Let's Meditate

Introduction: Let's Meditate

Meditation can be very beneficial to everyone and yet, a lot of people don't.

For many they don't think they have the time, the space or just plain don't know how to get started and don't have the time to figure it out.

Here I am going to give a quick run down of how to start meditating and a handful of tricks to help you get started. Feel free to skip around in the steps, there is no "correct" way to meditate, find what works for you and if you find what your reading becomes repetitive or boring, move on to the next step.

Quick reminder: I am by no means a meditation expert, doctor, psychologist or any other professional, just some random internet person trying to help others calm down a little.

Supplies

  • You

You may find these helpful but none are necessary

  • Something to sit on--a yoga mat, pillow, blanket or chair
  • Objects that bring you joy
  • Timer
  • Calming or white noise

Step 1: Benefits

Meditation has a slew of benefits, some more well known than others. I'm not going to go in-depth, as I want to keep this a quick read to encourage people to start. So here's the cliff notes of how meditation could help you.

  • Better Sleep
  • Less Stress
  • Lowers Hearth Rate and Blood Pressure
  • Raises Self Awareness
  • Reduces Pain and Promotes Healing
  • Less Anxiety
  • Better Memory

There are a whole lot of other potential benefits to meditating and I encourage you to do your own research into them.

Step 2: Get Started

You don't need anything special to meditate!

You just need to start. The rest of this instructable will be divided into methods to help you focus your meditation but if you'd rather a real quick, "raw guide"...

Start with 2 minutes a day. Just sit.

It can be anywhere, anytime of day.

  • Right after you get up
  • sitting on your floor.
  • Before or after work
  • In your car
  • Lock yourself in the bathroom away from distractions

Just sit

Focus on your breathing and clear your head, when ideas pop up, start again.

Treat it as a game to see how long you can keep your head clear and work from there.

Now if you are interested in a little more in depth, keep reading.

Step 3: Time Commitment

Long story short: Meditation doesn't need a big time commitment.

Start with 2 minutes. Find what works in your schedule, whether that is aiming for 2 minutes a day or 2 minutes a week, by all means do what works for you. All that matters is showing up.

Find a time that works for you, maybe it is when you first get up, after your morning shower, right before bed, while waiting to pick your kids up from school*, before you leave work or challenge yourself to take 2 minutes whenever you realize you've delved into a mindless social media hole. Just find a time that works for you and try to be consistent.

Once you have Found the time and feel comfortable doing so, add another minute. Try working up to 5, then 10 minutes. I use the guide, once you can keep your routine for 7 "sessions" bump it up. Find a way to keep track, this can be a fancy chart or a simple set of tally marks on some scrap paper. If your goal is everyday, once you complete a full week of your goal time, bump it up. Once a week? bump it up after two months. If you ever feel like you're spending too much time or can't manage, you can always bump the time back down.

Meditation isn't a race, all that matters is showing up when you can, don't worry about setting aside 20 minutes right off the bat, or even working up to that, you'll find a time amount that works for you and your schedule.

If you find yourself struggling with keeping track of time, set a timer. Keep your meditation going for your set time and then stop. Doesn't matter if your mind wandered more than it stayed, don't make meditation a punishment. Do what you can and work on it next time.

*If your family just can't leave you alone try to convince them to join. Have them try meditating for 1 minute before they can ask you anything. If your phone keeps blowing up, set it on airplane mode for two minutes.

Step 4: A Note on Sitting

While I say you don't need anything other than yourself to meditate, many people may find it uncomfortable to sit on the floor.

If this is the case, find something that works for you.

I find the easiest and most adjustable is a blanket to sit on, roll it, fold it, squish it all up, find what's comfortable. Many places recommend, if sitting on the floor, to keep your butt closer to knee height than floor height, find something to sit on.

If you're still not convinced and need someone to reassure you that you aren't doing it wrong, I am here to tell you (no judgment), Sit wherever is comfortable...

Yoga mat? Sure

Pillow? Yep

Giant squishmallow? You got it

Car seat? Totally

Kitchen chair? Do it

Bathtub? Whatever floats your boat

A swing outside? Sounds like bliss.

Just find what is comfortable for you.

Step 5: Focus

The remainder of this instructable will be different ways to help you focus, use them all or find your own. I find this step is the best place to start but find what works for you.

The first method is pretty simple (in theory):

Set a timer (or don't)

Sit and breathe.

Close your eyes, sit tall* and just breathe.

Focus on your breath.

When you notice your mind has wandered, bring it back to your breath.

*see previous step if you need sitting guidance

Step 6: Feel It

Another breath based meditation method.

Lay on your back with your hands on your stomach.

Focus on the movement of your hands as you breathe.

When your mind starts to wander let the feeling of your breath bring you back.

If this is uncomfortable, use a blanket or pillow to prop your head, back or hands(on your stomach) up.

Step 7: Say It

This method uses your voice to center you and bring you back.

Pick one or two syllables to repeat.

This can be one word split into two parts, one word repeated or any two words you like.

Try these...

  • Kum-Quat (Fruits are fun, especially when they sound silly)
  • Fo-cus (Maybe you need the reminder)
  • Om, Om (Just because it is generic, doesn't mean it doesn't work)
  • Yam, Yam (Yam is very conducive to turning into a hum, humming can be helpful)
  • Your, Mom (Embrace your inner child)
  • Cat, Mat (Unrelated, Rhymes, and I like cats)

Words can be anything, serious, funny, dull, find your own words, drop them in the comments, they might help someone else find theirs.

Once you have your words, sit and breathe.

Say your first word with your inhale and the second with your exhale.

The goal of this method is to use the words to bring you back when your mind wanders.

Step 8: See It

Maybe you're more visual, find an item that makes you happy.

Examples...

  • An inspirational poster
  • A calming wall hanging
  • A candle and its flame
  • Crystals or flowers
  • Photos or a mirror
  • A beloved stuffed animal
  • Even your favorite Pop funko

Whatever truly brings you happiness is a great choice, and if you start to get sick of staring at Mothman, feel free to change it up as often as you'd like, it's your meditation.

Once you have your object(s) sit and focus on them.

Focus on the details and when you find your mind straying from your object use it to bring yourself back.

Step 9: Count It

This method involves touch and counting to keep you grounded.

Sit with your eyes closed and breathe.

As you breathe touch your thumbs to each of your other fingers, in turn.

As you touch each finger start counting. count however feels best for you, 1-4 with each different finger or see how high you get before your mind wanders.

As your mind wanders you will likely stop counting. When you notice you have lost count, simply start again and focus on the touch of your fingers as you restart your count.

Step 10: Hear It

Lastly we're going to use sound as an anchor.

Sit with your eyes closed and listen.

Notice as many sounds as you can and choose one to focus on.

  • The hum of your dishwasher
  • Settling of your house
  • Rustling of trees with the wind
  • Tweeting of birds
  • Noise of your children playing
  • Turn on some soft, static music/noise
  • Even silence

Focus your mind on this sound and when you find your mind wander and you aren't listening anymore use the sound to bring you back.

Step 11: Use It

All these methods are pretty similar and ultimately result in the same goal, to focus your mind and sit. Maybe even invite a friend next time.

Some other random notes: You may want to keep a journal and write down how you feel, reoccurring distractions, thoughts and anything else that might come up while meditating. This is by no means necessary (none of this is) but it may be helpful to look back on and see your thoughts over the course of a week, month or even years.

Once you have figured out what works best for you, remember to sit.

Let your mind wander and use the meditation to release the thoughts and distractions that appear.

Once you've released those thoughts bring yourself back to your anchor.

These methods may even work their way into your daily life and help you to live a calmer, more aware life.

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