Meditation is everywhere these days. And sometimes that can be an assumption that it’s easy to get started. Or that everyone understands how it can benefit day-to-day life. So, we thought we’d break down some of the benefits a regular meditation practice can provide and how you can get started today, at home, without any props or apps. Just you.
Just some of the benefits of meditation
A lot of our daily stresses and worries can play out throughout the mind over and over. And usually the things we are thinking about are either in the past or potential situations for the future. How will things play out? Could I have done things differently? What are the consequences? This can result in us feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and sometimes anxious. One of the main benefits of a mindfulness practice or meditation is that is gently guides us back to the present moment.
In the present moment, there is little to worry about. And while tuning into the present moment can calm the mind, it can also ease the stress response in the body. The heart rate can slow; our breath can slow and lengthen as we become aware of the breath – all signs to the body that we are safe and secure.
As the body learns to calm down and as it spends less time in a state of stress, this can eventually have quite a significant positive effect on physical health of the body. It can improve our body’s immune response and cardiovascular system.
Learning the ability to tune into the current moment can also help us better understand our feelings. Once we have the ability to feel exactly what’s going on as it happens, we can better understand our reactions and emotions as they happen day-to-day. This can help us to notice our reactions as they come up, be aware, and sometimes change things if we want to.
A simple at home meditation you can do right now.
- Find a comfortable seat. This may be supported by the wall or on a cushion. If sitting for extended periods causes you pain, simply lie down.
- Close your eyes down and settle comfortably into your seated or lying position.
- Don’t try to stop your thoughts, the mind will likely move faster if you try to stop it completely. Instead, let your focus and your awareness start to find the physical space around you. Notice how the surface feels beneath your body. Notice how the clothes on your skin feel.
- Then take your focus to the body. Notice every single sensation that’s available from the tip of your toes, all the way to the very top of your head. Maybe it’s temperature, any tightness or open sensations. Perhaps you can notice fatigue or elevated energy in different parts of the body. Most importantly, notice if there is any unnecessary tension or effort and do your best to soften and relax.
- Once the body is relaxed and you’re very aware and connected to the physical space, take your focus to your breathing. Notice how it feels to breathe in and breathe out. Simply watch the breath move. Also, allow the breath to be comfortable, but deep and expansive.
- Now all you have to do is watch the breath, watch the body, and every time you notice your awareness has gone somewhere else, you gently usher it back. This will happen a lot. Especially at the start. Remember, it’s not about stopping your thoughts, but rather just refocusing your attention and awareness back to the body and the breath.
- Set yourself a timer so you can completely relax and just come back to the physical space once your timer has gone off. Start with 5-10 minutes and go from there.