If one of your 2022 intentions is to meditate more, you’re not alone. This ancient practice has gained new popularity as people search for ways to calm their anxiety, be more present and even lower their blood pressure. If you’re new to meditation, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of info that’s available online and wonder if you’re showing up late to the party.
Don’t worry. If you don’t practice now, there’s no better time to start.
We’ve put together 20 tips and answers to help you better understand what meditation is and how you can get started.
Let’s look at the basics:
- What is meditation? It’s a practice that involves choosing a time and place to sit without distractions and trying to quiet your mind. Note the word trying: even experienced meditators have days where they sit down to a full-volume monologue in their head. Meditation is often referred to as a practice, because it’s not about perfection. There will be good days and bad days, and they’re all part of the experience.
- Who does meditation benefit? When you look at what meditation really is – a time of quiet and focus – there’s virtually no one who doesn’t benefit from practicing. It’s a chance to step away from screens, notifications and other distractions. That being said, there are many different types of meditations, and some might not be a good fit. Start slowly and check in with yourself to see if your practice feels right.
- What does meditation do? Meditation has endless benefits that range from physical (less pain, reduced blood pressure) to mental (less anxiety and depression) to spiritual (feeling connected to source or intuition). Amazingly, studies have shown that even 15 minutes of meditation per day physically changes your brain. Over time, a bit of time can have a life changing impact.
- Where does meditation come from? Many different cultures have practiced meditation for thousands of years, but it’s widely accepted that the mediation we do today originated in India. Since its inception, it’s been adapted by many groups and countries to suit their needs.
- Are meditation and mindfulness the same thing? Think about it like this: meditation is softball practice, and mindfulness is the game. There are a lot of similarities, but one is about practice and focus, and the other one is about using what you’ve learned. Meditation is a way to practice mindfulness, which means that you’re present in what’s happening for you and around you. With a world full of distractions, meditation is one of the best ways to come back to ourselves and live mindfully.
- When does meditation not work? Especially at the start, it might seem like you’re meditating “wrong.” Your thoughts race and you can’t shake off the memory of that work meeting that didn’t go well. Just know that if you’ve made the choice to sit down, you’re doing meditation right. You might not notice big changes after a day or two, but if you keep up a consistent practice, you’ll start to notice the benefits over time. The most important part is making the time to mediate.
- Which meditation is best for me? There are thousands and thousands of meditation styles and practices that you can choose from. As a beginner, you might want to start with free guided meditation, like the ones on Be Your Best Self. Guided meditations can help you stay focused and on track as you dip your toe into meditation. Over time, you will start to identify the kinds of meditations that work best for you, and might even try to sit on your own.
- Can meditation help anxiety? For many people, meditation absolutely helps with anxiety, depression and a number of mental health issues. This is because practicing meditation is a way to pause and observe your own thoughts, and doing so can help you identify which ones are worth worrying about and which ones are just chatter.
- When should I start? If you have 15 minutes to yourself today, why not go for it? Choose a quiet spot, get into a comfortable seated or laying position, and set your timer so you don’t have to check the clock. Try to focus on your breath or the sounds around you. How do you feel after doing this?
For more tips and meditations, check out the Be Your Best Self YouTube channel or our new podcast.