What Are The Benefits To Meditating?
I have known about the art of meditation for as long as I can remember. I have witnessed my father using it all my life, he first started it as a young adult and he is now 82. He is a great advocate of the benefits to meditating.
For me, I have only really embraced the practice in more recent times, but it has helped me greatly.
Initially, when I started I would end up falling asleep, apparently, this is completely normal and probably symptomatic of the time of the evening I was practicing.
With two small children picking my moments to meditate can often be difficult in a busy and bustling home. So mornings for me, for now, works best!
However, I have found that meditation has helped me in most other areas of my life. I have become more at peace with situations that I cannot control, less worried about their outcome.
I have become more focused on stuff I can control and express gratitude and appreciation for what I have.
More and more of us are turning to the practice of meditation as a way to re-charge our inner system in order to cope with the stress and strains of everyday living.
It is a well-known fact that meditating can reduce stress, which in some cultures is thought to be the root cause of the majority of illnesses suffered by so many.
Meditation while reducing stress also plays a big part in improving your immune system, which in this current climate can only be a good thing.
Other inflammatory disorders including asthma can also be improved by the act of meditating, along with managing blood pressure.
What Is The Best Way To Meditate?
There are lots of different ways in which we can meditate. For a beginner, the simplest way to meditate is to find a comfortable seat in a quiet spot and close your eyes.
Some more experienced meditators may invest in a meditation chair!
Remember to breathe naturally, it really is that simple, do not try to control your breath, focus on it and notice how your body responds and moves to each inhale and exhale of air.
At this point, if you are beginner, it might be best to try meditating for a short period. I would recommend trying it for 2 minutes each morning before your day begins.
And when you are able to sit still and relax for 2 minutes without distraction then move to 3 minutes and so on until you can build it up to 10 minutes sitting still and relaxing.
Easy Meditation for Beginners
The following practice should be straightforward to follow and help you to become more at ease with the habit of meditating.
Remember as with all new habits or skills it will take practice, so you cannot expect to master it all at once.
Starting small and building up a little each day means you will get better at practicing meditating.
So start off by sitting comfortably for 2 minutes. Do this first thing in the morning, preferably before your “house” has awoken and set yourself a reminder – a little YOU time before you start the day!
For now don’t worry about the how part, it makes no difference where you sit when you start to meditate, whether you are sitting on a chair, a couch, a bed or the ground!
If possible sit cross-legged, it is only for 2 minutes so don’t worry about comfort, just sit somewhere quiet.
Now that you are seated and focused, turn your thoughts internally. How are you feeling at this present moment? How does your body feel? There are no right or wrong answers just observe and acknowledge what you are feeling.
And now for your breath. Pay attention to your breaths. Follow your breath as it comes in and travels around and down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you breathe in and then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat until you count to 10 and then restart.
If you follow the above exercise for just 2 minutes a day for a week you will begin to build up the habit of practicing meditating.
2 minutes may seem really easy and if so you can increase it by another 2 minutes and continue that for another week and so on.
The idea is to build up the length of time slowly at first so that you can achieve longer times the longer you practice meditating.
When you notice your mind wandering and wander it will, that is a certainty, just come back to counting starting at “one” again. It is quite normal for our focus to wane, just acknowledge the thought and move on.
These interruptions are part of who you are, they are not your enemy rather see them as friends and treat them as such. Be friendly in your attitude to them.
Types of Meditation styles
Meditating is very much a personal thing. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. So do not think you are “doing it wrong”, you are not doing it wrong, you are doing it your way. Be happy that you are doing it!
Often it is said that you should clear your mind in order to meditate and as a result, a lot of thinking around meditating is about stopping your thoughts, preventing them from popping into your head and clearing your mind.
But really that is not very practical. We are all human if you have thoughts popping in while you are meditating that is completely normal. We all have thoughts. Just try to practice focussing your attention when your mind wanders.
Of course sometimes in deep meditation, your mind can become clear and that is quite okay.
After a few weeks and once you have managed to focus your mind perhaps when you do have thoughts while meditating instead of returning to focus your mind, try staying with the thought(s) or feelings that pop up.
Stay and see where they lead, what kind of thoughts or feelings are they? Are they positive or negative? Be curious as to why you are having this thought or feeling, what is going on inside your mind?
This is a very useful way of meditating as it allows us to get to know ourselves and perhaps go some way to understanding our thoughts and how our mind works. As you get to know yourself do so in a positive manner, like getting to know a friend.
Another way of meditating once you have become accustomed to focussing your attention and following your breath is to perform a full-body scan.
Start at the soles of your feet — how do those feel? Slowly move to your toes, the tops of your feet, your ankles, all the way to the top of your head.
Or focussing externally on the light, sounds and energy around you is also something that can be done while meditating.
One day can be the light, fix your eyes to one spot and then notice the light in the room you are sitting in.
Another day, just focus on noticing sounds and then another day, try to notice the energy in the room all around you.
Just remember once you have started the practice of meditation it really can be done anywhere. If the morning routine has to be moved then do not fret, you can meditate while travelling, in your office, in the park, out for a walk, anywhere!
Make a commitment to yourself, commit to practicing meditation for at least a month, lock in the promise to yourself. You deserve this act of self-love because YOU are WORTH it.
And remember when you have finished your meditation, be grateful that you took that time for yourself, that you stuck to your commitment, that you are deserving of that self-love, that you took the time to take care of YOU to get to know yourself.
Above all else, enjoy the most amazing 2 or, fill in the blanks_______ minutes of your life
Let me know how you get on in the comments below and what techniques work best for you, I would love to hear from you.
coralie · March 21, 2020 at 9:13 pm
What a great job Julie. I have always been curious about meditating, but was always worried I would fail at it. I like what you said about not being good at it and that there was no wrong way to do it.
I love your step by step process that you laid out. With the short 2 mins to start and how counting while breathing in and out seems very doable. It actually makes me think that I really want to try doing it.
Where do you find it easiest to meditate. If other people are home, do you just close the bedroom door?
Great job and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post.
Julie Anne Byrne · March 21, 2020 at 10:31 pm
Thanks Coralie for your comments I am delighted you found my article useful.
I find it easier to meditate in the early morning when the house is still asleep and sometimes I practice in the evening time when the house is quieter.
I do hope you try practising this for yourself, untold benefits await!
All the best, Julie Anne
Todd Matthews · March 21, 2020 at 9:18 pm
This is probably the best outline to meditation I’ve read – and I’ve read many similar articles on the subject prior to this one.
Not a single one really tapped into the norms of those looking to start meditation, like thoughts popping into your head when you’re first starting, and also starting to meditate for only two minutes before slowly progressing.
These were tips that jumped out at me that I’ve never gotten anywhere else.
Julie Anne Byrne · March 21, 2020 at 10:42 pm
I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post and that you found it to be helpful. I hope you get a chance to try these tips for yourself and enjoy the benefits that you will reap with meditating.
All the best to you, Julie Anne
CJ Greene · March 21, 2020 at 9:26 pm
Thank you so much for this post! I rarely meditate, but when I do I often find I prefer guided meditations. Though non-guided is also good and I’d like to practise it more often.
What I love about meditation is completely disconnecting from everything else. It is setting aside time to not worry about what comes next. All that matters now, all that is worthy of your attention, is right now. And that’s where I find the calm comes in.
Finally acknowledging that I don’t have to be constantly planning my next move.
You’re right, meditation is a powerful skill. But it is a skill. And it’s harder than people think it is.
Julie Anne Byrne · March 21, 2020 at 10:48 pm
Thanks CJ you seem to understand the benefits of meditating. I too have also practised with guided meditation, often when I am needing calmness in my life, I find this type of meditation works best for me.
But you are right of course it is a skill that takes practice and the more you practice it the easier it becomes.
All the best to you, Julie Anne
Sonny · March 21, 2020 at 9:37 pm
I discovered the benefits of meditation about 5 years ago out of necessity during a really stressful period. I found it really helpful especially in times when you feel down.
Since then I discovered there are many forms of meditation such as walking meditation where you try to live in the moment and observe the sights and sounds around you including the feeling of your feet hitting the ground while simultaneously breathing in and out calmly and feeling the breeze on your skin. It’s quite an experience especially when you’re walking in an area with lots of greenery.
Living in the moment is an important part of meditation. And of course, there’s also running meditation. Eating meditation and even driving meditation.
Thank you for writing an incredible post. I hope more people read it and learn the many benefits of meditation.
Julie Anne Byrne · March 21, 2020 at 10:53 pm
Thanks Sonny for your kind words encouragement they are greatly appreciated.
You seem to be very acquainted with the practice of meditation, indeed you have a good many years on me! I really like the idea of walking meditation in nature, I’m very often not alone when I go walking so this might be something I can pursue in the future.
I will have to investigate the other types you mention also – thank you for sharing your thoughts.
All the best to you, Julie Anne
Smoochi · March 24, 2020 at 2:15 am
The fact that I have come to learn something tangible from this post is satisfying.
The make of your website is nice and the simplicity of the color selection makes it beautiful.
There are so many benefits to meditating but I do think that special benefits come from the mode or type of meditation that an individual engages.
Julie Anne Byrne · March 25, 2020 at 8:37 pm
I am delighted you enjoyed reading my post and learnt a new technique that you can apply for yourself. Thank you for your lovely comments.
Stay well and best wishes, Julie Anne