How to Start a Meditation Practice

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” 

-Dalai Lama

Meditation is a practice that can literally change your life. Modern research has shown that people that mediate regularly have better focus, less anxiety, more creativity, more compassion, less stress and better memory. A meditators brain has more gray matter, that accounts for more positive emotions, longer-lasting emotional stability and less decline in cognitive function.

There are many forms of meditation to choose from, the key is finding one that allows you to be consistent.
Meditating at the same time of day and in the same place can help making it a habit. Beginning with just 5 minutes daily will help you ease into the practice.
Mornings, before you daily activities begin, is the best time to meditate.
Start by sitting in a comfortable position, cross-legged or with your feet on the ground and taking a few deep breaths.

For some people guided meditations make the practice easier. Listening to a soothing voice or relaxing music can help create a pleasurable moment that you can then look forward to. Phone apps like Headspace are also very useful to get started, and it’s free; Youtube is also a good source of free guided meditations.

It’s important to understand that there is no such thing as a good or bad meditation. Some days are easy; others more difficult, staying with it will help you understand how your mind functions. Thoughts will arise all the time; the key is not to elaborate on them. If having to go to the store pops up, the idea is refraining from starting a mental shopping list. Saying “next” or picturing a river with leaves floating on where we can place our thoughts and watch them float away are good ways to stop the mental chatter.

If you can be consistent with the practice, in time you will experience an overall sense of calm and well-being, better health and increased happiness.