One of the best things about practicing meditation is that you can experience many of its benefits in the first minute you start. It’s not something that you have to practice for weeks and weeks to notice any changes. However, if you can keep it up on a regular basis, scientific research has found that it can actually change brain patterns that are likely to create a positive shift in your outlook toward life.
To get you motivated, here’s just a few of the benefits of meditation you can reap quickly:
- Reduced anxiety
- Better sleep
- Improved posture
- Less pain
- Lower blood pressure to support heart health
1. Start Slow by Learning How to Breathe the Right Way
In order to increase the odds of keeping up your meditation practice, ease yourself into the habit by taking baby step. The first small step is to learn how to breathe correctly. Obviously, you have to breathe to live, but most people breathe in a way that doesn’t increase relaxation.
You can begin to change this by paying attention to what is happening with the breath. Is your chest moving in, do your upper-body muscles feel tight, or are you breathing out of your mouth rather than your nose? If the answer is yes, you probably aren’t breathing the right way.
Instead, learn to “draw from the well.” This means visualizing your breath coming from the deepest part of your lungs. Keep your shoulders loose and relaxed, and breathe using your diaphragm, the large sheet-like muscle that lies at the bottom of the chest cavity. To find it, place your left hand on your upper chest and your right hand on your abdomen, in the “gap” of your rib cage.
When breathing in and out, your left hand should be still, while your right hand be should moving up and down. Aim to breathe slowly and smoothly which helps to regulate the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide, slow the heart rate and reduce anxiety.
2. Schedule Just 5 Minutes of Meditation into Your Day
Most of us tend to put ourselves last on our list of priorities. The problem is, if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to take care of your responsibilities. Start by scheduling just five minutes of meditation each day – in a place where you can be by yourself in a quiet environment. If you need to, take an extra five minutes in the bathroom if that’s the only place you can be alone.
3. Get a Guided Meditation or Meditate to Your Own Peaceful Scene
There are lots of guided meditation apps and albums out there. If you find one you like you can use that, but it isn’t necessary. You can do it on your own by getting comfortable and visualizing a peaceful scene, perhaps dipping your toes into the sand while watching the waves, lying on a grassy knoll, or listening to the sounds of a flowing stream.
You can close your eyes and slowly breathe deeply from your diaphragm. Breathe in slowly for a count of 8, hold for a count of 4, and slowly breathe out to a count of 8. Continue as you imagine yourself in your very own happy scene. If distracting thoughts get in the way of your concentration, don’t worry. Let the thoughts come and then watch them float away as if they were on a cloud. Then, go back to that tranquil scene and your deep-breathing.
4. Go on a Retreat
When anxiety and stress get the best of us, it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle that’s difficult to break. When we are stuck in the cycle of going and doing it makes it nearly impossible to relax enough to meditate.
If that sounds like you, perhaps you’re in need of a health retreat. It can be a great way to hit the reset button if you will and take a digital detox. This will allow you to calm, destress, and get yourself back in a more relaxed state of mind that makes it easier to meditate.