Getting started with meditation

Meditation is a state where your body and mind are relaxed and focused at the same time. People who practice mediation often report increased awareness, focused, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook on life.

You may associate mediation with monks, mystics, and other spiritual disciplines. However, you don’t have to be any of those things to enjoy its benefits. In fact, you can actually try it at home!

There are many different approaches to meditation, but the principles remain the same. The most important thing is removing negative and wandering thoughts, and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus. This allows for more deep, meaningful thoughts.

Many people even shut out as much sensory input as they can, including eliminating lights, sounds, and most touch. That lets you focus more easily on your thoughts. It may seem odd at first, since we’re used to constantly seeing and hearing things. But as you adjust, it allows you to become even more aware than normal.

If you’ve seen people in weird positions meditating on television or the movies, don’t worry. The real idea is to be in a comfortable position that’s conducive to concentrating. That can be sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down, or even walking.

Basically, if it lets you relax and focus, it’s a good starting point. Whether you’re sitting or standing, your back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In all positions, the biggest thing you want to avoid is being so relaxed that you fall asleep.

As far as attire goes, loose, comfortable clothing helps a lot. Tight fitting clothing is usually not conducive to relaxing.

For the location, you need somewhere with a soothing atmosphere. Maybe you’ll meditate in your living room, maybe your bedroom, just make sure it’s somewhere you feel comfortable. You may want to use an exercise mat if it helps you personally feel more comfortable and focus. You may even want to arrange the room so that it’s more conducive to meditation.

For most people, a silent atmosphere helps as well. So you want to seek out a quiet, isolated area far from your ringing phone or humming washing machine. Pleasing scents can also help, so candles can help with that.

Many monks you see in movies and on television also make monotonous sounds that are their mantra. For them, that holds some mystic value. Depending on your goals, that may not be necessary for you. But focusing on your breathing and maybe even doing some humming can help regardless of the mystic intent.

The idea is focus while relaxing. To that end, you can try focusing on a certain object or thought. One option is to silently name every part of your body while taking time to focus on each part. While you do that, be aware of any tension in that part of your body. Mentally going through that exercise can help relive tension.

Overall, meditation is a fairly risk-free practice, and can greatly help relieve stress. Studies have shown it has benefit psychologically and for your body as well.

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