Ready, Set, Meditate.
by Malia Herold - November 19, 2015
Do you think learning to meditate is difficult, mysterious and complicated? Maybe you’ve even heard that meditation involves emptying out your brain of all thoughts. Sounds impossible! So why bother? Well, the truth is that meditation is simple, fun and really great for you. Let’s dispel a few myths and see how easy it can be to get started.
- Meditation does not mean stopping your thoughts! The objective in meditation is to observe your thoughts, not eliminate them. When you meditate, you become a mindful “observer” – like someone in the crowd at sports stadium watching the game as it unfolds. Become curious about your thought patterns and how they make you feel. Observe without judging or criticizing yourself, and simply allow thoughts to pass by you like clouds in the sky.
- If you take one deep, conscious breath a day, then guess what? You are meditating. Let’s do it now: Inhale deeply through your nose until your lungs are full, pause for 4 seconds, then exhale fully through your mouth until all of your breath is released. If that felt good, do it again! Try this throughout the day and see how you feel.
- Remember, you don’t need any special equipment or training to meditate. All you need is to set aside some time for yourself to sit, stand or lie down and breathe in and out through your nose. Start by breathing normally, and gradually deepen each breath. Your breath is always with you so you can meditate anywhere, anytime.
- You don’t need to carve off hours each day to meditate. Start with one deep breath then progress to taking ten (count them out). Once you’ve done, that you can set a timer and meditate for one minute. If that feels good, progress to 2 minutes. Even a few minutes a day is enough to see some benefit. I would recommend that you work your way up to 10 to 20 minutes of meditation a day as you get comfortable—but it’s really up to you. If you only have one minute, that’s okay: Find a time frame that works for you.
- Remove all expectations. Don’t try to “get something” out of your meditation, you’ll just end up overthinking it. Aim to enjoy the experience without expectations—and the benefits will follow.
- Never worry if you’re “doing it right.” Sitting with your own thoughts can feel scary because you’re not used to it. Like anything, meditation takes a bit of practice—and each time you do it, you’ll feel more and more comfortable. So go ahead, breathe deeply. See how easy that was?
Malia Herold is a Certified Meditation Instructor and VP of Project Management at Brightworks (Opens in a new window).