How to Do Meditation

young black woman meditating

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For many, the concept of meditation is intriguing, but doing it may seem out of reach. Meditation can even seem pretty obscure to most people, yet it can actually be very simple.

This article will help you learn what meditation is and if there is a specific way to meditate. You will also learn some of the benefits of meditation.

What Is Meditation?

In plain, to meditate means to engage in thought or contemplation or to reflect. So you may meditate regularly without even realizing it.

As long as you are contemplating or engaging in thought, you're practicing meditation.

Is There a Specific Way to Meditate?

There is no right or wrong way to meditate. So, if you don't sit with your legs crossed and your eyes closed, that does not discount what your meditation practice may look like.

With so many methods and instructors that practice meditation, you may be wondering if there is a blueprint for meditation that can help get you started.

Lori Snyder, long-time yoga and meditation teacher, author, and founder of the Writers Happiness Movement, says that there are so many different ways to meditate.

Lori Snyder, Meditation Teacher

Meditation is merely the act of observing and calming all the thoughts and emotions that arise in us as humans so that we can see what is real and true.

— Lori Snyder, Meditation Teacher

Without a blueprint, you can be creative in how you practice meditation. Things like mental growth, freedom, and an "open door" to explore feelings and experiences all seem to be possible when there's no specific way to practice meditation.

And, as Snyder noted, "The one thing to avoid is anyone who tells you their method is the only "right" one. Run screaming from those people."

Can Anyone Meditate?

Yes! Max Dewkes, a meditation coach who's practiced meditation daily for 10 years, says, "Meditation is the act of purifying our nervous system, so as long as you have a nervous system, meditation is for you!"

You don't have to be perfect. All you have to do is breathe and try it. You may like it, or you might not. The cool thing is you can tweak it to your liking because there is no right or wrong way to meditate.

Meditation for Beginners

If you are looking to begin meditation, Lori Snyder has provided a simple guide that you can follow. Starting, you should only do a few minutes as this experience is an introduction:

  1. Set a timer for one or two minutes, no more than five to start
  2. Find a comfortable place to sit where you feel supported. It can be on a chair or couch, on the floor, or on a cushion. If you're sitting on something with a back, scoot forward so you're not touching it. This will help you remain upright. (In fact, when starting, don't lie down because you may fall asleep).
  3. Then, with eyes open or closed, bring your attention to your breathing. Watch how it feels to breathe in and breath out.
  4. Notice the temperature of the air, how the lungs fill and empty, where you feel your breath. Don't worry if the mind wanders—that's OK! Just as soon as you notice it wandering, gently draw it back.
  5. When the timer goes off, notice how you feel, and then go about your day.

Dewkes states that, "Guided meditations are a great place to start as they help beginners come back to the task [at] hand if they get distracted in thought. I recommend Headspace or Waking Up."

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditating is a calming practice. It is also centering to become one with your thoughts which inevitably allows you to focus and hone in on your inner thoughts.

Cutting out the chaos of the world in itself is beneficial, so the results are instantly successful. However, Snyder emphasizes that meditation is a practice, which means that it is ongoing. You're not necessarily looking for finite results.

Snyder also shares that meditation has fruitful benefits:

  • You may become more loving, kinder, and compassionate toward yourself and others
  • You might be less fearful
  • You may become less anxious and less depressed
  • You might sleep better
  • You may be able to be a more authentic version of yourself
  • You might be happier
  • You may heal from the effects of trauma
  • You may gain a better understanding of how to respond to external forces
  • You may be able to handle hardship more effectively
  • You may gain more clarity about your choices

Snyder also believes that everyone could benefit from meditation, but especially people that feel stressed and anxious. She also recommends finding a method and/or teacher the resonates with you.

The Best Location to Meditate

Now that you have all of this information, where are you going to meditate? Finding the best location to meditate is essential in getting the most out of the experience.

Create a Peaceful Space

You have to pick somewhere that's going to be your sanctuary; somewhere you can feel ultimate peace and oneness within yourself. And sometimes you have to create that space with minimal resources.

Snyder realizes that in a perfect world we'd all have a separate room beautifully decorated where we can meditate; however such luxuries don't exist for those of us in the real world. So if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom or car that's OK. In this instance, she recommends breathing deeply and slowly.

According to Dewkes, quiet spaces are better because they have the least chance of distractions. Comfort is important when meditating, so sitting on your bed crossed-legged with the bed board supporting your straight spine is best.

Ultimately, meditating can only be what you make of it. Because meditating is a huge percentage of mental capacity, focusing on centering yourself and being in the moment with your thoughts is essential. Once again, there is no "right" way to meditate.

You can even try guided meditation and revamp it to your liking. There's even such a thing as bathtub meditation. What's important is that you receive what you intend to. Set goals for yourself, and work towards growth.

Simply taking five minutes out of your day to devote time to yourself and prepare for the day can make a big difference in your well-being.

Self-care is all about taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional health. Meditation has a positive effect on all three of these areas. So, making time to meditate, even if only for a few minutes, can benefit your health.

Even if you don't find meditation to be for you, choosing to take deep breaths with eyes closed for five minutes when you wake in the morning instead of immediately hopping out of bed can get your body ready for the day ahead.

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2 Sources
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  2. Hilton L, Maher AR, Colaiaco B, et al. Meditation for posttraumatic stress: Systematic review and meta-analysisPsychol Trauma. 2017;9(4):453-460. doi:10.1037/tra0000180