Meditation demonstrably strengthens our optimism, robustness, and joy. This is because some neuroplastic changes happen in the brain when we meditate. We develop more connections between the cells in the brain and thus more gray mass.
In other words, meditation is fitness for the mind. New research even shows that untrained people who meditate 12 minutes a day increase their mental capacity by 10-20 percent in just two months!
Does it sound like another dot on the list of things you think you should do but just don’t get done? Welcome to the club. Let’s move it onto the list of things that give us energy and vitality in everyday life and therefore should be prioritized.
I finally ended up giving into meditation, and it really helped get more focused and relaxed. So, here is a small list of five tips which helped me getting started with meditation
1. Baby Steps
Meditation does not have to last for half or full hours. Not at all. Start with three minutes. Only three? Yes, it sounds affordable, right? Sit down comfortably. It may be in the lotus position, but of course, it doesn’t have to be. You can even lie down if it works better for you – just be careful not to fall asleep!
Focus on your breathing. Feel the nostrils get cold when you pull in air. Fill your lungs slowly. Your breathing should be relaxed and effortless.
2. Clear Your Thoughts
Many believe that meditation is about to get there, where one is in an almost trance-like state, and one is never distracted by thoughts. It only happens for the most experienced and comes in brief flashes.
Instead, pay attention to your thoughts. Recognize that they are there without stressing over them and also don`t try to push them away. Perhaps you find that your thoughts during meditation revolve around something specific. Maybe there is something in your life that are missing the needed focus?
3. Embrace Your Monkey Mind
The mindset that often arises when we start to meditate is quite typical. It is also called Monkey Mind. But often it is just what makes people give up and think “I just can’t figure it out!”
It can be overwhelming to notice how active and uncontrolled the mind is, and how many thoughts are swirling through the head. It is OK. You can’t suppress them, so don’t try. Instead, bring your focus back to breathing. With time, the swirling thoughts become less frequent.
4. Meditate Your Way
There is not one real way to meditate, so feel free to try different methods, and find one that works for you.
Maybe it can help you listen to guided meditations on mp3 files or cd. Or maybe to focus on a particular point. If you can’t sit and meditate at all, try walking meditation. Focus on the breathing, on the feeling of your body while walking, feel the wind on your skin and absorb the sounds around you.
5. Look Beyond All Or Nothing
Realistically, few people succeed in meditating every day. But less can also do it, so don’t give up just because you miss a day or two. You can always continue where you left off. Try putting small breaks into your day, where you only focus on your breathing. For example on the bus or train. Or at your desk at work. Or maybe even during a shower.
But allow yourself to give it a fair chance in three to four weeks.