You may think you need to be a guru on a mountaintop to meditate, but you would be mistaken in this belief. In fact, many ordinary people around the world practise meditation daily, in one form or another. There have even been studies done on the subject, which show that meditation:
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduces tension
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps balance emotions
- Decreases stress, anxiety and depression
- Reduces overwhelm
- Increases harmony and peace of mind
- Promotes clear thinking and creativity
- Enhances focus and concentration
- Raises self-esteem
- Improves self-awareness
These are just a few of the many benefits – for more, see here.
You can meditate any time of day and for as long as you like, but to start with, set aside a few minutes in the morning or evening. As you get into the habit, aim to extend your meditation time. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, and get comfortable as you try out some of these easy techniques:
Follow your breath
Count slowly to 4 as you breathe in, hold for a count of 2 if you can, then count 4 again as you breathe out. Repeat this for at least a few minutes, just focussing on your breath. Every time your mind wanders off, bring it back to your breath and start counting again.
Repeat a mantra
Choose any positive word that appeals to you, and slowly repeat it over and over again. At first you may want to say it aloud or under your breath. After a while, repeat it silently and keep bringing your attention back to it whenever your mind takes a detour.
Whatever you’re doing – washing the dishes, walking to class, brushing your hair – be completely present with it, feeling the physical and emotional sensations involved, and simply observing any thoughts that flow through your mind.
Do a guided meditation
There are many free guided meditations available online or you can buy some from your local music shop or iTunes.
Experiment with different types of meditation to find out what works for you, and try to get into a routine where you meditate at the same time every day. Some days will be easy and others more difficult – the key is perseverance. Very soon, you’ll start to notice how you’re benefiting and you’ll be hooked!