Why Meditation Is So Important and How to Get Started Now
You might not pay attention to it at all, but there is a voice in your head that never stops talking. It comments everything you see, judges people and situations, over analyzes the past, stresses about the future, and just keeps talking on and on. It always makes sure to keep you separate from living the present moment fully and if you don't take control of it, it will make sure to rule your life.
Meditation is about bringing awareness to this voice, calming down this endless chatter and learning how to dis-identify from your thoughts. Because, you might have never truly realized it before, but you are not your thoughts.
Yes, I repeat, you are not your thoughts, your feelings nor your beliefs. You are much more than that. You are the witness, the presence that can observe it all. At your very core, you are simply pure consciousness, you are the space between your thoughts.
And whether you are conscious of it or not, identifying with your thoughts, emotions and beliefs is a choice you make on a moment to moment basis. But you can also choose to dis-identify from them. That's the goal of meditation.
Meditation has also many benefits, and can among other things, significantly reduce your stress levels and anxiety, improve your immune system, lower your blood pressure and increase your serotonin to improve your mood and happiness levels.
Now, you might already be aware of all the benefits meditation can have on your life, but be put off by it for one reason or another. So here are a few tips to help you get started on a home meditation practice now and to help balance your life for this new year.
At first, all you need to do is dedicate a few minutes of your time to meditation. It could be as little as 5 minutes a few times a week if you are a beginner. Don't get too caught up into what to do and just start. Little by little you will be able to sit for longer and do this more frequently, but remember that it is the small steps that lead to progress, so don't neglect them.
Make it a commitment to devote your time to have a regular practice.
Don't just do it 'once in a while', but be consistent about it. This and patience are the two keys to experience all the benefits of this habit. Now this being said, don't blame yourself for skipping days. Always forgive yourself, give yourself permission to do the best you can, and start again as soon as possible.
Be kind to yourself
Beating yourself up, judging yourself will only keep you stuck (into thinking even more).
Don't blame yourself for not meditating for 20 minutes in a row at first or for not being able to stop thinking while you meditate. Thoughts are a part of meditation. So if you find your mind wandering away, it's totally fine and absolutely normal. Just witness it, and bring your mind back to your focus. You might have to do this every two seconds at first and that's okay. Keep trying. It's about practicing not perfecting.
Find what works for you
There are so many different types of meditation, it's not always easy to know which ones are the best and which ones work for you. I suggest you try different types of meditation at first and stick to the ones you like.
Sitting and focusing on your breath;
Repeating mantras or affirmations;
Listening to relaxing music or alpha/theta waves;
Open eyes meditation (focusing on an object like a candle flame);
I really like to just listen to how I feel and do different types of meditations daily. The hardest one for me is to just sit and focus on my breath (unless I am at the beach or in nature) so I like to do guided meditations, listen to alpha waves or repeat mantras. And I really like to use apps like Insight Timer!
On another note, you can practice mindfulness in every moment of your life; while eating, when you are at a traffic light, when you are at work by just being present and aware of your body, feelings and breathing. But this is another topic and deserves an entire article all to itself.
Make it a ritual
At first, try doing it at least 2-3 times a week. But when you feel ready and when you feel the need to, I recommend meditating every day. Especially when life gets crazy busy and you seem to not have a minute to yourself. It's when you need it the most. It's also good to do it at the same time each day; when you wake up in the morning or before going to bed, or even better in the morning AND at night. You can do 10 minutes at a time and increase little by little to 20 minutes sessions.
The power it will have on your mind and health is so worth it, trust me.