How to meditate

When life is hectic and we feel stressed and over-worked it can be hard to keep the mind and body healthy. Time seems like it’s a limited resource that gets eaten up by everything else that calls for our attention.

However, when we’re stressed and tired it can bring up lots of negative feelings. We can be short-tempered, frustrated and generally unhappy. This not only impacts our physical health but our emotional health too. Making time for meditation might feel like that last thing on your list.

The fact is that meditation can help to regain a sense of balance and calm, to be more focused. We all have the same 24-hours in the day – it’s what we choose to do with them that counts. By taking a 15-minute breathing (or mindfulness) meditation, twice a day if possible, you will bring calm to your mind and find an inner peace.

Meditation allows us to understand our mind and thoughts. It can take us from negative to positive and bring happiness and light into our lives. From its foundations in Buddism to the modern practices of meditation in business, learning how to meditate can have one of the biggest impacts on your life. As your practice, you’ll find that you regularly bring meditation into every minute of your day. It will move beyond the 15-minute concentrated practice and pervade throughout your whole life.

Here are 10 tips to help you learn how to meditate and to get you started on your meditation journey:

1. Location

Find a place to sit peacefully. Make it special to you. Maybe with some objects such as candles, shells, flowers – anything which has personal meaning or appeal. This is your sacred time, treat it as such.

2. Quiet

Meditation in silence is one of the best ways to experience your mind, thoughts and emotions. In our busy world, it might seem uncomfortable – at first. But soon you will come to appreciate the beauty of complete silence. (Having said that, it is possible to meditate on a bus or in a crowded room as we get more experienced in our meditative practice.)

3. Time

Start with 5-10 minutes. Shorter timeframes will make it easier to bring meditation into your life. It’s important not to stress the body or mind – the whole point is to bring joy and peace. It’s better to do 10-minutes of meditation a day than to promise 30-minutes twice a day and not do it. If you can build up to at least 15-minutes, twice a day, that’s great. But don’t stress if not. Do what’s right for you.

4. Posture

You can sit cross-legged on the floor or you can sit in a chair or lie down. If sitting, make sure that your spine is comfortably straight and your head is also straight. Don’t slump.

5. Eyes

You can keep your eyes half open, in a soft gaze. Your eyes should be relaxed. Meditation is personal to every individual so you should do what is right for you. If having the eyes closed works best for you, then do that. Just remember that some people are more likely to fall off to sleep.

6. Focus

When meditating it’s important to be present in the moment. It’s often helpful to softly focus on an object or your breath.

7. Breath

In meditation, paying attention to the breath is important to keep yourself centred and focused on the present moment. One common practice is to count the breath. Count one on the in breath and two on the out breath all the way up to 10. Then begin again at one. All the time keeping your breathing at a normal pace that is comfortable and natural for you.

8. Thoughts

As you meditate you might notice thoughts entering your mind. This is normal. Just allow the thought to float by and return to focus on your breathing. If you’ve forgotten your counting just begin again at one. Don’t stress or think you’re doing this wrong. Cultivate patience and meditate without judgement.

9. Emotions

If we’re upset about something and have strong emotions, it may seem difficult to meditate. Just allow those feelings. How does your body feel? Observe without judgement. We can’t deny our emotions but we can choose to let them go. Then go back to the breath and your counting.

10. Kindness

The key to meditation is to understand that it’s a special time just for you. Enjoy it, and be kind to yourself. Start slowly and build up over time so that it fits your life and brings you joy and inner peace.