts popping up in your mind? By meditating, your mind can get rid of those random thoughts more easily. It will help you get into sleeping mode quickly too.
Also, your bad sleeping habits may result in the massive stress accumulated from your daily life. From the last benefits of reducing your stress, it will lead you to fixing your insomnia, as well as lowering down your blood pressure.
This is probably one of the best advantages that comes from doing meditation, especially for our generation who have the problem of addiction in social medias.
About a month ago, I finished reading Cal Newport’s book — Digital Minimalism (which is an awesome book that I recommend for everyone). And I removed Instagram from my phone. In the beginning, it felt hard to fight for the impulse of downloading it back, but once I started meditation, the impulse reduced because I become aware of things; and aware of how much time I spent on social media (again! Be more mindful!)
Why You May Fail: Difficulties
Meditation is not as easy as you think it may be. It sounds easy, but there are still some difficulties. Here are the difficulties I and those around me who do meditation have experienced.
I Don’t Have Time to Do It…
As Debbie Millman once said in one episode of Tim Ferriss’s podcast
busy is a choice.
Or I also heard of a joke before: Time is like boobs, you will have it when you try to squeeze it out :)) You find the time for what you care about. Also, you do not need a long time to do meditation, it normally only takes 3-10 minutes for beginners to start (Of course it can be longer if you want).
Personally, I meditate right after I wake up. What I do: wake up > turn off my alarm clock > drink half a bottle of water > meditate for 5 minutes. (Drinking water can help you and your organs to wake up btw!)
However, is there a best time in a day for meditation? The answer is NOPE. It is one of the good things about meditation — you can do it anytime, anywhere. BUT! There surely is a time that you shouldn’t do it, which will be before sleeping. If you do it before bed, your body and mind will be trained to mis-recognize meditation as a sign of sleeping. If one day you suddenly want to meditate on the bus, for example, your mind would think that you’re going into the sleeping mode.
I Will Fall Asleep
This could be the biggest obstacle that most beginners encountered, since our mind feel strange of not thinking of anything, it takes it as a signal of relaxation. So the easiest way to fix it is just sit with your back straight (I know it sounds like a stupid advice that makes you want to say: Thanks, Sherlock.); don’t let yourself be in the position which is too comfortable that you can fall asleep. Once your mind is used to doing meditation, this problem will appear less and less.
Too Many Distractions
Try to find a spot or time that no one can disturb you. If you have no choice but meditating in a place or time full of distractions, try to create a personal zone that separate you from the rest of the world. For example, turn off your notification or play some music without lyrics in your earphones (so you cannot sing along). Just a few minutes. The meditation playlist on Spotify will be a good source of music for meditation.
Doing meditation as a starter should not make you feel stressed or uncomfortable, that would be the opposite of what meditation could provide you. If you do feel that way, try to shorten the length of your meditation time. And try to think of it as a little game you play every day.
If the problem is still existing, check out apps like Headspace or InsightTimer (this one is free) for help. You know, if you can’t do it by yourself, look for others to help!
Also, The point of meditation is not about how long it takes. Here is an important point for beginners to takeaway: Frequency is more crucial than the span, so make it into a habit. Try to do it for 3 minutes, but make it an everyday practice. It may not be the solution to all of your problems, but it could help you deal with some of it.
So next time, when you have a few minutes, don’t turn on your Instagram. Instead, be mindful about that impulse and start doing meditation as an alternative of the Instagram urge. Try it and let me know what changes you discover and what difficulties you have