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The beginner’s guide to a meditative mind

The beginner’s guide to a meditative mind

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that despite our efforts, sometimes we are powerless in difficult situations. Harnessing your own power is at times all you have, and that is important to recognize when it seems like the world around you is crumbling. So, how do we harness our inner power? It all begins with meditation.

When we meditate, we cultivate self-connection and we are able to better understand what it is we want, how to target what we’re struggling with, and how to reduce stress. In the way that going to the gym trains the body, meditation trains the mind. But one thing that’s often looked over is how hard meditation actually is. It’s a practice that needs to be worked at, but it can be such a powerful tool once you figure out how it works for you and your body. 

Lauryn Hill for Rap Pages, shot by B+ (December 1995)

The way I started meditating as a beginner was by paying attention to my breaths. I would set a timer on my phone for five minutes, sit up straight with legs crossed, eyes closed, and focus solely on my breathing. The first time I did this, the five minutes flew by and my timer went off so much quicker than I expected. I wasn’t perfect at it, but after I finished, I felt better in my body. 

Here are some basic steps to follow when meditating.

Get comfortable
Sit somewhere where you’ll be okay to meditate for a few minutes without having to move or reposition; like the floor, the couch or your bed. Sitting cross-legged is recommended, because it helps you keep your spine straight and allows you to focus better on your meditation. You can also lay down, but just be careful not to fall asleep! 

Set a time limit
This is especially important if you’re a beginner. It’s best to start with a short time limit, like 5 or 10 minutes. As you get more comfortable, you can work up to doing more time.

Notice how your body feels
This one is easier said than done, but I promise, it’s worth it! Try your best to feel your body in the space its in. Feel your feet on the ground and your back against the chair. Sink into your position and ground yourself. Meditation is all about connecting with your body, and feeling your body in relation to the space you’re in is a big part of that. 

Focus on your breath
Pay attention to your breathing pattern. This is a great way to prevent your mind from wandering too much, especially as a beginner. 

Pay attention to your thoughts
When your mind wanders, acknowledge the thoughts entering your mind, and try to circle back by refocusing your thoughts on your breaths. Note that if there’s a thought you’re struggling to get rid of, maybe you need to lean into it; it could be your subconscious trying to get you to address it. 

Notice how you feel when you finish
I like to close my meditations by thinking something positive about myself, like a positive affirmation or a manifestation. I do this before I open my eyes, and once I do open them, I have a newfound appreciation for my environment and myself.

See Also

Here are some great free apps for meditation beginners.

Relax Now

  • The app features recordings from a certified hypnotherapist. All videos featured on the app aim to calm the listener and provide relaxation. There are also a variety of types; some are meant to energize you and others are meant to calm you. 

 Insight Timer

  • This app has over 30,000 pre-recorded guided meditation sessions, and provides the ability to refine sessions based on how long you have to practice.

Calm

  • The app provides guided sessions ranging in time from 3 to 25 minutes. It allows you to choose your focus with a variety of video topics from calming anxiety to gratitude. There are also different sounds such as sleep sounds, nature sounds, and breathing exercises.  

Inscape

  • The main focus of this app is to help you reduce stress and anxiety and get better sleep. Based on what time of the day you are meditating and what your personal goals are, the app recommends different types of meditations, music, and breathing exercises available. 
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