Those who say that they are too busy for meditation are the ones who need it most. I was one of those people. But after years of scattered thoughts and ADHD-like tendencies, I knew I had to try something to calm my scattered brain.
It’s been about 20 years, but meditation is still a non-negotiable part of my morning routine.
Meditation can seem intimidating at first, especially if you’re new to it. Many people think of spiritual gurus when they hear the word meditation, conjuring images of folks lounging on cushions in a cloud of incense and mellow sitar tunes. That sounds pretty good, but it is not at all required. (That’s why they call it “practice”; it’s a learned skill.)
Meditation has been practiced for centuries. It offers a wide range of benefits, both physical and mental. Here are just a few:
Reduces stress and anxiety
One of the best-known benefits of meditation is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Meditating can quiet your mind and calm your body, which can help lower your stress levels and improve your overall sense of well-being.
Improves focus and concentration
If you have a hard time staying on task or tend to get easily distracted, meditation can help. It helps improve your focus and concentration by teaching you to be more present and mindful in the moment.
Meditation allows you to tune in to your thoughts and feelings in a way that can help you better understand yourself. It can also help you become more aware of any negative thought patterns or behaviors that may be holding you back.
Promotes emotional well-being
Regular meditation can help you manage your emotions more effectively and respond to difficult situations more calmly. It can also help you cultivate positive emotions such as gratitude and compassion.
Improves physical health
Meditation has been shown to have a number of physical health benefits as well. It can lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and even boost the immune system.
Relationships with others can improve and become more meaningful if you practice meditation to help you become more mindful and present. Additionally, it can aid in the development of empathy and compassion for others, resulting in more amicable interactions.
Through relaxation, self-reflection, and inner peace, meditation can help foster greater joy in life. You will be happier not only with yourself, but also with the world around you!
How Do I Begin?
So, how do you get started with meditation? One tip I have for beginners is to start small. Don’t feel like you have to set aside an hour each day to meditate right off the bat. Even just a few minutes of meditation each day can be incredibly beneficial. I started with 5 minutes; now, most mornings, I start with 20 minutes. As I said, that’s why they call it “practice”—you get better the more you do it.
Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down, and set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, letting your thoughts come and go without getting too caught up in them. If your mind starts to wander, gently redirect your attention back to your breath.
It’s okay if you find your mind wandering a lot at first—that’s completely normal. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at staying present and focused.
If you’re new to meditation, it can be helpful to start small and gradually increase the length of your practice as you become more comfortable. It’s also a good idea to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down and to set a timer, so you don’t have to worry about the time passing. It can take some time to get the hang of it, but the more you practice, the more you’ll start to see the benefits.
Beware the ‘Monkey Mind’
The concept of “monkey mind” is often used in the context of meditation to describe the restless, scattered, anxious state of mind. It’s called “monkey mind” because the mind jumps around from thought to thought, much like a monkey swinging from branch to branch.
In meditation, the goal is often to quiet the monkey mind and bring the focus to the present moment. This can be challenging, especially for beginners, because the mind is naturally drawn to wander and is easily distracted.
The monkey mind can be particularly active during times of stress or anxiety, making it even more difficult to quiet the mind and find inner peace. This is one of the reasons why meditation is so helpful for reducing stress and anxiety: it helps to calm the monkey mind and bring a sense of clarity and focus.
One way to deal with the monkey mind during meditation is to simply acknowledge the thoughts as they come up and then let them go. This helps you dissociate from your thoughts and allows you to return to the present moment.
It’s also helpful to have a specific focus during meditation, such as the breath or a mantra, to help bring the mind back to the present when it starts to wander. With practice, it becomes easier to quiet the monkey mind and find a sense of inner calm and clarity through meditation.
When to Meditate
There is no “best” time to meditate; the most important thing is to find a time that works for you and fits into your schedule. Personally, I find mornings optimal; it clears away the grogginess of the morning and makes me more focused and ready to tackle the day.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding when to meditate:
Some people find it easier to meditate when feeling rested and energized, while others prefer to meditate to wind down at the end of the day. Experiment with different times of the day to see when you feel most focused and alert.
Consider your daily routine and see if there are any natural lulls in your schedule that could be a good time for meditation. For example, some people like to meditate first thing in the morning, while others prefer to meditate in the evening before bed.
Time of day
Some people find it easier to meditate in the morning when the mind is fresh and the day has yet to get hectic. Others prefer to meditate in the evening as a way to unwind after a busy day.
Ultimately, the best time to meditate is whenever you can carve out a few minutes for yourself and find a quiet, comfortable space to sit or lie down. So, choose a time that works for you and stick with it—the important thing is to make meditation a regular part of your routine.