The best way to start meditation
Over the past several years, when talking health, the conversation will inevitably include not only the physical state but the mental state as well. In this day and age, ways of taking care for one’s health are not limited to physical exercise and healthy eating. We speak of our psychological wellbeing, and the importance of our mental health through meditation and mindfulness where the ultimate goal is a feeling of relaxation and inner peace.
You’ve certainly heard people talk about the virtues of meditation. You’d like to try it but you have no idea where to start and how to go about it? Here are some helpful hints to get you on your way and, above all, see and feel its benefits for yourself.
Growing studies are showing the benefits of the regular practice of meditation. You may have heard that the body and the mind are one. Here are some facts that help support this mind set :
Amongst others, here are some benefits of regular meditation :
- Improves memory and attention span
- Calms your mind (by taking a break from your hectic lifestyle)
- Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
- Improves mood and controls emotions
- Improves sleep quality
- Reduces blood pressure
My personal experience with meditation
Since my introduction to regular meditation, I feel a sense of calm, I’m more patient with my colleagues and with my children, I’m in a better mood, I get better sleep and also feel that I think more clearly. It provides me with some much needed « me » time. I start each morning with a 10 to 15 minute mindful meditation session. A few sacred moments all to myself while the house is still quiet, just before the day kicks into gear and the silence is broken.
Being in the present moment with meditation
The goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind and stay connected to your breathing. Seeing as the mind has a mind of its own, thoughts will come naturally. This is what the mind does. Your goal is not to stop this from happening. Each time you notice that your mind is drifting to the next thing on your « to do » list, or to what needs to be done today, or to what you should have said at yesterday’s meeting, etc…calmly bring you attention back to your breathing. Yes, it’s easier said than done but your ability to notice that your mind drifted away will improve with regular practice. Be patient with yourself.
How do I start meditating?
I suggest you begin with some guided meditation sessions. These will allow you to focus on the voice of the person guiding the session. As with anything else, you should try different sessions and discover which ones you prefer. There are thousands of them available on the web and on mobile apps.
Here’s some advice on how to make the experience more pleasant
- Firstly, set aside a specific time slot dedicated to meditation, either first thing in the morning or just before bed;
- Find a peaceful and quiet spot where you will not be interrupted.
- Sit comfortably on a chair, on a sofa or on the floor if you prefer. Ideally, your back should be straight but you should not be uncomfortable.
- Use ear buds in order to maximize concentration and minimize noisy distractions.
- Close your eyes, let yourself be guided by the voice and enjoy the moment.
Some guided meditation recommendations
- Calm –https://www.calm.com/ (This is what I’m using now)
- Rose buddha (created by Quebecers) – nice variety https://myrosebuddha.com/
- Headspace https://www.headspace.com/
- Stop, Breathe & Think: https://www.stopbreathethink.com/M
- méditations sur YouTube
Guided meditation on Youtube
If you type in « guided meditation » in the search bar, you will find a plethora of options. You can even refine your meditation search, for example : better sleep, stress management, self worth, self acceptance, anger mangement…the list is endless.
Personally, I quite enjoy the « Boho Beautiful » guided meditations.
Do you use other apps or other guided meditation methods? If so, share them here!