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What is Meditation?

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

You probably have heard about meditation very often. Maybe you've even done it regularly yourself. Meditation has been claimed to have so many benefits such as: 1. Better focus and concentration 2. Improve self-esteem and self-awareness 3. Reduce stress 4. Manage anxiety or depression 5. Fight addiction 6. Control pain 7. Make you more kind or loving

So, What is Meditation? Meditation is a practice that involves training your attention to stay in the present moment. Meditation isn't about learning how to empty your mind or stop your thoughts. Instead, meditation is the practice of training your attention and focus from a place of non-judgement. While meditation has a rich cultural history in countries like India, China, and Japan, it's becoming increasingly popular in the Western world — and with good reason. Mindfulness meditation is the most common type of meditation in the West — and perhaps the easiest one to start. Mindfulness has to do with paying attention to what you're feeling and observing in the present moment.

If the main idea of meditation is to be present and aware of your thoughts and feelings, mindfulness is the ongoing practice of honing that awareness and reconnecting to what we do and why we do it.

For example, if you're totally immersed in a single task, and not thinking about the past or imagining the future, you're being mindful. Or, if you go for a walk and feel lost in nature, becoming attuned to the chirping birds or falling leaves, you're also being mindful. In other words: meditation isn't the only way to be mindful.

How to meditate:

  1. Find a quiet space. Make sure there is nothing to disturb you before you start meditation. Turn your phone on silent and go into a room away from others.

  2. Sit in a comfortable position. You can sit on top of a cushion or blanket, on the floor or in a chair. Sit upright, but don't tense up — your body should feel relaxed.

  3. Breathe gently. Focus your attention on each inhale and exhale. Alternatively, you can begin with a body scan: focus on each part of the body, down from your toes and up to your head, pausing to notice the sensations.

  4. Let distractions come and go. If your mind wanders, acknowledge the thought that has distracted you, but do not dwell on it. Then, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. Getting distracted when meditating is inevitable and one of the biggest worries for beginners — but learning how to manage distraction is a vital part of the process.

To learn how to meditate effectively, it's helpful to have some guidance. Click to play these guided meditations in the background as you start your practice. Try the three-minute meditation first, and once you feel comfortable, try the seven-minute meditation. 3-minute guided meditation

How long should we meditate for? Meditating for just five to 10 minutes each day is an achievement to be proud of. Some people like to meditate for as long as 30 minutes to 45 minutes once they become more experienced, but there are benefits even with short amounts of practice.

When should we meditate? If possible, try to meditate at the same time every day, as this will help you build a habit so you build meditation into your daily schedule. And if you have to skip a day for whatever reason, don't be too hard on yourself — just try to get back to your routine the next day.

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