If you were to make a list of things that are way less complicated than we make them out to be, then meditation would be at the top of the list. Meditation is perhaps literally the easiest thing to do in the world—all you need is your own breath to get started. And yet, so many people are intimidated by this age-old practice.
Whether you’re thinking about meditating, or whether you’ve just started, we’ve put together this meditation for beginners guide to help inspire and motivate you.
Meditation for Beginners: Why Start?
Decades of scientific research have now shown us what they’ve known in many cultures for millenia: meditation is linked to a healthier, happier, more mindful life.
While meditation won’t replace your medication, of course, there are studies that suggest meditation can help manage symptoms for conditions like anxiety, asthma, depression, chronic pain, and even cancer (source). There’s also some research suggesting it can help lower blood pressure and help with irritable bowel syndrome (source).
But meditation can be about so much more than reducing symptoms. Meditation can be part of creating a fuller life for yourself, where you slow down and learn to appreciate the small, beautiful things around you. If that sounds cheesy now, trust us: it won’t once you start to see the benefits of meditation in your own life.
How To Start Meditating
Like we stressed in our guide for how to start your mindfulness practice, it’s best to start your meditation practice slowly. The simplest way to meditate (which some would argue is also the most effective way) is to simply focus on your breath. Slowly breathe in, and slowly breathe out. Can you follow this breath? How about the next one? And the next?
Beyond sitting and following your breath, there are several ways to meditate. You can do body scans, where you check in with different parts of your body on a regular basis, or visualizations, where you create mental images or stories to follow (so that you might imagine you are a mountain or a tree, for example).
You can focus on a mantra or an affirmation. In this case, you would think of a meaningful word or phrase that you repeat to yourself over and over in a calm fashion. You can often tie these mantras into your manifestation rituals as well.
There are practices like Qi gong, Tai chi, and yoga which can be considered ‘moving meditations.’
And mindfulness meditation is also very popular, with good reason. Becoming more mindful can help you in all aspects of your life. It’s about tuning to what’s really happening right now, in the moment. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you feeling?
And no—you don’t have to do this alone. You can lean on guided meditations to help you, no matter what style of meditation. And thankfully, there’s a wide variety of free online resources, as well as apps and courses that can help you in your journey. We particularly recommend Headspace and Insight Timer, both of which have free options.
Make Meditation A Part Of Your Regular Routine
You’ll get a lot more benefits out of meditation for just a few minutes a day, every day, than if you were to have longer but more sporadic sessions.
So don’t get stressed thinking you have to do all the meditation. Meditation for beginners can be as simple as lighting a calm candle in the morning, and mindfully watching the flame for a few moments. Or perhaps you’ll make it part of your evening rituals to unwind from the day.