The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Does your mind ever just turn off? Are your thoughts running you ragged? Do you ever wish you could experience peace, even if it’s just for a moment? Well…you’re not alone.
Mindfulness meditation is arguably the simplest and most practiced form of meditation in the West. It’s a great jumping off point for beginners and can even transform into a lifelong practice.
We all come to mindfulness meditation in our own ways. Often, we hear the recommendation of, “just sit and follow your breath for 30 minutes”. Yet, no matter how well-intentioned this advice is, it always seems to fall flat.
When you first start you may feel you’re doing it wrong. Or, that your mind is too crazy and you’re simply not the “kind” of person who can meditate. If you’ve tried to meditate before and have “failed”, or you’re coming to mindfulness meditation with a completely open mind, then this post is for you.
- What is Mindfulness Meditation?
- Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
- How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners
- Mindfulness Meditation vs (Regular) Meditation
- Our Favorite Simple Mindfulness Meditation Exercises
- 2 Minute Mindfulness Meditation
- Bonus: Mindfulness Meditation for Sleep Practice
- Mindfulness Meditation Tips: Growing Your Practice
- Common Mindfulness Meditation Questions
- Additional Mindfulness Meditation Resources
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness is paying attention to life in a purposeful way. It’s a way of living in the present moment without judgement. Your attention, and how you’re spending it, is one of the most crucial aspects to mindfulness.
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Instead of trying to control something. Like stopping all flow of thoughts. We’re actually controlling something we have control over. Our attention. Now, like any muscle. If we haven’t been exercising our attention muscle, then it’s going to be atrophied.
When getting started with mindfulness meditation, just know, your mind will wander. that’s completely normal. It’s just what minds do.
Beyond consciously focusing our attention on something (which will usually be the breath). We’re going to try to be nonjudgmental with our awareness. Which basically means, there is no perfect way to meditate! So, stop beating yourself up about it.
All you need to do is gently remind yourself that your mind has wandered and bring your attention back to the main point of focus. In a traditional mindfulness practice you’ll be using your breath as the central point of focus.
Keep reading for our beginners guide to mindfulness meditation.
Getting Started Without “Meditation”
As a beginner it can be difficult to get started with a mindfulness meditation practice. Your meditation time will be so foreign and so different from your day-to-day life it can be difficult to bridge the two.
A simpler method is to simply bring mindfulness into your daily activities. Then, once you have a taste of what this feels like you can you can start a regular mindfulness meditation practice. Most of us (all of us) have routine and mundane activities that we must do every single day.
If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh,
For instance, next time you’re washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, instead of trying t rush through this activity see if you can do it in a mindful way. Bring your attention to your breath and pay attention to every sensation that arises. There is no past, there is no future, only the present nature of the activity you’re doing.
This can work very well for those just starting to learn mindfulness meditation for a variety of reasons:
- You don’t have to set aside any extra time for meditation, you can simply integrate this meditative practice into your daily activities.
- You can begin with shorter activities and expand with time.
- It lays a solid foundation to begin an internal meditative practice.
- It can be a great way to manage and reduce stress.
Best of all, you can bring this form of mindfulness into your life during moments that otherwise might be stressful, or boring. For instance, stuck in traffic? Bring your attention to everything going on around you. How you feel. What your breath is doing. Center yourself into that moment and you’ll realize that the stress, anger, and road rage begins to fade.
If you’re looking for more simple mindfulness meditation practices you can bring into your daily life, then keep reading.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
A lot of people come into mindfulness meditation for the host of benefits you can realize in your own life.
Reduced stress. Lowered anxiety. Increased focus.
Sign me up!
1. Decreases Stress
How many of you are stressed out? (Everyone on the planet raises their hands). Practicing mindfulness meditation has been linked to lowered stress levels. This means it not only lowers stress throughout your body by reducing cortisol, but it also leaves you feeling less stressed.
Talk about an instant benefit.
2. Protects the Brain
Are you worried about your brain as you age? Or, maybe you just want to retain mental sharpness for years to come? Well, mindfulness can help with that.
University of Oregon researchers recently found that having a regular meditation practice can help to increase the amount of signaling connections in the brain. In scientific terms this is called axial density.
Essentially, these brain changes that take place make your brain stronger, so you’re less prone to age-related mental decline and other forms of mental illness.
3. Improves Mental Health
Mental health can be a vague term. But, for the purpose of this post we’re using mental health to refer to the overall stability of your thinking patterns and emotions. Meaning a generally stable and happy outlook towards life.
Mindfulness meditation can help to reduce depression and anxiety. Both of which contribute to poor mental health. Recent mindful meditation research has shown that mindfulness meditation can help to reduce depression in teens. Which is exactly why organizations such as this one exist.
Practicing mindfulness meditation and depression alleviation are linked.
4. Makes You a “Better” Person
So, we now know that mindfulness meditation makes us better. But, did you know it can help other people out too?
Yup, according to research conducted by Northeastern and Harvard by practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis you become more compassionate towards the people around you. Being compassionate can lead to the cultivation of a host of positive attributes, like being more patient, less angry, more forgiving, and the willingness to do more virtuous behaviours.
5. It Helps You Sleep Better!
I know we can all use a little more quality shut eye. Having a higher degree of mindfulness can bring about increased levels of emotional processing and awareness. This means you’ll have a generally more stable outlook.
University of Utah researchers have found that when night rolls around you’ll have less mental activation. Now, you can finally say goodbye to your chaotic mind and rampant emotions that keep you awake until the wee hours of the night.
Interested in a mindfulness meditation specifically for getting to sleep faster? Then keep reading, we’ve got something for you below.
6. It Improves Focus
Trying to focus can be difficult. After all, it seems that our “focus” muscle has become atrophied. Bouncing back and forth between different activities and usually multitasking between dozens of things at once has become the norm.
Is there a way to fix this?
Well, there’s no push button solution, but there is something that’ll help, and I bet you can guess what it is. Mindfulness meditation.
Recent research has shown that people who maintain a regular meditation practice see improvements to both their memory and attention. Researchers at UCSB have found that students who did an hour of “mindfulness training” for eight days in a row did better on the GRE and tests on working memory and mind-wandering. Pretty snazzy stuff.
There is also link between mindfulness meditation and adhd symptom relief. In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Lidia Zylowska, found that 78% of participants who practiced a mindful awareness program reported a reduction in their ADHD symptoms.
7. Can Reduce Anxiety
Over 40 million americans are affected by some kind of anxiety disorder. So, you’re not alone. However, if you’re looking for relief from your anxiety and overactive mind, then you’ll be happy to learn that practicing mindfulness meditation and anxiety relief are linked.
Mindfulness helps you to develop a different relationship with your thoughts. Instead of drowning in them and letting them drive you mad, you learn to live at a certain distance to your stressful thoughts. Plus, mindfulness meditation can actually help to rewire your brain, which means you’ll respond differently to stressful situations.
8. Helps with PTSD
Mindfulness is currently being used to treat and recover from PTSD. It holds a lot of potential in it’s ability to literally change the shape of the brain and help it recover from traumatic events. PTSD tends to cause the area of the brain responsible for fear to become overactive, while the areas responsible for emotional regulation and memory are weakened.
Mindfulness meditation can help to reverse this trend, and act as a great healing tool, and a healthy way to cope. Exactly why mindfulness meditation and PTSD are a good match.
9. Can Help You Lose Weight
Staying on top of your healthy eating goals can be tough. Especially, when we’re driven mad by our cravings for the foods we know aren’t the best for our bodies. Having a regular mindfulness meditation practice can actually help you make better decisions when it comes to food choices.
When you practice meditation you begin to create a little distance between you and your thoughts and emotion cravings. Instead of acting out of mere impulse you’ll be able to make healthier, more conscious decisions. In fact 7 out of 10 psychologists believe mindfulness is an effective weight loss tool.
10. Improves Your Overall Health
Mindfulness meditation isn’t just good for your brain. It’s good for every part of you. Recent research has found that mindfulness meditation can decrease your pressure, which also helps with stress reduction. It can improve the functioning of your immune system; say goodbye to winter colds! And it can even help you to cope with pain and any other ailments you might be facing.
Put simply, it makes you invincible. Just kidding. But, it sure does seem to be the antidote for our hectic, stressful, crazy, and overstimulated modern lives.
Of course, we could continue to list benefit after benefit, but we think you get the gist. It seems that modern science is finally beginning to catch up to this ancient art.
However, instead of boring you with more scientific validation, and reasons you, (cough cough), should be meditating. It’s time to jump into the real reason you came here.
Learning how to do mindfulness meditation.
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners
No matter how much reading you do about mindfulness meditation, the true magic becomes unlocked when you sit down to practice. In fact, practice is truly the only way to do anything. However, when compared to any other kind of training or effort to improve ourselves, meditation is goalless.
It helps us to get in touch with who we really are and become more aware to what’s actually unfolding around us in every single moment. So, how do you do mindfulness meditation?
Glad you asked. Below we offer a simple process for getting started with a great mindfulness meditation for beginners practice.
1. Set Aside Time
When deciding what time of day you’re going to meditate remember that you’re trying to form a habit. This makes it easier to consistently meditate as you won’t have to exert your willpower just to spend time sitting and getting quiet.
Pick a time of day where you’re not already stressed or tired. A lot of people end up choosing the morning hours, just before your day begins. This can truly help to ease into the day, instead of getting swept up in chaos of text messages and emails.
Pick your time and stick to it. All you need is 20 minutes.
2. Choose a Spot
It can also be helpful to choose a spot in your home that’s solely dedicated to meditation. Over time, you’ll start to associate this spot with meditation and it’ll be easier to drop into the meditative state of mind. That being said, meditation is quite flexible and can be done anywhere.
All you need is a few minutes of quiet.
3. Understand Your Intention
Why do you want to meditate in the first place?
Often, people come into meditation for all of the benefits and improvements it can bring into their lives. However, over time this usually morphs into much deeper motivations.
Whatever your reason just make sure you consistently examine it and it provides you with enough motivation to actually stick with your practice. Especially, when you’re first starting to build the meditation habit.
4. Get Comfortable
When it comes to meditation comfort is key. If you’re prone to falling asleep, then make sure you have an upright posture. The mindfulness meditation posture you choose isn’t incredibly important. Just remember, sleeping isn’t meditating (even though it feels very nice).
Also, make sure that nothing gets in the way of your breath. Wearing clothing that’s too tight will just have you resisting the practice and feeling uncomfortable. As your mind starts to quiet down you might find yourself wanting to try more classical meditation postures.
But, when you’re just beginning focus on comfort above all else.
5. Focus on Your Breath
Your breath is going to be key.
Once you’re sitting comfortably (or lying down), start to become aware of your breath. Notice it’s sensations. Don’t force yourself to breathe, but instead just observe. Get curious about all of the sensations of breathing.
For some, it’s helpful to start counting. For example, count ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’, etc., on each exhale. Once you’ve hit ‘ten’, then simply start over from ‘one’. If you keep getting pulled away by your thoughts when just focusing on your breath, then the additional layer of counting will help to keep your focus.
Whenever you get distracted just pull your mind back to your object of focus.
If you do this, then you’re meditating. It’s truly that simple.
6. Letting Your Thoughts Go
One of the biggest obstacles to meditation is your own thinking and the shoulds embedded within what we “think” meditation should be–instead of what it actually is. You’ll never be free from your thoughts, maybe after years of meditation you’ll experience deep transcendental moments, but those will still be rare.
Instead, with meditation the power your thoughts have over you will lessen. You’ll be able to notice yourself thinking and not get pulled in and wrapped up in the stories you’re constantly replaying in your mind.
So, when you’re sitting down to meditate and get wrapped up in your thoughts and lose track of your breath, don’t worry, just bring it back. The goal of meditation is to catch yourself whenever you find yourself distracted.
Over time, the moments of distraction will decrease as you strengthen your mind.
Mindfulness Meditation vs (Regular) Meditation
As you might have noticed there are countless options when it comes to choosing the meditation style that’s best for you. Mindfulness meditation is a great place to start, as it’s one of the simplest. However, it can be helpful to make distinctions between different styles of meditation practice.
Below we highlight how mindfulness meditation compares to other existing forms of meditation.
1. Mindfulness Meditation vs Zen Meditation
Mindfulness meditation focuses on the breath and concentration and awareness on different parts of the body. Zen meditation, or Zazen, is performed in the classical lotus position and seeks to calm the mind by focuses on the inner flow of energies.
Both practices use the breath as a tool, and one of the main points of focus. But, Zazen is inherently goalless and you’re attempting to focus on the present moment, while taking deep belly breaths.
2. Vipassana vs Mindfulness Meditation
Vipassana meditation has become popularized through the work of SN Goenka, and their free 10-day silent meditation retreats. The word vipassana actually means “insight” or trying to see into the true nature of reality. The techniques of Vipassana meditation usually has to do with accepting sensations as they arise, and accepting yourself as you are right now. The Vipassana breathing technique focuses on breathing in and out of the nose.
Mindfulness meditation refers to more of an entire state of being. Learning to pay attention to things as they are, in a non-judgemental fashion. Vipassana can work as a great complimentary practice to regular mindfulness meditation.
3. Insight vs Mindfulness Meditation
Insight meditation comes from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. The purpose of Insight meditation is to see clearly into the true nature of the mind. Insight and Vipassana meditation go hand in hand. Once you’ve developed certain levels of concentration you’ll be able to more deeply explore the true nature of the mind and reality itself.
Insight meditation can just be another name for Vipassana meditation (see above).
4. Concentration vs Mindfulness Meditation
Concentration meditation is also referred to as Samatha meditation. Concentration meditation can be seen as what you do first, before you dive into deeper levels of meditation.
It’s a way to sharpen your sword of concentration and focus, so you can more readily explore your mind, and the true nature of your thoughts and emotions. With concentration meditation you’ll see your ability to focus improve and your mind generally being more clear.
5. Mantra vs Mindfulness Meditation
Mantra meditation uses the repetition or a phrase, or a sound, to drop your mind into deeper levels of relaxation. It can be a great choice for beginners, as you’re replacing your regular levels of mental chatter with an easy-to-repeat phrase.
Usually, the vibrations from mantra practice can be quite relaxing, and it’s much easier to drop into deeper levels of mind and states of relaxation, especially when you’re first beginning. One of the most popular forms of mantra meditation in the West is Transcendental Meditation, or TM.
Our Favorite Simple Mindfulness Meditation Exercises
There are a variety of mindfulness meditation techniques for beginners to choose from. Mindfulness can be a great, portable, practice. If sitting and practicing mindfulness meditation seems impossible for you, then why don’t you give some of the exercises below a try.
Once you’ve built up somewhat of a foundation it’ll be much easier to sit with yourself. Below you’ll find our ten favorite mindfulness exercises to inspire your mindfulness meditation practice, and make mindfulness a regular part of your life.
Don’t feel pressured to do every single exercise listed below, just pick one or two of your favorite and integrate them into your daily life.
1. Take a Walk
Walking can be a great way to bring your meditation practice into your daily life. But, instead of listening to music, or a podcast, try to bring nothing with you, but yourself. As you walk try to pay attention to your breath and every sensation that you’re experiencing. From the feeling of the air on your face to the texture of the ground against your feet.
Whenever you find yourself wrapped up in thinking, just bring yourself back to your breath, or a similar sensation.
2. All About Dishes
Do you hate washing dishes? According to Thich Nhat Hahn, the only reason you hate doing dishes is because, you’re not actually doing them. When you wash dishes do you best to pay attention to every single sensation. Feel the warm water run across your hands.
The hot ceramic of the dishes. The feeling of the sponge in your palm. Try to really feel and pay attention to the entire process.
3. Goodbye to Driving
How many hours a day do you spend in your car? Instead of turning on the radio, or yelling at cars who cut you off, try to actually pay attention to every single moment of your drive.
It can be helpful to first center in on your breath, then expand out into other areas. Such as, the way the steering wheel feels in your hand, how the car moves forward with your acceleration. The way the road looks as it passes you by.
If you’re looking for a great mindful meditation practice, then give this one a go.
4. Are You Actually Listening?
When we’re talking with people how often are we actually listening? Do you find yourself mentally rehearsing what you’re going to say next, instead of actually hearing them?
The next time you speak with someone try to enjoy the art of listening as much as possible. Truly take in every single word they say, and do your best to notice every subtle element of their voice.
5. People Watching
Do you ever sit in public, and to pass the time you pull out your phone, or open a book? Instead of distracting your mind and simply “passing the time”, you can bring a dash of meditation into your life instead.
Sit and watch everything that’s happening in front of you. This is life anyways! Notice people as they walk into your field of view, see the birds fly, and the cars drive by. But, as you do this make sure you’re not getting caught up in judging the moment.
Instead, as thoughts and judgements arise, just let them pass by. If it helps you can label them as “thought” or “judgement” and return to your practice of watching.
6. Turn Off the Tunes
We tend to fill our lives with a lot of noise. Instead of sitting in silence with ourselves we fill the background with music, or the radio, or another form of audio entertainment. Try to catch yourself when you do this and instead enjoy the silence.
No matter what task you’re doing you can bring a little mindfulness to it. Even if you’re at work, try to focus on your breath and the task at hand. Use your breath as your guide and let your thoughts float on by without attaching yourself to them.
7. Enjoy What You Hate
Is there an activity, or chore, that you completely dread? Don’t worry it’s normal, there’s no judgement here. When you find yourself doing that activity instead of filling yourself with anger, or putting off the task entirely, see if you can simply be present with it.
Once again, use your breath as your object of focus, and as a way to draw yourself out of anger or dread.
8. Go For a Run
Do you like to run? Running and meditation can be a great match. The next time you run, or go to the gym, or do any kind of workout, see if you can let your breath guide you through the workout.
This can be difficult at first if you’re used to plugging into an audiobook the moment you start exercising, but it can be incredibly worthwhile. As you run pay attention to your body and the sensations that occur, let your breath be the tool that guides you away from attachment to your thoughts.
9. Make Food More Meaningful
Eating can be a great way to become more present. After all, who doesn’t love to eat. However, instead of spending time shoveling food into your mouth, or reading, or watching television, see if you can add a little presence to your consumption.
As you eat try to really taste and chew each bite. Pay close attention to the flavors and try to savor every single bite. You might also notice that you tend to eat less, as you’ll eat slower and become more full.
10. Ask a Question
We’re going to borrow this last little practice from Ram Dass. Essentially, it involves asking yourself two questions over and over again until the answers actually feel true.
We should ask ourselves: Where am I?
Then ask ourselves: What time is it?
Boom, there you have it. Ten different ways you can cultivate more mindfulness in your everyday life.
2 Minute Mindfulness Meditation
Due to the popularity of our 5-minute meditation plan in one of our other posts, we thought we’d give you the same for your mindfulness practice. When you’re just beginning your practice it can be hard to find the time. But, nearly everyone has an extra two minutes in the day.
Best of all, you don’t actually have to set aside any additional time. This micro-meditation can be done in moments that already exist. For example, while you’re waiting for a friend to pick you up. Or, maybe when you’re waiting for the coffee to finish brewing the morning. Or, even after you’ve gone to the bathroom, you could sit for an extra few minutes.
The opportunities are truly endless. Ready? Here it is:
- Set your timer for 2 minutes.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breath until the timer goes off.
- Come back to your breath as you get distracted.
Now, you can truly see how simple and useful this practice is. For those who want a little bit longer of the practice we offer a mindfulness meditation 10 minutes practice below.
- Set your timer for 10 minutes.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breath until the timer goes off.
- Come back to your breath as you get distracted.
Okay, we kind of cheated on that one. But, if you’re looking for a little assistance with your mindfulness meditation practice, here are two great guided meditations, both ten minutes in length. The first is a guided meditation from Tara Brach. The second is a meditation guided by Professor Mark Williams.
Bonus: Mindfulness Meditation for Sleep Practice
By popular request we’ve added the following mindfulness meditation for sleep practice. It’s not big news that most of us have trouble falling asleep at night. It seems that our minds really turn up the volume soon as we’re trying to unwind for the night.
1. Get Comfortable and Breathe
Lay down and get comfortable. This meditation is the most effective when you’re laying on your back with your arms by your side and your legs straight out. Take five deep breaths in.
As you exhale imagine the stress from the day leaving your mind and body and dripping off of you like water. If your mind begins to stray, then gently bring it back to the sensations of your body relaxing and your breathing.
2. Do a Check In
As you lay there notice if any recurring thoughts from the day tend to spring up. Don’t repress them, but instead acknowledge them. Internally say “thank you”, or simply label the thought as “thought” and return to focusing on your sensations.
Once you feel a sense of calm it’s time to truly put the day behind you. Go back to the start of your day and casually replay the moments that have led up to you laying in bed right now. Don’t get wrapped up in them, but simply watch them as if you’re watching a movie.
3. Do a Full Body Scan
Once the day is behind you it’s time to take your bodily relaxation to the next level. You can either begin at the top of your head or the ends of your toes. But, what you’re going to do is progressively relax every inch of your body. As you focus on different parts of your body imagine all of the stress of the day evaporating away.
You can even mentally say “relax” to further the relaxation.
4. Breathe and Scan Until You Drift Off
Usually, this will be enough to help you drift off to sleep peacefully. It’s truly a great way to bring awareness to your mind and body while putting all of the stress of the day behind you.
If you get tripped up, just continue to do the steps offered above. Bring your attention to your breathe, and focus on deeply relaxing every part of your body.
Mindfulness Meditation Tips: Growing Your Practice
As you grow your practice you’ll undoubtedly run into certain meditation obstacles. It’s a natural part of the process. So, we thought we could give you a few elements you can use to help your practice.
We mentioned a few things about intention and motivation above, but we wanted to dive a little further into a few additional things you can bring into your mindfulness meditation practice to make it more enjoyable.
1. You Can’t Meditate Wrong
There’s no such thing as a “good” or a “bad” meditation. The goal of meditation should be to learn about your mind. Even if your meditation is chaotic you’ll learn about how messy your mind really is. If you can’t let a certain thought go, then that’ll give you something to investigate further.
Being curious about your mind is one of the most important elements of keeping your meditation fresh, while avoiding the achievement-based mindset most of us spend our days immersed in.
2. Bring Tenderness
So many of us are so hard on ourselves. All it takes is a tiny observation of our minute-to-minute self talk to see that a lot of it is negative. Effective meditation will help to cultivate a certain reverence for life. A honoring and respect for your breath. For yourself.
Compassion is an important aspect of meditation. The simple act of setting aside some time to meditate is a very kind thing to do for yourself.
3. Extend Your Gratitude and Thanks
It’s important to thank yourself for continuing to practice meditation. You’re setting aside time every day just to be with yourself, and lay the foundation for a happier and more peaceful life.
What a cool, compassionate thing to do for yourself, you nice person you.
Common Mindfulness Meditation Questions
We get a lot of questions about mindfulness meditation and some of the struggles about getting your practice off the ground and building the meditation habit. Below we offer our answers to some of the most common questions we’ve seen.
Can I used a guided meditation?
Yes. Guided meditations can be a great place to start. However, it’s important not to rely too heavily on guided meditations as you get more comfortable with the practice. Meditation is about awareness and presence within and with yourself.
Are there any good mindfulness meditation books to help me get started?
Some great books include, Wherever You Go, There You Are, The Now Effect: How a Mindful Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life, Mindfulness For Dummies, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, and Mindfulness in Plain English.
My mind is crazy, am I doing it wrong?
Having thoughts is the nature of the mind. Your mind thinks, that’s just what it does. When you first start to meditate you’re finally getting nice and intimate with your mind.
In the beginning it can actually be quite overwhelming, and this is completely normal. You’re building up the ability to focus and concentrate. Trust that over time it will get easier. Think of it like going to the gym. A consistent and steady effort will build strength over time, it’s just what happens.
What if I can’t find the time?
If you can’t find time to create a steady meditation practice, then either use the simple 2-minute practice above, or try to cultivate presence and mindfulness in your daily activities.
Chances are, once you see the benefits this brings you’ll have more motivation to commit to a certain time every single day.
I missed a day, am I doomed forever?
Nope. Remember, how we said meditation is all about compassion. If you missed a day, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just commit to meditating again tomorrow. But, remember is consistent effort, even if it’s just five minutes a day is better than meditating for an hour every few weeks.
Meditation is boring, can I make it more exciting?
We owe this to our modern culture of constant stimulation. We expect to never be bored. As a result, meditation can actually seem quite boring. Your breath can’t quite compare to binge watching Netflix, going to the movies, or scrolling through social media.
However, it can be helpful to cultivate curiosity with your mind and breath. As you deepen your focus you’ll start to notice how intricate your breath and all of the sensations associated with it truly are. The subtle things will begin to take on new life.
Additional Mindfulness Meditation Resources
If you’re looking to dive deeper into mindfulness meditation, then why don’t you check out a few of these resources from our friends.
- This in-depth post from Thich Nhat Hahn dives into starting your own mindfulness practice and offers a lot of practical wisdom.
- This article features Oprah and Jon Kabat Zinn on mindfulness meditation and getting started with your practice.
- This great interview features Rick Hansen and Jack Kornfield and contains a lot of great info about the nature of the mind.
As you regularly practice mindfulness meditation you’ll begin to see your life take on a whole new scope, and start to realize a few of the previously mentioned benefits in your own life. We hope all those words up there will help you cultivate your own mindfulness meditation practice.
- How to Meditate For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Meditation Techniques for Beginners
- How to Meditate: 31 Meditation Teachers Show You How to Overcome the Biggest Meditation Mistakes
- 227 Meditation Quotes to Inspire Your Practice