Helpful Meditation Techniques for Beginners
If you’re always moving from one thing to the next, chances are you put self-care on the back burner. Are you stumped about how to make time to slow down?
In the hustle and bustle of your daily grind, one tool you can use to help you pump the brakes and take care of yourself is meditation.
We’ll walk you through some helpful meditation techniques for beginners to help you claim and enjoy some much deserved quieter moments that you can incorporate when making a daily routine.
Understanding the Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been a bit of a buzzword in recent years. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in 2017, meditation was the second most popular holistic wellness activity behind yoga—which many consider meditative in its own right. Those numbers increased from 4.2% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017.1
There are plenty of reasons for meditation’s rise in popularity—just by taking a glance at meditation’s long list of benefits can help illuminate why more Americans are choosing to make meditation a part of their daily routines.
Decrease Stress and Increase Self-Awareness
One of the most significant benefits of meditation practice is its transformative effect on stress levels. Certain studies and trials have shown that meditation helps reduce the impact of depression and anxiety and can assist in better sleep.2
With reduced anxiety levels, many people who practice meditation also see additional benefits such as:
Better stress management
A decrease in negative thinking
A boost in self-awareness
An increase in patience
An increase in daytime performance
Meditation can also help improve mindfulness, or the ability to stay in the moment. Meditation, no matter the format, requires your mind to slow down and be present in the moment.
Certain research shows that meditation can help rewire the brain to increase attention span and even improve memory.3As a result, you may find that it’s easier for you to focus on work or tasks after you make meditation a regular part of your life.
Support Physical Wellness
When it comes to wellness, the mind and the body are intricately connected. This is why improving our emotional and mental health through meditation can do wonders for our physical health.
Improved sleep and emotional wellbeing can lead to better physical health as well.4 Certain studies indicate that a consistent mediation practice is linked to improvements in conditions, such as:
High blood pressure
Irritable bowel syndrome
How you treat your mind and how you take care of your body can create a symbiotic equilibrium. For example, adding probiotic drinks or probiotic pills like Bio-K+® to your daily routine can promote a healthier gut microbiota—which supports better digestion and overall well being. When your body feels better, so does your mind. Both meditation and an effective probiotic can contribute to an improved pattern of wellness that will keep you healthier inside and out.
Decide on the Best Type of Meditation for You
When you’re new to meditation, figuring out where to start can feel daunting. While mediation may seem simple and straightforward, there are several options for you to consider, even as a first-timer.
Guided vs. Self-Guided Practice
Daily meditation can help you find inner peace with yourself, and there are many different meditation techniques to try. Just like everything, regular practice for meditation beginners is crucial to becoming better. But, sometimes, all you need to start practicing is a support system that’s right for you. Suppose you have a hard time doing the meditation exercise by yourself. In that case, there are many resources online to find a meditation coach or meditation teacher that will help you through a guided technique.
Whether you prefer a YouTube video or a handy meditation app, an accountability resource can be just the thing you need to ease into and stick with your routine. It’s easy to find apps, podcasts, and videos that guide you through every step of a meditation session. This type of meditation often focuses on visualizing yourself in calming settings and engaging your senses.
But not everyone enjoys this kind of step-by-step interaction. That’s okay, too! You can become your own guide by accumulating various meditation resources. Studying online resources and books can provide the base you need to conduct self-guided meditation from the very beginning.
Four Types of Meditation to Consider As a Beginner
Regardless of whether you choose between a guided or self-guided technique, here are four types of meditation that may help you feel relaxed and grounded as a meditation beginner.
This type of meditation is all about being in the present moment. That includes:
Awareness of your surroundings
Focusing on your breathing pattern
Staying attuned to your thoughts and emotions
Mindfulness meditation can be done on your own or through guided practice.
If you’d like to make a habit of meditation as easy as possible, transcendental meditation could offer a gentle introduction. With this technique, you recite a mantra quietly to yourself and link the mantra to a comfortable sitting meditation position or a deep breathing pattern.
Unlike mindfulness or guided meditation that asks you to acknowledge your thoughts, this type of mantra meditation is aimed at helping you let go of racing thoughts and achieve a state of complete relaxation.
This type of meditation is focused on accepting and directing feelings of love and compassion to yourself and others. It can be particularly helpful for:
Coping with negative thoughts
Decreasing anger and depression
Not all meditation requires you to be completely still. Several types of moving meditation allow you to focus on mindful breathing and relaxation while also moving your body. Popular examples include:
Five Basic Meditation Tips to Keep in Mind
By now, you realize just how many possibilities there are when it comes to meditation. No one’s meditation practice and routine will look the same. But these basic meditation steps can help you start and maintain a successful routine that works for you.
#1 Be Consistent
Repetition is key for transforming any activity into a habit that you embrace and perform regularly. When starting with meditation, choose a specific time of day and stick with it. Maybe that’s first thing in the morning to help you get ready for the day or an hour before bedtime to help you shed the day’s stress.
Whatever you decide is best, make sure you:
Choose an exact time and stick with it
Make sure it holds an ongoing spot in your planner, calendar, or reminder app
Arrange your schedule around this activity to make it impossible to skip—even on vacation
#2 Dress Comfortably
Relaxation is a key goal of meditation, so it’s important to set yourself up for success by dressing the part. Wear clothing that’s not too constrictive and allows you to sit, lie down, and move comfortably.
Ideal items of clothing could include:
#3 Reduce Distractions
Carve out a designated space for yourself to reduce as many distractions as possible. That could mean designating a corner of your bedroom, study, or home office as your meditation space.
Some things you’ll want to avoid in your meditation room or area are:
Loud background noise
TVs and other electronics
Keeping your smartphone within reach
You might consider adding special equipment such as a comfortable cushion to sit on, floor pillows or a mat if you’ll be lying down, or a comfortable chair for cozy seated meditating.
You could also add a few other accents to heighten the ambiance:
Play around with your meditation space and experiment with decor until you create a calming atmosphere that’s perfect for you.
#4 Focus on Your Breath
Regardless of which form of meditation you start with, breathing will play a huge role in your practice. While breathing is something that we don’t usually have to think about doing, it’s one of the most important things you need to keep in mind during meditation.
Focus on inhalation and exhalation – Focus on the sensation of inhaling through your nose and the sound and feeling of exhaling through your mouth
Keep your shoulder relaxed – Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and avoid hunching or holding strain in your neck
Breathe deeply and slowly – Switch from breathing from your chest and use your deep abdominal muscles to create slow and measured deep breaths from your diaphragm
#5 Embrace the Learning Curve
There’s just no way around it—meditation is hard! It can be painful to sit still or feel focused when you’re just starting out.
How can you make things easier? Stick with it and be patient with yourself.
Let your mind wander if it does, but don’t discourage yourself if that happens. And if you find that seated meditation isn’t working for you, consider lying down or a moving practice. You have the power to make adjustments. It’s all about finding the approaches that feel manageable for you and will inspire you to keep going.
It’s Time to Start Meditating
Meditation can be an excellent addition to your days and weeks, allowing you to feel more relaxed, present, and grounded. While it’s often a challenge to start daily practice and work through the growing pains, embracing meditation’s challenges will be worth it over time.
Adding a meditation practice to your routine could complement other healthy habits such as exercising daily, eating whole foods, and incorporating a probiotic into your routine. If you’re interested in learning more about how Bio-K+® probiotics could fit into your wellness rituals, we’re eager to fill you in on the details.
Clarke TC, Barnes PM, Black LI, Stussman BJ, Nahin RL. Use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractors among U.S. adults aged 18 and older. NCHS Data Brief, no 325. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (April 2016) Meditation: In Depth. Retrieved from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-in-depth
Last N, Tufts E, Auger LE. The Effects of Meditation on Grey Matter Atrophy and Neurodegeneration: A Systematic Review. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;56(1):275-286. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160899. PMID: 27983555.
Stein MB, Belik SL, Jacobi F, Sareen J. Impairment associated with sleep problems in the community: relationship to physical and mental health comorbidity. Psychosom Med. 2008 Oct;70(8):913-9. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181871405. Epub 2008 Oct 8. PMID: 18842741.