Stress can control our lives in unexpected ways. According to WebMD, an estimated 75 to 90 percent of doctor visits are linked to stress. Stress elicits mental and emotional responses in the body; therefore, combating stress with a mental exercise, meditation, can help alleviate stress-related symptoms.
Here are five ways to get started on your meditation journey:
Meditation requires focus. You will need to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. A simple room without any technology is a good start. Also, your phone should be put on silent, or turned off entirely. Make sure that your meditation space is comfortable. A mat or comfy chair will work nicely. Discomfort will only bring you out of focus. Your local recharj studio is the optimal environment for your meditation practice.
Find a Focus
Breathing is often a good place to start. Your breath will always be there; it is forever constant. This continuity is why it is a go-to exercise for meditation. Pick a pattern of breathing that is comfortable and focus only on that. St. Augustine suggests that you direct your attention to the part of your body you feel is most affected by your breathing. It could be your stomach, your chest, your throat, mouth or nostrils, for instance. Do this for about ten to twenty minutes. Increase your meditation time as you see fit.
Set a Schedule
Practice makes perfect. Pick a regular time to meditate and try to use the same space.
Listening to a recording might help you stay on track. Your mind is used to wandering; therefore, having a set exercise will help you stay on track. After a while your brain will be better trained for more advanced meditation techniques.
By training yourself to focus on your breath, you are focusing on the moment, which is the ultimate goal of mindfulness. It is a skill that can be difficult at the start, but will come easier and easier to you. Think of it like jumping jacks for your brain. The more you do this the more you will actually strengthen and grow your brain. It’s not a quick fix with magical results, nor is it going to make us immune to the life’s challenges, but it will set you on the path to living a happier life.
If the meaning of life hasn’t come to you within your first session, do not worry! This initial effort is completely natural, it is the human condition. There is no wrong way to meditate. Similar to building a muscle, exercising your mind takes practice. If you take the stairs and notice your heart starts to beat faster and maybe your legs start to burn, we wouldn’t say that we must be taking the stairs wrong. We say that this is what taking the stairs feels like; and if we always take the elevator in order to save time and avoid discomfort we just missed opportunities for developing our physical health. Mindfulness works the same way. Do not miss an opportunity to change your relationship with discomfort. Focus and compassion will come, just be patient and persistent; you will start discovering progress in the little things throughout your day as your practice develops. This is your journey; you choose how you want to proceed. Good luck, and be mindful.
Originally published at www.recharj.com on July 15, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com