Meditation helps you stay calm in chaotic times.
You don't have to chant, say "Om," or sit on your butt for an hour.
There are countless ways to meditate and I'll introduce you to the best ones below.
If you're interested in a method of meditating that's customized to fit you, continue reading.
"What is meditation and why should I do it?"
Perceive meditation as an exercise for the most important muscle in your body: the brain.
Meditation can help you conquer mental health challenges like depression and anxiety.
Science says meditation boosts your memory and attention span at the same time.
Studies show meditation decreases blood pressure (and risk of a heart attack).
Lastly, meditation is an effective way to build self-awareness on all levels:
For most of the day, we're consumed in a whirlwind of busyness.
Bad news, because self-understanding is born from stillness.
Meditation isn't hard (and it doesn't have to be boring).
Below, I'll reveal how to start a meditation practice.
Beginner? Use meditation to fix your breathing.
Meditation is most beneficial when combined with an optimal breathing pattern.
You should breathe through your nose, according to the American Lung Association.
Mouth breathing is fine when you're exercising or congested. Otherwise, your nose is ideal.
The next step is to focus on your belly. It should expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.
Without your stomach's involvement, only a small fraction of the air will reach your lungs... not good!
If you're unfamiliar with this style of breathing, use mantras to help you breathe with focus and intention.
Breathe in and think to yourself: "I'm breathing into my nose. Oxygen is entering my body."
Breathe out and think: "I'm breathing out of my nose. Oxygen is exiting my body."
Feel free to replace "oxygen" with a more meaningful statement.
"Healing energy" (inhales) and "tension" (exhales) works.
Repeat for ten cycles at morning and night.
Couch potato? Combine meditation with movement.
Spend most of your day at a desk?
If so, sitting more is the last thing you need to do.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation can be a mobile activity.
Buddhists use walking meditation as a part of their mindfulness practice.
The goal is to sync your breaths with your steps. Inhale for ten steps. Exhale for ten steps.
After you can match your breaths and steps with ease, add a pause in between your inhales and exhales.
Inhale for ten steps. Pause for ten steps. Exhale for ten steps. Pause for ten steps. Let the pause be a place of rest.
Stress and effort aren't a part of the process. You're not holding your breath under water. Your lungs are taking a break.
Don't force it. If you feel pressure from your lungs, remove the pause. Go back to breaths only and try again in a week or two.
Exhausted? Understand meditation can be done from bed.
Meditation doesn't have to be a big event.
Look at it that way and you might psych yourself out.
You can meditate from bed (without scheduling it into your day).
Body scan meditation is a popular option that could help you sleep better.
After you turn off the lights and get comfortable, take three breaths in and out.
On the fourth inhale, focus on any sensations in your head or neck. Don't judge. Observe.
Exhale and imagine tension -- plus any labels or emotions that came to mind -- leaving your body.
On the fifth inhale and exhale, repeat these steps with your shoulders. Then work your way down in this order:
This approach isn't written in stone. I'm being specific, because most readers prefer a step-by-step process.
For example, you might want to perform several breathing cycles on body parts that feel tense or tight.
In that scenario, you could use a mantra like this: "I'm breathing in peace and breathing out pain."
The objective isn't to remove the pain -- which might be impossible -- but to accept it.
You're also welcome to travel through your body in whatever order you prefer.
If nothing happens the first or second time you try, don't get upset about it.
It might take a few days of practice before you see a noticeable difference.
Spiritual being? Replace the word "meditation" with "prayer."
Meditation is about stillness. We're obsessed with doing things. Often, the most productive thing to do is nothing.
Prayer is a similar concept. If you're constantly thinking and doing, how will you hear a divine whisper?
After meditation, your mind becomes quiet. With practice, your internal dialogue will go silent.
Why do you pray? What's the purpose? You hope to praise or receive guidance from God.
For this dialogue to be successful, it's essential to empty your mind of worldly concerns.
Meditation puts you in the perfect headspace for the most important conversation.
Seeking clarity? See meditation as a potential path to enlightenment.
Are you happy with your everyday life?
More specifically, are you satisfied with your:
-Spouse or partner
-Health and fitness
-Relationship with God
Unless you're Superman, I bet there's an area of improvement.
If you feel dissatisfied in many realms, don't let that discourage you.
Embrace a dog's mindset. They live in the present moment and don't worry about the future.
A belly rub and drive with the windows down makes a dog happier than you'd be with a winning lottery ticket.
Accepting less now doesn't mean you can't (or won't) accomplish more later. In the long-term, dream big. In the short-term, be content.
After you internalize this philosophy, make a list of issues you wish to address, and consider the question: "Who must I become to solve these problems?"
Ever been to a play? If so, you might assume the action happens on-stage. That's an illusion. Most of the work actually occurs behind-the-scenes.
You don't see the people playing sounds, adjusting lights, moving furniture, and helping the actors or actresses change outfits within seconds.
Your mind works the same way. 95% of mental activity is at the subconscious level. Read: beneath your conscious awareness.
Given the shocking lack of control we have over our own brains, wouldn't it be smart to get the subconscious on your side?
Every morning and night, write down one of your biggest goals, and briefly consider: "Who must I become to do this?"
When you download a new program for your computer, it doesn't open right away. Downloading takes time.
Expect this process to be similar. The download could take minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months.
It doesn't matter. There's not a deadline. Be confident, because the answer will download soon.
Advanced? Transform your everyday life into an extended act of meditation.
Meditation isn't just a concept. It's a way of living.
People who embrace this truth see the world in vivid detail.
Sights, sounds, and other sensory experiences become intoxicating.
You won't need drugs, chemicals, or substances to get "high." It'll be your default state.
Think I'm crazy? That's okay. Stick with meditation for a month or longer and you'll see for yourself.
Ready to meditate? Bookmark this page for future reference. It contains more details than you'll remember.