Thrive/Strive

Meditation for Beginners: A Simple Guide To Get Started Today

It's not all woo-woo

Meditation isn’t all about chanting and having transcendental experiences, and only for yogis and other seriously enlightened beings.

The practice of meditation and mindfulness is actually a very useful – and practical – habit to develop, that anyone can get benefit from.

Meditation isn’t all ‘woo woo’ – it is a practice that is backed up by science. It has been shown to lower stress levels, relieve anxiety, and improve decision-making skills.

Research has shown that meditation can literally change your brain.

‘Grey matter’ – the part of your brain rich in neurons – is noticeably increased in the the areas of the brain connected with the important functions of decision making, memory, and emotional regulation.

There are different ways to practice meditation, but the one that most popular – and has shown to provide many positive results – is mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

 mindfulness and meditation for beginners

The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to learn to focus on the present moment. You can do this in many different ways.

You can simply focus on your breathing, or become aware of things around or, or of how you are feeling in the current moment.

The goal with mindfulness meditation is not to change or become a different person. You aren’t focus on improving yourself. You are simply working on becoming more present in your life, and becoming more aware.

It is about developing a sense of awareness, and being able to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation Keeps Your Brain Healthy

By meditating, it activates the part of your brain that promotes – amongst other things – intelligence, empathy, and happiness.

Meditation Makes You More Aware Of Your Body

As you progress with your meditation for beginners practice, you will begin to become more aware of your body.

Becoming more in tune with your body also means that you will easier pick up the signs of stress, unhappiness, and possibly even illness.

Rather than only realizing when your blood pressure is high, or when you are feeling anxious, that something is actually causing you stress, you will realize much sooner by picking up the symptoms of irritation, and tightness in the body.

Meditation Helps You Better Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Studies show that regular meditation improves the ability to regulate emotions in the brain.

Meditators not only feel less stressed, but their cortisol levels reduce measurable, too.

Meditation Helps Improve Sleep

Meditation helps the body learn to relax. This benefit is still helpful by the evening when it is time to get to sleep.

It also helps you fall asleep easier because you will find it easy to move on from thoughts and feelings that cause you stress. You can even do specific meditations to help you sleep quicker and deeper.

Start Meditation For Beginners The Simple Way

meditation for beginners - sit by a window

If you’ve never tried meditating before – don’t worry. You don’t have to jump right into meditating 20 minutes a day.

Start with just 2 minutes.

I know 2 minutes might sound too easy. But that’s the point.

You want to make it as easy as possible to get started. And then as easy as possible to turn it into a habit.

If it is too challenging in the beginning, you will be less likely to carry on.

As you prepare to begin your first meditation, remember that it isn’t about stopping your thoughts. It is about being aware of them and then letting them go.

Start by finding a comfortable place to sit. No lotus needed here! You can sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, or if that is not comfortable for you – sit a hard chair, with your feet placed on the floor and your back supported.

(I actually recommend a chair to get started, then you won’t have to worry about also trying to sit up straight.) Rest your hands on your knees or at your side – whichever is more comfortable.

Close your eyes. If closing your eyes feel uncomfortable, relax your eyes and eyelids so your eyes are softened. (I can’t close my eyes fully during meditation, so I do this instead.)

Become aware of your breath. Focus on the sensation of air coming in to your body, and then out again as you breathe. Feel your stomach rise and fall with each breath.

Your mind will wander. This is normal. Don’t try to stop your thoughts or feelings entirely. When you notice your mind has wandered, simply return it back to focusing on your breathing.

If you are feeling uncomfortable or itchy – try to pause for a moment before responding to it. The feeling might go away on its own. If it doesn’t, adjust your body or scratch the itch with intention, at the moment you choose.

Be kind to yourself. You will very likely find your mind wandering – and often. If it happens, just bring your mind back to your breath. Don’t get frustrated, or tell yourself you are not good at this. Come back to your breath each time without judgement, or expectation.

Once your two minutes is up, open your eyes, or lift your gaze. Notice the shapes and colors you see in front of you. The sounds around you. Notice your emotions, your thoughts. And how your body is feeling.

And then make the decision for how you would like to continue your day.

Quick Tip
Remember to use a very gentle alarm – you don’t want your calm 2 minutes to end with a jarring noise.

How To Turn Meditation Into a Habit

Meditation will only have a positive impact when you do it regularly – and that means daily.

To make anything into a habit, you want to make it easy on yourself. This way you are likely to do it every day.

Increase The Time Gradually

Start with 2 minutes a day. Then after one week, add another two weeks. If this is too much you can add 1 minute extra instead. The goal is to keep making progress.

Each week, add a bit more time until you are 10 minutes a day.

Meditate In The Morning

Starting your day with a meditation practice not only prepares you to be in a good space for the rest of the day, but it also means you won’t skip it.

If you leave it for the end of the day, it is very easy to put it off, and skip it altogether because you are too tired.

Don’t Get Caught Up In The Detail

Don’t worry about the cushion, or finding the perfect spot to sit. Just start. Choose a chair, or even sit on the edge of your bed, and get started.

You aren’t sitting for long in the beginning anyway. Once you increase your time, you figure out a more comfortable spot to sit.

Don’t Worry That You Are Doing It Wrong

This is a very common worry!

There is no perfect way to meditate. So don’t try to do it ‘perfectly’. Just do.

What is more important is to be consistent and do it daily.

And there you have it. Daily meditation for beginners is such a simple, easy practice to start with big benefits – there is no reason for you not to take a seat and give it a try right now.

More Great Content on Thrive/Strive

Common Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet: 140+ Foods That’ll Slow Your Fat Loss

“Is this keto-friendly?” “Can I eat this on keto?” Learn which foods to avoid on the keto diet to avoid slowing down your fat loss.

Low-Carb Foods To Avoid On The Keto Diet

Not all low-carb foods are created equal! In fact, some can even mess up your keto diet. This post explains which low-carb foods to avoid on the keto diet.

Kundalini Yoga: A Beginner’s Guide

Kundalini Yoga is a well-rounded practice that can greatly benefit your day-to-day life. This beginner's guide gives you the basics you need to get started.

Keratosis Pilaris: Causes and Treatment

Keratosis pilaris is a very common, harmless condition where small bumps appear on your skin. It is annoying, but there are things that may improve it.

How Do You Know If You Have Food Poisoning? Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. Learn what symptoms to look out for, and how to treat food poisoning.

7 Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

You can lower your blood pressure without medication. Try these simple lifestyle changes to naturally lower your blood pressure.

Hatha Yoga for Beginners: 5 Basic Poses

Hatha yoga describes a kind of yoga where asanas are practiced. This post on Hatha yoga for beginners is a great introduction to the practice of yoga.

Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, And How To Treat It

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe symptoms depending on the cause, your age, and your health. Learn the symptoms of pneumonia and how to treat (and avoid) it.

Breaking Sugar Addiction – How To Do It Safely

Hooked on sugar and don't know how to break free? Quitting sugar is hard - but it can be done. This post helps you with breaking the sugar addiction.

Help! I Have Green Poop!

Seeing green poop can be quite alarming. But don't fear - there is often a very normal reason for your stool turning green.

3 Best Essential Oils For Weight Loss (And How To Use Them)

Essential oils are not a miracle cure, but they do have health benefits. This post explains how to use essentials oils for weight loss.

A Simple Guide to Exercising While on the Keto Diet

Are you doing keto and also want to exercise?

Keto Alcohol Recipes: 7 Drinks Safe for the Ketogenic Diet

If you're looking to drink on a ketogenic diet, look no further. Here are 7 keto alcohol recipes that are going to keep you in ketosis while you're out having fun.

9 Common Keto Mistakes to Avoid

We are never perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, especially starting a new diet like the ketogenic diet. Here are 9 common keto mistakes and how you can avoid them.

11 Keto Fat Bomb Recipes You Need Right Now

Reaching your daily macros on a ketogenic diet can sometimes be hard. Here are 11 keto fat bombs that will help you reach them.

13 Keto Crockpot Recipes You Need In Your Life Now

If you aren't convinced about the ketogenic diet yet, here are 13 keto crockpot recipes that you need to try right now.

Keto Desserts: 13 Simple No Bake Ketogenic Diet Desserts

Looking for some delicious keto desserts? These 13 keto desserts will keep you in ketosis and losing weight.

17 Keto Recipes That’ll Make You Forget You’re On a Diet

I'm always looking for more delicious keto recipes and these are 17 new ones that I'll have to try and make. I love the ketogenic diet! #Keto #KetoRecipes #KetogenicDiet

7 Benefits of a Keto Diet That You’ll Want in Your Life

Thinking about trying the ketogenic diet? You might be wondering what the benefits of keto are. This post goes over the many benefits of keto.

Keto Substitutes: 10 Low Carb Food Swaps to Help You Lose Weight

Switching to a ketogenic diet doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite flavors and textures. These keto substitutes will have you thinking you're eating your old favorites.