Don’t know how to meditate and get the most out of it? Here’s a step-by-step guide and resources to begin today.
*This post may include affiliate links. (disclosure)
If you are reading this post, you are probably aware of all the amazing benefits of meditation. It calms your mind down and makes you feel grounded and balanced. It’s also mindfulness training that will help build mental resilience over time.
But it’s not always easy to meditate. For beginners, it can be hard to stay focused during a session. Not thinking of anything is way more difficult than thinking of everything.
I started meditating five years ago, and meditation has been a game-changer for me. So I tried to share it with as many people around me as possible. But, helpful as it is, I found most people give up after practicing once or twice. It’s not because they don’t want to be consistent. But, with some small adjustments and resources, everyone can keep a meditation habit and benefit from it.
That’s why I’ve put together a guide on how to meditate for beginners. From step-by-step instructions to resources like music and guided videos, you will find everything in this post to make meditation doable.
Table of content
- Step-by-step guide to meditation
- Most Common Mistakes For New Meditators
- Common meditation challenges and how to deal with them
- Best Free Youtube Videos For Meditation
- Free Meditation Music
Step-by-step guide to meditation
What is meditation?
According to Merriam-Webster, meditation is a “mental exercise to reach a heightened level of spiritual awareness.” Usually, it is done by concentrating on your breathing pattern or repeating a mantra in your mind.
The keyword is “exercise.” Every exercise, like swimming, drawing, and rock climbing, requires constant practice. The more you work on it consistently, the better you will be. And meditation is no exception. So jumping into a 30-minute meditation session on the first day will likely be a challenging and frustrating experience. But as you practice more, the session becomes a chance to talk to yourself and build awareness. That’s when you get the most out of meditation.
3 Greatest Benefits Of Meditation
Meditation not just helps calm your mind. It also has other amazing benefits like:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
Research shows that your metabolism rate drops during meditation and that both our brain and body turn into a deep healing mode. Your stress level goes down, and you activate the dormant part of your brain, releasing your potential.
- It improves productivity.
Scientists found that the brain has a higher level of alpha waves during meditation. It means when you meditate, your brain is more concentrated than at other times. And with practice, you can use that level of concentration to your benefit.
- Meditation improves physical health.
Tests show that because meditation calms your mind, it also benefits the health of your heart and helps regulate blood pressure. While in other areas, meditation is used to treat weight loss, quit smoking, cure depression, etc.
No doubt that meditation is beneficial to both mental and physical health. But how to meditate as a beginner and be consistent with it?
Step-by-step guide to meditate for the first time
Find a quiet place.
Secure a place where you will not be disturbed. You can set up your meditation room or sacred corner if you are dedicated to meditating. Otherwise, just do it in your bedroom or your living room. Decorate it with everything that speaks to you spiritually. It can be a print of your mantra, candles, or singing bowls.
Sit in a comfortable posture.
You can start with sitting cross-legged (lotus position). Keep your back straight. If you have trouble sitting still for a long time, try to use a meditation cushion for support. It will take away part of the pressure on your knee and help keep your spine straight.
Breathe in and out.
When you settle your mind and body down, breathe in on counting to 5 and hold your breath. Then breathe out, counting to 7. This breathing pattern will calm your mind and relax your body.
Give it a few breaths, and then gently close your eyes. Keep focusing on your breathing and slowly drift into a deeper state of mind.
Turn on your awareness.
Gradually slide into your natural breathing pattern. Then start to feel every inch of your body. Imagine a flow of energy coming into you from the top of your head, traveling through the entire body, and exiting from your fingertips and toes.
With the energy going, your brain is relaxed, your face is relaxed, and your arms and legs are relaxed. Feel the energy and enjoy a moment of entire relaxation.
Observe your thoughts
At this point, things might start to pop up in your head. It can be a chore, something you need to do later, or a childhood memory. Instead of reacting to them, tell yourself that you own the right to enjoy the moment. You don’t need to be anywhere else but here. And others can wait.
Imagine yourself sitting by a lake. And all the thoughts you have are leaves floating on water. And you are the observer, sitting still as you watch them come and go. You are not bothered by them, but you don’t deny their existence, either. They are just them, floating.
Start small and repeat.
Take as long as you need in your meditation session. When you are ready to come out of it, take a deep breath and slowly open your eyes. Watch from close to afar and gently get used to the light.
If it’s your first session and all you can do is 10 minutes, that’s great. I will recommend starting with 10 minutes and leveling up from there.
It takes 21 days for a habit to form and set in. So I suggest you meditate for 21 days in a row. Try sneak in some time each day to do it. As the habit forms, it will require less and less brainpower. And you will start to notice the positive changes in your life.
I also recommend using a tracker to help you stay accountable. It can be trackers on your bullet journal or a digital tracker.
Common mistakes of meditation beginners
If you have meditated for some time and find it hard to stay consistent, chances are you are doing something wrong. Meditation should be an enjoyable experience, not a chore. Below are some common misconceptions about meditation. Give it a check and see if there’s anything you need to adjust for better results.
The longer, the better
A good meditation practice doesn’t have to be long. Time doesn’t equal quality. If you feel a deep level of relaxation or your self-awareness improves, it’s an effective session.
And also, the results are not always visible. Maybe you are meditating for 10 minutes per day and don’t see a lot of changes. But transformation takes time to build up. You can only see some tiny bubbles for the first few minutes when you boil a bowl of water. The heat stored in the process will eventually lead to a full boil. So don’t give up just because you don’t see results right away. Be patient with the process.
Be focused all the time
Another common mistake that beginners make is the “all or nothing” mentality. It means you ask yourself to stay focused all the time. A single slip of the mind and you identify this practice as a failure.
Our brain isn’t designed to stay focused for a long time. And it’s natural for your mind to wander. If that happens, know that it’s perfectly normal. Instead of beating yourself up, just pull yourself back to the center of your attention and say, “oh, I got distracted, but now I am back.”
Common Challenges and How To Deal With Them
How To Stay Focused in Meditation
The most challenging thing for meditation beginners is probably staying focused. As I mentioned above, our brains are not designed to do so. But concentration is the foundation of deeper self-awareness. And that’s what you want to achieve in meditation practices.
And there’s a tool you can use to make focusing easier – a mantra.
A mantra is a word or a sentence that you believe in and will help keep you concentrated. It works as a reminder. When you repeat it in your mind, it keeps enforcing a positive belief.
The most common mantra I use when trying to stay focused is “this moment is just for me.” By repeating this mantra, I reassure myself that I can do what I need to do later. And this moment is just for me and my practice. This way, I block out the stuff that is bothering me.
I’ve rounded up a list of meditation mantras for you to get started. Check them out; find one that speaks to you. Use it in your next session and notice the changes in your mind and mood.
How To Meditate Without Falling Asleep
Sleep meditation is a perfect mindful bedtime routine, something you can do before sleep for better sleeping quality. But if you have other things to do after meditation, how do you avoid falling asleep?
The first thing is to look at the place where you meditate. If you are doing it on your bed or your sofa, it’s harder to stay awake throughout the practice. So if that’s the case, move to a chair or a cushion on the floor.
The second thing is your posture. You want to keep your spine straight and lifted so the energy can flow around your body smoothly. What you don’t want is to sink in your seat and lose the support for your whole body. Instead, try to sit straight, keep your core engaged and imagine there’s a string pulling your head upward. This will help you to stay awake in meditation.
Also, a good night’s sleep the night before will make you feel more energetic. So you will be less likely to fall asleep during the daytime. If you have trouble falling asleep, here is a list of calming sleep affirmations that will help your mind to wind down.
Dealing with the thoughts you experience in meditation
It’s normal to experience emotional shifts as your memories pop up in meditation. Or you may feel more anxious when a to-do list unfolds in front of you.
Meditation is not just there to calm your mind. Sometimes, it exposes the things you avoid and the traumas you haven’t healed. And when they show up in your practice, acknowledge them and let them float. You don’t have to react to them. Just know that they are there and keep observing.
And when you finish meditating, get a piece of paper or your journal, and start writing them down. This is called brain dumping. When you offload your baggage on paper, you stop carrying it in your brain. And it can also be a creative idea or thoughts to improve your life. Many of my creative thoughts occurred during my practice. And it’s working wonders for me.
I’ve created a brain dump template for you after your session. So if your thoughts are bothering you, give it a try and see how your mental health improves.
How To Meditation IF YOU HAVE NO TIME AT ALL
10-minute a day of meditation is already enough to make a difference. But what if you don’t have that 10-minute a day? What are some alternatives for serious meditation?
- Take advantage of your daily commune.
If you are taking public transportation on your daily commune, try to grab a seat, put on your earphone with soothing music, and get ready for a meditation session.
It may be difficult to drift into that deep level of calmness in public. But even if it’s just 10 minutes of winding down, it will bring more positive changes than mindless scrolling through your phone.
- Walking meditation
Walking meditation is similar to meditating on buses and trains. And it’s widely popular among monks. When you have no time on a busy day, walking meditation will help your mind relax and rewind.
To do so, find a place that is safe and not crowded. Walk slow. Put one step in front of the other each time. And when you do that, feel the muscles lifting your leg up and feel the support the ground gives you. Every part of your body is moving in coordination to make walking possible. And when you finish ten steps, adjust your posture and start the next rep. Repeat each time for 10 to 20 minutes in total.
Best Videos For Meditation
These are some videos that I found really HELPFUL for meditation beginners or those who want to take one step forward :
- Meditation for beginners – Actualized.org
This is my go-to youtube channel when seeking a trace of peace. It helped me a lot when I knew definitely nothing about mental growth and mindfulness. In this video, the benefits and techniques of meditation are thoroughly explained.
- Learn to meditate – Boho Beautiful
This video can be used in your first session, with soothing music and clear instructions, it will make your first try a pleasant experience.
- All it takes is 10 mindful minutes – TED Talk
A famous TED speech was given by the creator of Headspace. (BTW it’s also my favorite app for meditation as well). His points about mindfulness are actually mind-blowing and will make you want to jump-start meditation right away.
Free Music For Meditation
Natural soothing sound of singing bowl
I love love love singing bowls. Listening to them are just joyful. You can make your own soothing sound with one of these most popular singing bowls.
Mood enhancing meditation music
Ocean waves meditation music
Deep relaxation music for meditation and better sleep
Have you meditated before?
So this is the guide on how to meditate and make it work for you. Have you tried it? Let me know in the comments or share with me by tagging @_OurMindfulLife on Instagram.