If you’ve ever thought about starting a meditation practice now may be the time to start. With all of the anxiety and uncertainty we’re experiencing in the world due to COVID-19 it’s more important than ever to learn how to calm your body and mind. It’s normal during this time to experience bouts of stress and anxiety, which can include symptoms like racing thoughts, tightness or tension, sweating, and stomach pain. For more on stress and anxiety check out my blog post on Stress vs. Anxiety.
In order to get started on your meditation practice it’s worth learning about mindfulness. Mindfulness is a main component of meditation. It involves paying attention to the present moment and being deliberate with what you focus your attention on. Mindfulness asks us to suspend any worries, negative thoughts, or judgments we may have and just be. Sounds nice right?
Mindfulness also has a ton of benefits. These include:
- Helps bring down overwhelm
- Allows us to choose are actions instead of react
- Can actually change the way your brain works and responds to stress
- Increases one’s ability to focus
- Increases positive feelings
What does meditation entail?
Meditation simply entails attuning to your breath.
You can use an app, watch a meditation video, or engage in self-guided meditation by following the next steps. My personal favourite app for meditation is Headspace.
For a self-guided meditation find a comfortable seat that’s relaxing but not so relaxing you doze off. Once you’ve found a posture that feels good, set a timer for however long you plan to meditate and bring your attention to your breath. Notice how your body feels when breathing, where you’re breathing from (usually chest or stomach), and any other sensations in your body.
If thoughts come up don’t despair! Just acknowledge the thought and let it go by returning to your breath. Initially lots of thoughts will come up making it hard to shift your attention back to your breath. This is perfectly normal and will get easier as you practice.
How to get started
Interested in practicing meditation but don’t know how to start? Keep reading!
In order to reap the full benefits of meditation research shows we need to mediate for a minimum of 20 minutes a day for 5/7 days a week. It sounds like a lot but I promise once you get used to practicing, it’ll be something you look forward to and can do with relative ease.
At first 20 minutes will feel endless if you don’t build up to it, so it’s best to gradually add time to your meditation practice. I’d suggest starting with 5 minutes if you’ve never practiced meditation before or 10, if it’s been a while since you last meditated. After successfully meditating for 5 or 10 minutes for two weeks straight you can add more time.
The more you practice the easier it’ll be and the more relaxed you’ll feel. Hopefully this’ll give you the information you need to get started.
Feel free to contact me if stress or anxiety is taking a toll on your ability to focus and be present and cannot be helped by meditation alone.