Amid life’s daily hecticness, meditation can offer peace of mind and an escape from the anxiety that comes with simply being human.
According to Healthline, the practice can reduce stress, build stronger self-awareness, lengthen one’s attention span, improve sleep and lower one’s blood pressure.
And although it might seem as if there’s a specific science behind it, meditating properly is actually not as difficult as one would think.
Of the various forms of meditation (from spiritual meditation to mantra meditation), perhaps the two most popular variations are awareness meditation and mindfulness meditation.
Awareness meditation involves recognizing one’s thoughts and emotions as they arise, while mindfulness meditation entails being fully present and conscious of one’s actions.
For those looking to achieve a heightened sense of awareness and mindfulness, Mindworks offers an easy step-by-step process to meditation (which can be found below). The educational non-profit group recommends beginning with periods of five to 10 minutes of meditation every day before gradually adding length to your sessions.
1. To start, get comfortable
Find a quiet area where you can practice meditating daily. Next, choose a posture that best suits you — you can sit in a chair or on a cushion. Either way, Mindworks suggests sitting up straight so that your back is aligned.
2. Be present
Notice how your body feels as you slowly ease into meditating. If you feel any tension, you can either “observe” it or relax your body.
Mindworks also recommends keeping your eyes half open with your gaze directed down and in front of you. Doing so, as opposed to keeping your eyes closed, can help improve alertness.
3. Pay attention to your breathing
Breathing, as Mindworks notes, “should come naturally.” The more you meditate, the calmer your breathing should be.
Occasionally, your mind may wander as you focus on your breathing. This is relatively normal, according to the group. As those sporadic thoughts come and go, try to bring your attention back to your breathing.
4. Consider the sensations flowing throughout your body
Conduct a mental scan of your body, beginning with your toes. How do they feel? From there, move your way up to your legs, hips, chest, neck and head. Be attentive to the sensations you get from each body part. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your body.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Like all things, meditation becomes easier the more you practice it. In fact, practicing is crucial to mindfulness meditation, Mindworks points out.
6. Be regularly mindful
Being mindful means acknowledging the present moment, instead of worrying about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Mindfulness doesn’t only help your mental well-being, it can also improve your physical health (from strengthening your immune system to improving memory retention).
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