You’ve probably heard a lot about meditation, especially over the last few years. With the health drain that stress can cause becoming a hotter topic in the news, anything that helps you relax is a big deal. Meditation can help you sleep better and focus more, too. We’re all running around trying to do a million things at one time, so looking for things that can help us get there is only natural.
Meditation is largely thought of as a tool. Doing it can help you boost your health, reduce chronic pain, sleep more soundly, feel better, bust stress and enjoy a better peace of mind overall. But the practice of meditation has a second function, like a doorway into things you never knew about yourself. A lot of people report how wild the mind really is once they start meditation, comparing it to a movie with a lot of plot twists, out-of-place scenes and not the world’s best editing.
So, when you’re starting to try to meditate, don’t worry too much if your mind is all over the place; just think of it as a free movie courtesy of your own brain. As you progress, you’ll learn to work with the disjointed thoughts and images your mind provides you in a way that sheds some light on your inner self.
Check out the following ten tips to learn how to meditate at home, and remember that patience is certainly key here!
1.Keep An Eye On Your Posture
Whether you’re going to sit cross-legged on your floor or use a chair, keep your spine upright with your head up. Your mind will drift to many places if you’re slouching or slumped over. Meditation principles say the mind and body are linked, so if your body isn’t balanced, your mind certainly won’t be. One trick you can use to keep yourself upright is to imagine that your head is trying to touch the sky.
2.Speaking Of Your Eyes….
Keep those eyes open, since that allows you to be more in the moment. Lower your eyes and aim for a soft gaze, not a razor-sharp look. You’ll be more likely to be unfocused and wandering, mentally speaking, if you’re keeping your eyes closed.
Experiment if you’re having trouble meditating with your eyes open. Although not the norm, some people do find meditating with their eyes closed to be far more effective, and it is important to do what is the most comfortable for you.
3.Find Your Focus
We’re generally on autopilot throughout our days, such as the automatic drive to work. You probably can’t remember details of your daily work commute, and that’s true of most people. Things we do each day become so commonplace that we are hardly aware when we are doing them as time goes by.
Meditation aims to help you start noticing those little details in your day. While we tend to look at focus as concentration, in meditation, you don’t want that sharp attention. In this practice, focus refers to paying light attention to whatever it is you’ve placed in your center of awareness. Try using breath as your focus, since it’s an easy place to start.
4.Use Breath As An Anchor
Just as breath is an easy focus, it’s a way to keep you in the moment. Pay loose attention to how your breath moves in and out. You don’t have to regulate it, but just breathe naturally.
5.Count Your Breath
One ancient meditation practice is the counting of your breath. It’s useful if you’re having a hard time getting yourself settled when you start to meditate.
When you exhale, silently count from one to four. Always return back to one for each exhale. If you find yourself straying or counting past four, go back to one on your next exhale.
6.Handle Your Thoughts
Let any thoughts you notice go by, and return your focus to your breath. Don’t try to actively stop thoughts, as this is likely to just make you upset or irritated. Treat your thoughts like unwanted but not necessarily bad guests at your home’s door. You want to acknowledge they are there but ask them to leave in a polite way at the same time.
7.Evaluate Your Emotions
Strong emotions can definitely hamper your meditation. This occurs because emotions can become the source of stories in your mind. Shame, fear and anger especially plant these stories and tend to make the tales repeat. Generally, shame and anger will have you revisiting your past, while fear breeds the “What if?” scenarios of your future.
Focus on your body’s feelings when you’re dealing with strong emotions in your meditation. For instance, this could be the hot sensation of anger in your stomach or the tightness around your chest from fear. Let the tales these emotions evoke go, and focus back on your body to acknowledge your emotions without becoming entangled in the stories they come from.
8.Remember Silence Is Golden
In meditation, silence is a healer on its own. Where there is a lot of meditation music and sounds available, those noises can drown out your mind chatter. You actually get to experience your mind firsthand when you sit in silence, and it also helps to foster calmness and steadiness.
9.Look At Length
Start with just 10 minutes when you first begin meditating. Don’t sit for longer unless you really feel that isn’t long enough, and also avoid longer sessions until you believe you’re ready.
Work towards about 25-minute sessions, a length that you can settle your mind in without stressing your body too much. But overall, keep in mind there is no “should” here. Some people can handle an hour at a time, and others stay at just 10 minutes. Do whatever you feel is best for you.
10.Create A Place
Make a special place in your home for your meditation. You can make an altar or shrine, or just put some objects around you to enjoy, such as stones, flowers or other items that speak to you on a personal level.
Make sure you choose a location where you can get periods of quiet. Areas with high traffic, such as rooms near a bathroom or kitchen, are usually not the best places for your meditation space.
While meditation is a great tool and practice for many reasons, don’t treat it as just another item on your daily to-do list. Don’t take it for granted and miss its benefits. Enjoy the practice, have fun with meditation; you can even sit with a little smile to boost your mood. Be kind to yourself and be patient, as meditation is also something that takes practice. As long as you don’t expect yourself to become a guru overnight, you can both enjoy and benefit from your meditation sessions, even as you are just starting out.