How to Meditate If You Have No Idea Where to Begin
Let’s start by saying this: Meditation, like anything else worthwhile in life, takes practice. In our current age of endless hustle, FOMO, the glorification of “busy-ness” and doomscrolling, even the simple act of sitting still for five minutes can seem impossible, let alone getting our minds to do the same.
But if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, if you have trouble letting go of things (like that *one* time your housemate left a half-eaten protein bowl under their bed), if your memory isn’t what it used to, or you’re having a hard time concentrating – studies have shown the myriad benefits of regular meditation practice, including anxiety reduction, pain relief and memory improvement.
But how to even start meditating?
Taking the first step is always the hardest. We get it, it’s daunting! What even *is* meditation, right? Do you just sit there and “om”? Should there be music involved? Candles? How long do you have to do it? What if you start meal planning in your head halfway through?
If you’re starting from square one, one of the easiest ways to take your first baby steps to being a proper fully-zen-swanlike-yogi is to download a meditation app (Headspace or The Mindfulness App are great options). Then it’s as easy as 1, 2, swipe right. You just choose how long you want to meditate (like seriously – you can start with 1-2 minutes at a time) and a soothing voice walks you through what you’re supposed to do.
The 3 Key Components of a good Meditation
Make sure you’re comfortable. Lying flat or sitting upright. Consciously relax your jaw and keep your spine straight. Keep your gaze soft.
Once you’ve established your posture, focus on your breath. Each breath is different, take notice of the way the breath moves through your body. Try to breathe deeply, take the breath all the way to your stomach and let it out slowly. Feel your heartrate slow as your body does exactly what it’s born to do.
At some point, you’ll probably notice that your attention has drifted away from your breath, something in your environment might have distracted you, or the inevitable life admin will try to rear its ugly head. Meditation isn’t about “not thinking” – you might as well tell your nose not to smell as tell your mind not to think, that’s what it’s there for after all – but it is about just letting your thoughts be. Don’t follow them, don’t let them take over, just note them, let them go and gently return the focus to your body and breathe.
The Most Important Part
But the most important thing to remember is to give yourself a break. You’re not going to magically transform from frazzled 21st Century have-it-all-er to uber-zen yogi master overnight.
At first it might be really f*cking hard. You’ll feel frustrated, your mind will desperately try to drag you back to to-do lists and fretting over yesterday’s faux pas, you’ll get mystery itches and have the overwhelming urge to check your watch, but as with everything in life, practice makes perfect.
And it’s worth it.