Meditation is one of the most useful AND free ways to alleviate stress, quiet a busy mind, and reduce anxiety. As one of the many individuals who deal with all of these symptoms, meditation is something I try to implement at least a few times a week.
But I get it, when you think of meditation you think of an all knowing and powerful yogi who can put their foot behind their head and achieve complete zen right?
Meditation can seem like a daunting feat for someone who has never meditated before. So here are some tips to get you started:
Start with just 5 minutes per day
You wouldn’t try to run a marathon the first time you begin jogging, so why try to achieve an hour of mindful meditation on your first try? It can just be 5 minutes of quiet, steady breathing and clearing your mind when you wake up in the morning or putting on headphones and listening to peaceful music while focusing on your breathing during your morning subway commute! If five minutes seems daunting, start with just two or three minutes and grow from there. Any practice is better than no practice :)
For some people they assume the point of meditation is to be able to fully focus without your mind drifting at all, but that doesn’t have to be the end goal. A more realistic goal to aim for is noticing when you become distracted and redirect yourself sooner and sooner. This allows you to become very aware of when you are drifting, so you can correct yourself and refocus your thoughts.
Realizing the benefits
Almost all experts agree that meditation can reduce anxiety, irritability, stress and more. Many therapist recommend meditation to their patients dealing with anxiety and stress because it can increase your resilience to stress. Meditation cause you to become more mindful of the thoughts in your head and minimize overthinking or over-stressing about all the thing they have rattling around in their heads. The practice of meditation can be translated to redirecting your thoughts to more productive thoughts, instead of stressful ones.