On Meditation

Written by Jamie

So I have recently tried, for the umpteenth time, to take up meditation on a regular basis.  After learning more about the benefits, I was interested in giving it another shot.  Right now, I’m using the Android Calm app, which is free in the Google Play store.

As I start meditating, my mind always wanders to things I should be doing rather than meditating.  Oh yeah, I need to send that email reminder about an upcoming deadline; I should add granola to my shopping list; I can’t forget to call Sally to see how her sick puppy is doing.  Of course, one of the main principles of meditation is to let those thoughts go in order to remain focused on your body and breathing.

So, how do you trade these nagging thoughts for serenity while meditating?  Here are a few things I have found helpful:

  • Start small: Try meditating for shorter periods of time at first and build up. Even two-minute sessions can feel like a lifetime when you are just beginning.  Start there and lengthen your sessions as you gain comfort with meditation.
  • Try guided: Guided meditation can help you keep your focus where it needs to be. This is a great way to start practicing and get a good feel for meditation.
  • Be patient: It can be very difficult to clear your mind. Give yourself time and practice, and don’t allow yourself to become frustrated if you can’t focus.  Just acknowledge each thought and then attempt to reconnect with your body and breathing.
  • Set a schedule: I always have an easier time sticking with something if I do it at around the same time every day. Try meditating first thing in the morning, during lunch, or after work.  Find a good time that works for you and try to stay consistent until you get into the habit.

I have found that after a meditation session, my mind is clearer and more focused, my body is more relaxed, and any tense muscles are slightly less sore.  Of course, I’m just starting again and expect to see more results as I continue practicing.

For a scientific look at different types of meditation and how they may impact the brain, read the latest Scientific American article on meditation.

Join the conversation!  Have you tried meditation?  What positive results have you seen, and what tips do you have for beginners?

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