12 Meditation Tips For Beginners
Virtually everyone in the world has now probably heard about one of the most powerful healing and relaxation tool in the universe which is meditation, and most people want to meditate or they have already tried it.
Yet one of the most common questions asked regarding meditation is, " I have giving it a go, so why do I still feel stressed, anxious and emotionally overwhelmed".
The could be many reasons for this, and one of the most important things you should avoid is, when you do relax becareful not to slip back into your old ways because meditation is a tool to use to help you relax.
But you may still need to combine it with some healthy lifestyle changes and improvements as well as becoming mindful and learning how to monitor and manage your emotions and quickly zapping and dismissing any negative and self sabotaging thoughts.
Meditation is a bit like working out at the gym, you know it works and you're aware of it's positive life changing qualities, but to get the best results you need to pre-plan and prepare yourself first with the right techniques and guidance. There are lots of things that you can do to prepare and further enhance your meditation sessions and below are some helpful tips that may help you achieve better results.
1) Exercise before your meditation session
If you are thinking about starting to meditate, especially if you have been experiencing periods of negative emotions and stress then the chances are your body is still pumped up and primed for action as well as being full of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol.
If this is the case then it may pay you to exercise off all that high levels of energy first as this will make it easier for you when you enter your meditation session, otherwise the high energy levels will remain in your body.
As stress and fear are also a physical state then this can be a big advantage to work off all that excess energy first, especially before your first week or so until you have fully returned to a more relaxed state.
2) Do some stretching exercises
Making sure that your muscles are nice and soft will also further enhance your meditation session because you will already be feeling relaxed before you start your meditation session. Doing some light stretching exercise or yoga routines is sure to help.
Having a massage before is probably the best way to relax your muscles and these days you can purchase excellent electrical massaging devices. Having a poised, aligned and balanced posture will prevent muscle tension and discomfort.
3) Make it a regular habit
Meditation is like everything else, the more you practice it the better you will get at it and the easier it will become. You will need to incorporate meditation into your daily life to get the maximum benefits so try and make it a regular habit and do it once a day. You can even squeeze in a few short mini sessions if you feel like it.
4) Progressive improvements
When people first hear about the many wonderful benefits of meditation, they give it a go but most tend to give up far too quickly so they miss out on it's health and well-being benefits.
One of the reasons for this is because they feel so stressed and emotionally overwhelmed to the extent that they just cannot seem to switch off and relax, so they give into too their feelings.
Another thing that causes people to quit too soon is because they think they have to spend hours meditation to get the results they want, but because they struggle and get distracted very quickly, especially at the beginning stages they again end their session feeling frustrated.
This misconception simply is not true or necessary, on average, fifteen to twenty minutes is usually enough. If you find it to hard to manage fifteen to twenty minutes then start off doing just two or three minute and then gradually increase your time each day by a minute or two until you find it easy to do the full twenty minutes or what ever suits you.
5) Don't try to stop your negative thoughts
Another myth which puts a lot of people off is the misguided belief that they have to stop all there negative and anxious thoughts which again can leave people feeling frustrated when they should be feeling relaxed.
You have not got to empty your mind of all your unwanted thoughts and if you attempt to do that it will cause an inward resistance and what you want is to end all that negative resistance.
Yes meditation is very good at grounding you back in the here and now, but the idea is to allow your thoughts to drift into your mind and away whilst you put all your attention onto focusing on your breathing or an object in the room such as a candle flame. Just let your thoughts come and go, but do not get emotionally engaged in them, observe your mind but stay calm and relaxed.
6) Find some where quiet
Before you commence your session find somewhere quiet and peaceful where you won't be bothered or disturbed for ten to twenty minutes or so. Switch off your phone, computer or TV and make yourself comfortable, having somewhere that is dimly lit is best.
You can meditate whilst you're sitting on a chair or you can lay down on your bed, if your surrounding environment is a bit noisey then you can buy some foam ear plugs to block out the noise.
7) Quickly access the relaxing brainwave states
When your fully prepared and sitting comfortable their are a couple of things that you can do to flip your brain into a more relaxed state. The first tip is, if you place your tongue on the bottom of your mouth with the tip pushing against the back of your gums it can help you to feel even more relaxed.
The second tip which can quickly relax you is to roll the eyes upward. This is an automatic response the body follows, it works by activating the production of alpha waves in the brain.
If you close your eyes and roll them upward so your looking at your forehead, you will produce more of the relaxing alpha waves which are the brainwave state associated with day dreaming the state between sleep and waking state.
Meditation experts and gurus have longed known about how rolling up your eyes can quickly transform you to an altered state of consciousness which can help you reach that deeply relaxed theta state much quicker.
8) Keep a straight spine
The best posture to have when your meditating is to keep a straight spine, if you flop to relaxed and to comfortable the chances are you will fall asleep. Ideally you will want to feel relaxed, alert and comfortable and if you allow your back to collapse it will restrict your breathing and make you feel uncomfortable.
When people talk about a straight spine, were not talking about a stiff, forced, over extended or ridged posture as those will cause muscle stiffness, you just want your spine to support you in a tension free, upright, relaxed but balanced and aligned posture.
You do not have to cross your legs and you do not have to sit on the floor, You can meditate sitting on the floor on a cushion, kneeling, in your chair or lying down, the key is to be comfortable and do find a position that suits you.
Picture supplied by Lalo Fuentes via flickr
9) Play some soothing and relaxing music
Playing soothing or relaxing music can help you to relax more easily as your mind and body follow the rhythm and beats of the relaxing music. The second advantage of adding music to your meditation sessions is, the music can mask out any background noises and minor distractions.
You can play your relaxing music or your chosen mediation audio before you start your session or during it depending on what suits you better.
Binaural beat frequencies are a great way to relax your mind and body, these frequencies entrain your brain to slip into a relaxing state as well as helping to reduce a overactive mind.
10) Best times to meditate
Although there is not a specific time to meditate the best times to do it are first thing in the morning or last thing at night just before you are about to go to sleep. When you meditate first thing in the morning you will be able to step in before all those same old negative thoughts have a chance to dominant your thinking patterns.
Morning time is a great opportunity to relax yourself and put yourself in a good mod which will set you up to have a stress free and wonderful day leaving you more able to handle and challenging situations.
When you meditate last thing at night, first you will relax and unwind yourself so you will drop off to sleep easily, which will also help to quieten your mind so you get a full and invigorating and empowering nights sleep, plus when you go to sleep feeling relaxed you tend to wake up feeling relaxed and in a better feeling mood.
11) Focus on your breathing
Once you have fully prepared yourself and your feeling comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Start to take some slow deep breaths. Breathe in through you nose and out through your mouth, making the out breath longer than the in breath.
When you inhale try to fill your lungs with as much air as you can, breathe all the way in and hold for a few seconds then slowly push all the way out.
You can breathe in for the count of seven, hold for three then breathe out for the count of eleven to get you started. On the in breath you can imagine breathing in calm and on the out breath you can imagine your breathing out all of your tension or breathe in peace and breathe out fear.
After you have done a few slow deep controlled breaths and when your feeling more relaxed you can start to return to your natural breathing. Then start to focus on your breaths. Notice the sensations of your breathing, just be aware of the air flowing in and out of your body and notice the rise and fall of your chest.
Focusing on your breathing is the main part of the meditation session, then all you have to to is observe your thoughts but do not be bothered by them, do not judge them and do not resist them. Just watch your thoughts and allow them to sail right on through whilst you continue to focus on your breathing.
12) Visualization and guided imagery
Once you get good at meditating you can add visualization and guided imagery to your sessions. This will enable you to take full advantage of those deeply relaxed states which will allow you to tap into your true hidden talents and creativity where you can either
- Make personal changes
- Boost your creativity
- Manifest your goals
- Change bad habits
- Relax even deeper
You can do your own creative visualization, however for some this can prove difficult. Or you can use a professional where you follow them and you just allow them to guide you through the aid of your imagination into a deeply relaxed states or life changing sessions.
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