In the past few years, the research on meditation has really started to pile up. With benefits ranging from better focus to improved memory and mood support to better sleep, it’s hard not to find a reason to start a meditation practice.
There are many types and styles of meditation, from awareness of breath or bodily sensations to focusing on repetitive phrases. All of these meditation styles work. The tricky part can be finding the right one or a combination of a few that work the best for you.
At first, I would suggest using an app like Insight Timer or Calm that offers many different styles of guided meditations. Don’t be afraid to try as many as you can when you are starting a meditation practice. After you find the styles that you like the best, focus on those regularly, but throw a new practice in from time to time.
While many people think that long meditation sittings are the most important, science actually seems to support the idea of shorter but consistent meditations. Start with just five minutes at first and over time, if you can, build up to 10 or 20 minutes. Start with just one sitting a day. I find right before bed or right when I wake up to be the easiest times for me. The times may be completely different for you; just try to find a time that should work for you most days. If something comes up that gets in the way of your meditation schedule, no problem — just meditate at a different time, but try not to miss it.
My go-to meditation is awareness of breath. I do this in my bed, in my parked car before work, I’ve even done a breath meditation while waiting in a busy lobby. That’s what I love about this meditation — it’s completely portable.
Here we go. Get comfortable; you can do this sitting or lying. Set a timer on your phone or on a meditation app for five minutes. Close your eyes and feel your breath. Find the place in your body where you feel the sensation of your breath the most, and focus your attention there. Silently say “rising” when you breathe in and “falling” when you breathe out. That’s all. When you get distracted, just notice that you are distracted and refocus your attention on your breath.
Find the amount of time that you can fit into your daily schedule. Make meditation a daily habit. Consistency is the most important part. Be patient — the benefits will come.