Why Meditation Can Change Your Life + Beginner Tips + The Best Apps to Learn How to Meditate
Meditating has tremendous benefits, but can be intimidating for a beginner. I started meditating every day almost six months ago, and it has been amazing for my health and well-being. Let me tell you now it is not an easy thing, and takes lots of practice and concentration. The benefits will make it worth the effort. Meditation improves your immune system, lowers blood pressure, and of course reduces stress. One major thing that has helped me to practice meditation, and stick with it was watching videos, and using meditation apps. Yes, meditation apps are a big help especially for a beginner.
Below are my most helpful beginner tips and my favorite apps for meditating. These four apps helped me tremendously, and have been designed by experts to help you practice, focus, and relax.
Don’t Focus to Much on the How or Where
Don’t focus to much on where you will sit, or even how you will sit. Especially for the beginners, start with sitting on the floor, or on your bed. You can start sitting with your legs crossed or with your legs straight out in front of you. As long as you can find a quiet place you should be good! Whatever feels comfortable at first, you can always change the way you sit further in. You might feel like you’re doing it wrong in the beginning, but there is no perfect way to do it. So don’t worry too much!
Observe Your Thoughts
Being mindful can be hard when you have a lot on your mind. When your stressed or worried about work. You feel anxious about your mind wandering off, and it can be hard to quiet your mind. When you simply become aware of your thoughts, and observe them in a non-judgmental way as they come and go. You instantly become more present. A good way to practice this is climbing into bed, getting rid of all distractions. Laying in complete silence for five minutes. Let every thought come and let it go, and don’t be afraid to have uncomfortable thoughts.
Sit For Just Three Minutes
Start with just three minutes a day for a week. If that feels right, and goes well. The second week increase by another two minutes. By Month two you will find yourself meditating for 20 minutes, and it will feel amazing.
Observe Your Breathing
Being that our breathing happens naturally, and it is not something we have to work to do. We rarely pay attention to it. When you concentrate on your breathing it takes you out of your mind, and connects you to the present moment. 3 second inhale, 2 second hold and 4 second exhale. Focusing on your breathing can also help if you struggle with anxiety. You can do breathing exercises that calm your mind, and rid of an anxious mind.
Impede Your Thoughts When they Wonder off
When you find your thoughts wandering off, try your hardest to curb your thoughts. It definitely won’t be easy; it took me months to get it down. I like to ask myself “Am I being mindful of the present moment?” If the answer is no, then I bring myself back to the present moment. Keep your thoughts friendly and loving, but don’t try to shut them down all together.
It will feel frustrating at first, but it’s perfectly normal to not stay focused, when you first get started. This is the practice, and you won’t be good at it for a little while. Lots of people think meditation is about stopping all thoughts, it is not. That is not the ultimate goal of meditation at all.
Do a Body Scan
I use to do this when I first started out, and it helped me a ton; focus your attention on one body part at a time. Start at the soles of your feet slowly moving to the tops of your feet, your ankles, calves, hips, neck, fingers and all the way to the top of your head.
Do it First Thing Each Morning
Set a reminder for every morning when you get up, and put a note that says “meditate” somewhere where you’ll see it. It is better to do it in the morning so you don’t forget about it during the day.
Following guided meditations to can help you get started. The Apps below offer a variety of guided meditations.
Apps to Learn How to Meditate For Beginners
Take a Break
Take a break has to be my favorite app right now. I have had a very hectic schedule the last couple of weeks with starting a new job and finishing up the semester. So the stress has been killing me and has also been killing my focus. Take a break was created by Mary Maddux and Richard Maddux is the perfect app to use to clear your mind. My favorite thing about this app is the two different audio guided meditations. One is longer for an at home deep stress release meditation session, and the other is shorter session for short breaks at school or work. They also incorporate calming music, and nature sounds that you can choose from for each session. Download Take a Break here
Calm is an amazing app that offers a variety of seven day programs, and a 21 days of calm program. Focus, Happiness, Calm, Sleep, Gratitude and Self-Esteem are all the programs offered. If you are looking to make a strong commitment, and really looking to change your lifestyle. To up the stakes, there is a 21 Days of Calm program. For the 21 Days of Calm program there are different topics you can choose from that have different exercises to go along with them. You can choose to focus on creativity, energy, positivity, forgiveness, and more. Click here to download Calm
Omnava has a variety a guided meditations, that are fitted to your current mood. Want to get more sleep? Lose weight? Find Peace?If you are a iPhone user you can take advantage of the app connecting to HealthKit as the app will suggest meditations based on your stress levels. Click here to download Omnava
Sattva is a meditation app that offers free guided meditations, charts, and awesome tracking features. Effortlessly keep track of your meditation efforts and know they are paying off to stay motivated. My favorite feature is the heart rate monitor on the app that tracks your heart rate before and after sessions, and a mood tracker to track your state of mind before and after sessions. They don’t only stop there though, they have many features and tools that will help you as a beginner such as reminders to help you stay on track, an insight engine to demonstrate how meditation is improving your life, and challenges and trophies to inspire and reward you. This is probably my favorite app because it keeps me motivated, and on track. Click here to download Sattva
Have you tried Meditation? What is your favorite thing about meditation?
Do you find it difficult?