Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly
Eugene K. Choi
Imagine yourself running at top speed. After a few minutes pass, you feel yourself slowly getting out of breath. You feel the aches in your muscles as your body slows down but you keep pushing yourself to keep going. Eventually, you collapse because you’ve exhausted all energy and you can no longer function.
For many people, this is what we do to our minds when we are constantly under stress. All the thoughts dictated by our endless to-do lists accompanied by our worries and fears are burning out our brains.
What if I told you there was a simple process backed by science that you can do in as little as 20 minutes a day that will lower your stress levels, improve your decision making skills and relieve anxiety?
This process is meditation. It has now become widely popular with over 18 million people practicing it in the U.S. Alone.
The actual practice of meditation can be done in many different ways but the one type that has shown promising results is known as mindfulness meditation.
The purpose of the practice is to train your mind to be firmly focused on the present moment. It involves the act of focusing your attention on something such as your breathing, as well as taking moments to simply observe and be aware of things around and within you.
Meditation is what helps you to be in a restful and recuperative state where you are not controlled by your thoughts and feelings. As a result your mind will become better able to manage them in a way where you just observe them so you can make better decisions.
Just like how exercises will make your body physically stronger, this mental exercise will make your brain stronger. It activates the parts of your brain that promote things like intelligence, empathy, and happiness just to list a few.
It’s a known fact that our brain start slowly shrinking starting around the age of 30, but keeping your brain in shape with meditation can prevent the shrinking altogether. When we’re too busy, we may not notice the subtle symptoms of our body. For example, when we are stressed, there are early symptoms such as tightness, irritation and heaviness in the body. When we ignore these symptoms, it can lead to much more amplified symptoms such as high blood pressure, fatigue and anxiety.
Meditation helps you become more aware with what your body has been trying to communicate with you about your health and well-being in order address certain issues before it’s too late.
Over 50 years of scientific research has shown compelling evidence of the many different types of benefits meditation can have on both your brain and your body.
One of the most compelling piece of evidence for meditation that I have found was that it literally changes your brain. Brain scans have shown that the neuron rich part of the brain known as grey matter was noticeably increased in multiple areas of the brain involved with important functions such as decision making, emotional regulation and memory.
A simple way to meditate (even for absolute beginners)
If you’ve never meditated before, spending as little as 2 minutes a day may be a great start to develop a meditation habit and experience the results.
One thing to keep in mind is that meditation isn’t about trying to stop your thoughts. It’s more about being aware of them and then simply allowing them to come and go.
All you need is a comfortable space where you are likely not to be disturbed and do the following:
1. Sit with your back straight at a comfortable level, either on a chair or on the floor (Whichever is more comfortable).
2. Start by leaving your eyes open with a relaxed soft focus.
3. Take one deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
4. While breathing out, gently close your eyes and resume normal breathing
5. Take a moment to pause and enjoy being present in the moment. Feel the pressure of your body on the chair beneath you, the feet on the floor and the hands and the arms just resting on the legs.
6. Gently bring the focus back to your breathing and notice the breath and the body with its rising and falling sensation.
7. When you’ve realized your mind has wandered from any thoughts, sounds or other sensations, gently bring the focus back to your breath again.
8. Gradually bring the attention back to your body and the space around you. Then gently open your eyes again.
9. Take a moment to soak in how that felt for you before going about your day.
One of the key ways that meditation helps you, is by bringing you to the realization that you are not your thoughts or feelings; meditation frees you if you’ve been chained by your thoughts. By simply connecting with and being more aware of yourself, you develop the amazing ability to handle stress, improve your health and increase your intellect.
So take two minutes now to close your eyes, focus on your breath and be present. Then you’ll be on your way to changing your life for the better.