How to Meditate When You Have No Idea Where to Start
If you’re wondering how to meditate, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve heard all sorts of things about how good it can be for you. People love to suggest meditation for a variety of reasons: to reduce stress and anxiety, to ease depression, to put you to sleep, to make you feel more present, to magically transform you into a better, more grounded human being. The claims go on and on. And while the benefits of meditation have been greatly exaggerated in a lot of ways, plenty of people find it to be a worthwhile practice and we agree. With everything going on in the world, it’s a solid time to explore meditation and whether it might be useful for you too.
Meditation may seem simple—and in many ways, it is—but people are often unsure where to start and whether they’re doing it correctly. To help you learn how to meditate and integrate it into your life, SELF asked meditation experts some of your most common meditation questions.
Check out these six signs that you are meditating correctly:
6 Easy Tips on How to Meditate Properly
1. Following Instructions in Guided Meditations
2. Having No Expectations
3. Experiencing Positive Changes in Daily Life
4 Detachment from Desires
5. Comfort While Meditations
6.What are the benefits of meditation
#1 Following Instructions in Guided Meditations
Have you noticed that it’s much easier to dive deeper into meditation when guided with a few instructions? For many, guided meditations are a great way to start a practice. While listening to guided meditations, make sure to follow the instructions, as they are like rails that keep a train on its tracks, guiding you to your higher Self.
#2 Having No Expectations
Have you observed while driving that at certain times you experience beautiful scenery and a clear road, but at other times you find yourself stuck in traffic? Yet, regardless of what happens on the way, you arrive at the destination. Likewise, whether your mind seems to be stuck with busy thoughts or in a state of calm bliss during the process, meditation works, bringing us relaxation, purification, and expansion of consciousness.
When the mind is turbulent while meditating, our tendency is to attach judgments to that experience. However, rather than judging an unsettled meditation as “good” or “bad,” recognize that all happenings in meditation are simply a part of the stress release process. Whether we feel scattered or blissful, it’s all a beneficial part of the experience!
#3 Experiencing Positive Changes in Daily Life
While many judge the quality of their meditation by what happens when they close their eyes, the true test of a practice’s effectiveness is in your daily life. If you find more calmness, relaxation, clarity of mind, and sensitivity towards the needs of others, then your meditation is doing its work. And if you notice more random happiness throughout the day, know that you’re meditating correctly.
Even if you’re not feeling any changes, you still might be meditating correctly; sometimes the changes are very subtle. If you have doubts, voice your concerns to a meditation teacher.
#4 Detachment from Desires
Do you sometimes find yourself getting caught up in your desires and worries? Everyone experiences desires, and the goal of meditation is not to eliminate all desires. However, a correct, long-term meditation practice will help you develop a feeling of detachment from desires; you begin to perceive yourself controlling them rather than allowing them to control you.
#5 Comfort While Meditating
it’s always advisable to sit when you meditate. Whether you sit on a sofa, chair, bed, or the floor, make sure you don’t lie down or incline your body. Lying down may result in sleepiness, as the body expects sleep when in a horizontal position.
Sitting with a straight back is important. However, feeling comfortable is equally important to ensure a deep, quality meditation. If you find yourself fidgeting, or feeling distracted by aches in the body, practice yoga asanas beforehand to release physical tension and develop strength and flexibility over time. Doing so will allow you to relax into a seated pose for the duration of your meditation.
#6 What are the benefits of meditation?
Here’s where things get a little tricky. The proven scientific benefits of mindfulness meditation are hard to sum up (so much so that SELF has a whole separate explainer on it). The TL;DR is that there are three conditions with a strong and convincing body of evidence to support the effects of meditation: depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Meaning, a not insignificant amount of meta-reviews and meta-analyses have found that mindfulness meditation can moderately help with symptoms associated with these conditions (or in the case of chronic pain, how people cope with symptoms, at least). For a full breakdown of what we do and don’t know about the health benefits of mindfulness meditation.
What is the most effective method of meditation?
How do you meditate in bed?
- Find a quiet area. Sit or lie down, depending on what feels most comfortable. Lying down is preferable at bedtime.
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Inhale and exhale deeply. Focus on your breathing.
- If a thought pops up, let it go and refocus on your breathing.