So after last week’s 10 Steps to Change Your Life Starting Today post a lot of you messaged me about the meditation section, so I thought I would answer some of your questions in this week’s Monday Motivation as a bit of advice on meditation for beginners.

Meditation has become very important to me, it helps me keep focus, clarity and optimism. Meditation is proven to reduce stress, improve sleep, boost energy and can even help you lose weight.

Now, obviously I am not an expert, I just do my own thing and it works for me. I’ve picked up random tips and info from people and places over the years that have helped me find something that suits.

What is meditation?

By dictionary definition, Meditation is: The action or practice of profound spiritual or religious reflection or contemplation; spec. a variety of private devotional exercise consisting of the continuous application of the mind to the contemplation of a particular religious text, truth, mystery, or object.

But if you’re like me and not necessarily looking for something in depth or religious then meditation can simply be finding the time to relax into yourself and simply ‘be’ for a short while. It’s about focusing on the content of your mind for the content’s sake, acknowledging its presence and organising it rather than engaging directly; meditation, for me, helps you clear the path of obstacles, you then walk the path everyday and deal with it. Here are some of the questions you’ve asked, all the answers are my own personal experience.

Is it hard?
The act itself is not hard, but finding the time to truly switch off can be. There are many types of Meditation, from straightforward mindfulness, to guided meditation where you are led on an imaginary journey, usually by a recording, as well as Transcendental Meditation where you use mantras that are repeated. I tend to use the former two. The first helps me chillout and is great for when I am limited on time, the second is for when I have more time and can take a fuller journey.

Do I need to take a class?
While I would always recommend getting help and advice from a professional, there are lots of guided meditations and info only and in books that you can use. This is how I got started.

“I’m always on the go, I really don’t have the time”
An excuse for the ages! You really don’t need a lot of time to do this, maximum of about 20 minutes a day. There are even typed of active meditation where you can focus on your feet as you walk as a way of being present in the moment. A lot of the time I even do my meditations on the morning commute to work!

Is it possible to meditate on a busy train?
Yup! In short. Obviously this is on the chance you are lucky enough to get a seat, but I have both guided meditations and relaxing meditation music on my phone to listen to on the tube when I get a seat. It’s a great way to start the day and to prepare your outlook to positive things, helping the day go the way you want.

How do you meditate?
I follow three basic steps when meditating; I focus on my breath – I am literally trying to centre myself through deep breathes from the belly. I’m focused on my breath, when you start I recommend easy breathing in through the nose then out through the mouth. As you get more comfortable you can elongate the breath and focus in and out the nose. Step two is to relax. I focus on any muscles that are tense or pains and niggles I have. Being aware of the state of your body helps you to relax. Finally, I focus on positive thinking. If you are using meditation to help with stress relief, for example, don’t focus on the cause, focus on the solution and how the outcome will feel.

How do you meditate to music?
So we’re clearly not talking about the lasted Top 40, we’re talking about calming music, instrumental with soft and lulling sounds, if soundscapes can work. When simply meditating to music, I choose what I want to be my focus – positivity, letting go or whatever. I then guide myself through questions to help myself become present. Questions like, ‘What do I want from today?’, ‘What do I need to get me there?’, ‘What can I do to achieve that?’, ‘Who am I in relation to my goal?’, ‘What limiting beliefs are stopping me?’, and ‘How can I best love myself?’ or ‘How can I best take care of myself?’.

Hopefully you will find something that works for you, you can find some example videos and music from YouTube below to help with your meditation. I challenge you to try it at least three times this week, and let me know how you get on. If you already practice, get in touch on Facebook and share your tips.

 

Happy Monday, everyone. Have a great week.

Neil

 

Some music examples from YouTube

Guided Meditation

 

 

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Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.