PsychologyItBetter How To: Meditation.
Meditation is not complicated.
Why should I do this?
Psychological research shows us that meditation can increase your immune function and health, improve levels of happiness and bolster emotional self-regulation. It can also decrease negative emotions and massively reduce stress and anxiety. It can also make you more productive in your day to day lives. It’s not complicated, and it need not have a spiritual component to it. Neither should it take up hours of your day. Even 10 minutes done regularly can have an impact on your life.
How can I do this?
There is no single ‘right’ way to meditate, but focusing your attention on your breath is a common way to start. Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably (no need for bendy legs). Close your eyes softly and focus on your breath going in an out. Each time you breathe in, count to yourself, 1,2,3 etc. If (and it will be if!) you get to 10 without being distracted, start again. Sit and repeat for the period you are mediating for (start with 10 minutes). Simple, eh? In reality, you will get distracted. A lot. You will catch yourself thinking about your day, the argument you had last week, or your plans for tomorrow. That is OK (in fact it is expected!). Just notice you are doing it, don’t judge yourself and bring your attention back to your breath – this is an exercise in ‘mindfulness’ (briefly, being aware of your thoughts as well). Sometimes you find a calm tranquil space in your own head, othertimes it will feel like your thoughts are interrupting you like a ‘chattering monkey’. These are both fine – if it is the latter, just notice it and try and focus on your breath. The more often you do this, the greater gains you will reap.
Find out more
This PsychologyItBetter How To is just a bite-sized intro. You can find out more on the science and practice of mediation in an easily accessible format in a book I recommend: Meditation For Dummies* by Stephan Bodian.
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