What Is Meditation and How To Start Meditating
I recently started to meditate! And after only 20 days, I reduced my stress by 50%. Here is a little article explaining why and how you can also start meditating everyday and boost positive changes in your life.
“I thought that to meditate, you had to sit in the nature.”
I know what you think. You’ve met someone like me before, who just started meditating and he is already trying to convince you that you should meditate too.
Well, you can keep reading because I am not trying to convince anyone here. However, let me tell you my story of why and how I started meditating everyday. The truth is at the end, you may even want to get started too.
Actually, before I even start practicing meditation, I thought that I’d have to sit like this guy on the picture. I thought that to meditate, you had to sit in the nature and be in a calm and peaceful environment.
And that is one of the reason I’ve never gave it a chance before… because I live in Saigon and it’s always noisy and I’m always busy… And I thought that my city life wasn’t suitable with practicing meditation.
“You can start meditating 30 seconds now!”
Meditation can even be 3 simple deep breathes, without thinking of anything in particular.
Just feeling the air coming in, filling your chest and the air coming out, relaxing your body. This is already meditating. And no matter where you are, everybody can do this little exercise.
For example, think about doing it when you are entering your office, before sitting at your desk. 3 deep breath, that’s it. Try it now, it’s a game changer if you’ve never done that before…
So, what is meditation actually…
To be honest, the only thing I know is that there are hundreds if not thousands of forms of meditation. And in practice, I know that it can be as easy as the 3 deep breathes I mentioned just above OR, it can be as complexe as healing a strong addiction or having the power of healing your body.
Meditation to me is a skill, that you have to practice and learn about. This skill serves you on a daily basis to be more present, to learn to listen to yourself more and engage more meaningfully with others around you.
Meditation is a practice that helps to reduce stress, anxiety and discomfort. The big difference I’ve noticed was that I could detect when I was overreacting, overthinking. Thoughts are still part of me and I didn’t stop worrying, but I’ve learned how to bring myself back into the present moment, thanks to the practice of meditation.
Being “in the present moment” is not a naive state of being. Think about it for a minute… We usually plan ahead of what we are going to do, right? And with meditation, you learn to differentiate the moment you plan to do and the moment you do the planned task. Being in the present moment is just “trusting the process”. Trusting you own plan. Focus on your current task. Focus on what your friend is talking about. Be present, “in the now”.
A very inspiring friend of mine actually made this video about “what is meditation”. He has only 79 views but the quality of his explainations are very easy to understand. Go check it out!
How to start meditating,
What I started with was to download an app called Headspace and start their free week of tutorials. After the first 10 courses, you have a greater idea of what it is like to meditate. I decided I would start doing 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed.
I then paid for their yearly subscription for 56$ (you can get -20% off after the first week of trial). The paid subscription granted me access to more guided meditations, exercices that are tailormade for beginners like me. Each mini-course focus on different needs or specific emotions you have at the moment.
How to start meditating,
Don’t push yourself too much. Start by doing 5 or 10 minutes per session. I started with 10 minutes because I wasn’t completly new to the practice and knew I could handle 10 minutes easily. Make it easy for you too!
Your goal should be to get used to this practice, on a daily basis. Set an alarm or a reminder and build a daily habit of meditating. If you skip a day or two, it’s ok, do it on the next day.
Remember, meditation is a skill, it is more important to learn by repetition and integrate it to your daily rythm than aim too high and give up after a few sessions. I’ve decided to do maximum 15 minutes for the first two months of my practice, so I am sure my body and mind will welcome this new habit properly.
Write a meditation journal so you can track some of your feelings and sensations. The Headspace app has an entire reporting section that can be super motivating. For example, I reduced my stress by 50% within the first 20 days of meditation! I’m so exited to keep going!
Finding the right position is an entire chapter in your meditation journey, so don’t try to have everything perfectly set up. Sit somewhere comfortable, a chair or on a cushion. You don’t have to sit on the ground at the very beginning. I started sitting on my bed and on my sofa for the first few sessions.
Make sure you will have 5-10 minutes of “me time” and no one is going to distract you. As you can see in my journal, I got distracted a few times and it’s not pleasant. If you have a large family or some pets, make sure you prevent them to distract you OR invite them to join you!