5 Tips for Starting Your Meditation Practice
More research is being done showing the benefits of meditation and more people are utilizing this seemingly simple technique. Schools, businesses, and healthcare professionals are using meditation to help their students, employees, and patients feel better. Isn’t it time you start meditating? Meditation is a simple practice, but there can be many hurdles for some people. In this post I will give you ideas on how to start and keep your meditation practice going. One of the many benefits of meditation is reducing stress and anxiety. As one researcher on meditation explains, “studies have shown improved ability to regulate emotions in the brain” (Emma Seppala). Read more on the benefits here.
The principle of meditation is to quiet your mind. To start, find a comfortable place to sit with no distractions, and don’t think about anything! Here are some tips to help with that:
Meditating first thing in the morning is helpful because you are relaxed from sleeping, making it is easier to be still for a few more minutes. While you can meditate at any time of the day, it is good to develop a habit of when you meditate so you are more likely to continue your practice. Also, meditating in the morning gets your day off to a great start!
2. Start short
This simple practice can be hard! You may find yourself coming up with excuses of why you can’t meditate today. It may be you are too busy or you don’t feel well. If you start by meditating for 5 minutes you will find your excuses don’t hold up. Everyone has time for 5 minutes! After a week you will find it easier to meditate and you can increase to 7 minutes and then the next week 10 minutes, and so on. In the beginning, it is most important to develop a pattern and ease your body and mind into meditation, so be easy on yourself.
3. Repeat a mantra or use an app
You may find your mind wandering during meditation. A good way to help quiet your mind is to repeat a mantra, or phrase. A simple phrase that is helpful is when you breathe in say, “I am breathing in” and when you breathe out say, “I am breathing out.” This focuses the mind on the breath and makes it harder to be distracted by other thoughts.
A great app that I was introduced to is called ‘stop, think, breathe’. You can find it at the app store. The app offers guided meditations depending on how you are feeling. It is interactive and tracks your meditations.
4. Find a buddy
While meditation is an individual practice, everything is easier with a buddy. I am in an international meditation group with my brother. Our goal is 56 consecutive days of meditation. We remind each other to meditate and share when we have completed our meditation. Why 56 days? This Harvard research study found that meditation rebuilds gray matter in the brain in 8 weeks. It is a great way to inspire each other to continue your practice. You can also find meditation groups, where people gather to meditate together. If you are interested in a meditation group and live in the Jenkintown, PA area please contact me.
5. Set an alert on your phone
If you are so busy you will forget to meditate, set an alert on your phone or use the ‘stop, think, breathe’ app so you will be reminded everyday to meditate.
I hope this was helpful! Feel free to comment and share. I recommend meditation to all my patients. If you are familiar with yoga or acupuncture then you may already be aware of how to meditate. The end of a yoga practice, corpse pose, is an excellent way to meditate. Your body is relaxed from the stretches and exercises and your mind is calm. During an acupuncture treatment you have a similar experience. When lying on the treatment table your mind and body are relaxed. I ask my patients to not think about anything during this time and while some of the time they fall asleep, a lot of the time they are in a meditative state.
Wishing you health & happiness,
Kearney DeFillipo L.Ac., Dipl. Ac.
Red Panda Acupuncture
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