Top Five Tips for Successful Meditation
- Start with a Goal
- Maintain a Regular Schedule
- Focus on Breathing
- Isolate Frustrations
- Try Different Settings
Mindfulness and meditation are quickly becoming important practices for mental health and well-being in western countries. Like yoga, the type of meditation that is most commonly practiced in western countries today has its roots in eastern religious practices. While it may help some people get the most from their sessions, it’s not necessary to learn about traditional rituals before beginning a meditation routine. Mindfulness and meditation have a secular tradition in the East as well as the West. The benefits of daily meditation include reduced blood pressure and greater mental clarity. The following tips can help anyone get started.
1. Start with a Goal
One of the easiest ways to get off-track when attempting to learn meditation is to start the process without a clear goal in mind. Some of the most experienced meditators in the Buddhist tradition spend up to 14 hours per day in meditation for as long as a year. This extreme immersion in meditation can’t be sustained for a very long time, but it can make a big difference in the overall health and mental clarity of the practitioner. Very few meditators have the free time needed to meditate for 14 hours per day, but every meditator should set a goal for their progress at the outset. Most guided meditation apps offer users a selection of personal goals for their practice. Beginning practitioners can simply follow the guided instructions in the app of their choice to see improvements over a specified period of time.
2. Maintain a Regular Schedule
Keeping a regular meditation schedule is important for anyone who wants to progress to the next level of mindfulness. The amount of time spent meditating translates directly to the number of benefits gained by the practitioner. A regular schedule makes it easy to keep track of the number of hours spent meditating each week. According to Web MD, some of the benefits of meditation include reduced stress, improved immune function, and better concentration. Practicing meditation irregularly can make it difficult to experience these benefits. The mind and body respond to patterns and rhythms in daily activities, such as eating, sleeping, and exercising. Meditation can be another positive habit to add to this list for anyone who wants to gain insight into the nature of consciousness.
3. Focus on Breathing
As almost all guided meditation apps stipulate, focusing on breathing is the ideal way to reach a meditative state. During a meditation session, the mind will be able to focus on various thoughts and objects, but it will not be able to focus on abstract thoughts or objects that are not immediately perceptible through the five senses. The mind does not engage in a stream of consciousness or use language during meditation.
4. Isolate Frustrations
Being distracted by life’s frustrations can end a meditation session before it gets started. Before sitting down to meditate, think about what has been causing frustration. Put these worries out of your mind for the duration of your meditation session.
5. Try Different Settings
The location of a meditating session can make a big difference in the quality and outcome of the session. The location doesn’t have to be completely silent, but distractions should be kept to a minimum. If your usual location doesn’t seem to be working, try a new setting in a different place.
As many people have learned after beginning a meditation routine with good intentions, getting the hang of this challenging practice can be tricky. By following these simple tips, anyone can benefit from the ancient practice of meditation.