Meditation, mindfulness, and self-care are three of the most important topics that we don’t talk about nearly enough, especially with all of the craziness of what’s going on in the world today. I always knew the importance of meditation and how it could change your life, but as someone with anxiety, I’ve always had such a hard time turning off my brain for just a few minutes to chill out, zone out, and concentrate on nothing but my breath.
I’m here to tell you that meditation is possible and NECESSARY, even — and especially!— when you’re anxious, overloaded with work, or simply in need of a mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical break.
If you’ve never tried to meditate before or you don’t really understand what the big deal is all about, allow me to shine some light on the topic according to what I know and have experienced for myself.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of meditating, how you can get started, meditation tips, and more:
Benefits Of Meditation
Before we dive into how to meditate, I want to focus a little bit on why you should meditate. There are tons of really awesome reasons to start meditating. Here are just a few of the mental, emotional, and physical benefits:
You’ll feel happier, optimistic, and more at peace.
It’s crazy how much better you’ll feel once you continually set the time aside to focus on your wellbeing. You’ll gain a more positive outlook and start to see the brighter side of things more often than the negative. Meditation has a funny way of teaching you to stop looking for healing in the outside world, other people, and external factors. Happiness and peace are already within yourself — you just have to take the time to find them.
It helps to clear your mind and relieve stress.
Have you been stressed lately? Would you like to put all of those stressors on the back-burner and find some peace and relaxation for a little while? Me too! You’ll find it becomes easier to stay calm and throw irrelevant stress to the sidelines when you begin to regularly practice meditation. It’ll stop those feelings of stress from overwhelming you and enable you to cope with it in a much healthier way.
You’ll avoid burning out.
When you’ve been working way too hard at the office or you’re bombarded with responsibilities outside of it, it’s easy to push yourself a little too far to the point that you eventually experience a burnout. To avoid burning out and losing your mind, meditation can help to regain your sanity, keep your cool, and keep you going at a steady pace, even when the world feels like it’s spinning at 500 mph.
It will spark your creativity.
When you clear and open your mind, you will ultimately gain new perspectives and discover new ways of looking at the world. This is huge for lifting that block and increasing your level of personal creativity. After meditating, I feel so clear-minded that I can write and create again… which is an AMAZING feeling when I struggle with writer’s block. The same will happen for you too, no matter if you enjoy playing the guitar, songwriting, or playing sports.
Basic Steps On How To Meditate
There are so many different ways to meditate. Whether you’re hanging out on a bench by the water, laying in your bed, or sitting on your couch, all you need is a few minutes and a willingness to commit to the meditation process.
Find a comfortable place.
First things first, you should find a place where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and undistracted. It can be anywhere at all — your living room, at the beach, or on top of a mountain. Some people prefer to meditate outside whereas others enjoy the peace of their own home. To each their own. Find where and what works for you.
Clear your mind by focusing on your breath.
The next step involves clearing your mind, which can actually be pretty challenging if you have a hard time turning off your brain and just relaxing like me. The goal is to quiet your mind and banish all thoughts (or at least acknowledge and then let them go) to achieve as calm of a mind as possible. To do this, it is best recommended to concentrate on your breath. Focus on the feeling of your breath as you inhale and exhale — feel your stomach and chest elevate and deflate as you breathe in and out. Continue to do so until you achieve that level of clear-mindedness, then keep going.
When your mind wanders, bring it back.
During the meditation process, try to remember the importance of refocusing and bringing your mind back to a state of calm whenever it wanders. It’s not uncommon for your mind to wander and think of anything and everything other than the present moment. You just have to learn to reset the brain and bring yourself back to a state of balance.
For more in-depth steps, check out this cool 12-step guide on how to meditate (for people who don’t meditate) by Mind Body Green.
Other Meditation Tips
Create a meditation routine and stick with it.
Set aside a few minutes at some point throughout the day to meditate, and make a habit of it. It can be any time, whether it’s when you first wake up in the morning before you get out of bed, after you eat your breakfast, in your car in the parking lot of your job, or once you lay down in bed at the end of the night. It can be for three minutes, five minutes, or ten minutes. Whatever, however, and whenever you do it, just do it!
Zen out your room or dedicated meditation space.
Pick a specific spot in your house or apartment to meditate. Zen it out with candles (there are some delicious smelling chakra-opening candles at Whole Foods) or incense, string lights, plants, crystals, and calming colors. Rid the room of any distractions, technology, or electronics. Create a calm space for you to go to completely unwind and prepare for a deep meditative experience.
Use accessories to help you.
There are helpful accessories available and generally used during the meditation process. For example, many people use authentic mala beads because it gives them something to focus their hands on and count mantras during meditation. Although that’s not necessary in the beginning phase, it’s something to consider when you advance to the next level of meditation.
Try guided meditation or self-care apps.
I recently wrote this article for Betches which covers a bunch of meditation and self-care apps you can use to get some zen back into your life. They all offer different features, like sleep aids, guided meditation, and master classes. If you have a smartphone and need help chilling out, check out some of the mobile apps I mentioned there like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer.
Meditation can (and will) 100% change your life by inspiring and moving you to become more relaxed and balanced each day. Now that you know some of the meditation benefits, how to meditate, and why you should start, all that’s left for you to do is start.
Thanks for reading! Do you meditate? How, when, and where do you do it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.