How to Start a Meditation Practice: 4 Must-Know Tips for Beginners
So you want to start meditating, but aren’t sure how to get started. You’re not alone. First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for taking a step towards increased health and happiness.
Perhaps you’ve heard or read all the research pointing to the fact that a consisted meditation practice can boost your happiness, lead to better health outcomes and even reverse aging. Once you start reaping the benefits of meditation, you won’t want to go back for more.
Here are some powerful tips and tricks for first-time meditators to get started.
Tip #1: Use a Guided Meditation
For beginner meditators, guided meditations are better than trying to sit quietly on your own because being so new to the practice can be frustrating. Listening to a guided meditation on YouTube or downloading the app Headspace onto your phone will allow you to go deeper and get more out of your meditation when you’re first starting out.
Eventually, as you become more advanced, you won’t need to rely on a guided meditation and can practice on your own.
Here is one meditation that I recommend: a 20-minute guided meditation by Vishen Lakhiani.
Tip #2: Practice Daily
Imagine going to the gym one day and getting in an amazing workout. Then, you go home, look in the mirror and decide your body looks exactly the same as it did yesterday, so you quit.
We know that in order to see the physical benefits of our exercise regimen, we need to work out consistently—at least three times a week. Meditation is no different.
If you meditate once and declare that you didn’t notice any difference on your wellbeing or your stress levels so you’re going to quit, that’s exactly the same as the gym example.
Just like going to the gym, we have to go every day, or at least most days, in order to see the benefits.
It’s better to practice every day, rather than just 3-4 times a week because once it becomes a habit, it becomes a part of your routine and you don’t need to force yourself.
Tip #3: Start Small
I started meditating with just two minutes a day. Knowing what I know about habit formation, that it’s often best to attach the new habit to an already established habit, I decided to meditate every morning after brushing my teeth for two minutes.
Every week I added on another minute, until a couple months later I was consistently meditating for 20-25 minutes each morning. It became an established habit, I started to notice how amazing I’d feel afterwards and I started looking forward to it in the same way I looked forward to my workouts.
Now, I meditate for one, sometimes two hours each day. This is unusual though, and you don’t need to meditate for more than 10-15 minutes to reap the benefits, so start small.
The two minutes a day is simply to establish the habit, to get your emotional brain on board. This is the part of the brain that just wants to lay in bed all day and binge watch Netflix and eat gummy worms. You have to convince this part of you that—hey, it’s only two minutes. Let’s do it.
Then your emotional brain says, “Only two minutes? Ok…I guess I can do that”.
On the other hand, if you try to convince your emotional brain that you’re suddenly going to meditate for 30 minutes each day, it will put up a huge barrier full of sabotage. “What’s the point? Let’s just sleep longer”.
Tip #4: Try Different Meditation Techniques
Just as there are several different ways to exercise (running, HIIT, the gym, going for a hike, swimming, Pilates, Yoga, etc.), there are several types of meditation practices.
You could try guided meditations, loving kindness meditations, creative visualization, walking meditations, mindfulness meditations, transcendental meditation, or even Yoga. Yes, yoga is also a form of meditation.
Start with the type of meditation that most appeals to you, but if you don’t like the meditation, try another one. It’s good to mix it up from time to time.
So there you have it. I hope this was helpful and I wish you an amazing journey in your discovery of meditation and the powerful benefits.
If you need extra motivation, read how meditation can help you heal from illness.