Harnessing the Uplifting Power of Meditation
Meditation is an ancient, highly respected practice that harnesses certain techniques – like mindfulness or focusing the mind on certain stimuli – to train and hone your own awareness.
If practiced often, meditation can help you achieve mental clarity, emotional calmness, and a renewed ability to live in the present.
Meditation is one of the most effective tools available to curb our brains’ innate negativity bias and help us release stress and nurture positive intentions.
There is also a large and growing body of evidence proving meditation’s benefits for lowering systemic levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, increasing the production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA, and boosting immune function.
The practice is also scientifically linked with improvements in depression, anxiety and insomnia, lower blood pressure, increased brain plasticity, and more efficient use of oxygen by the body.
Our Tips for Beginners
- Choose a quiet place. It is easiest and most beneficial to meditate somewhere where you will be comfortable, peaceful and undisturbed by noise. Most experts recommend meditating for at least 10 minutes per day, although 20 minutes or longer is ideal, so ensure that your chosen sanctuary will remain undisturbed for the same time frame.
- Focus on your breathing. Sit in a comfortable seated position and slow your breathing, inhaling deeply through your nose for 4 counts before slowly exhaling through your mouth for 6 seconds. This 4-6 breathing pattern signals your nervous system to recreate a calm, relaxed mental state. Continue this pattern of breathing throughout your meditation session.
- Keep your eyes closed. This will help you to focus your attention inwards towards the states of your own mind and body. With time, some meditators are able to meditate with their eyes open, but keeping yours closed is usually best for beginners.
- Have no expectations. Sometimes you might be interrupted, your thoughts will run away with you, or you simply won’t be in the right state of mind to meditate successfully. You can always come back to it another time.
- Be kind to yourself and don’t feel pressured to achieve certain results, even if you have set your intentions before your meditation session. Some days will be easier than others, and meditation is a practice that can take plenty of dedication to master. Just like moisturizing your skin, meditation is most effective when done regularly and with kindness and love towards yourself!
- Practice daily. Your mind will slip into a meditative state more effortlessly with time and experience, and the buzz of the outside world won’t seem as distracting as it once was. Meditating daily is the best way to reap the practice’s unique benefits, but you can do so multiple times a day if needed, too.
- Try a meditation app. Apps like Gaia, Calm and Headspace have been expertly crafted to offer structured guided meditation sessions that even beginners can master. If you’re unsure of how or where to begin and are looking for guidance, an app will provide step-by-step instructions along with hand-picked music to get you into a tranquil frame of mind.