Easily clear your mind and build stress-coping skills with this quick guide to mindfulness meditation for beginners. Meditation is becoming more and more of a staple for mental health these days, and that’s a good thing!
I chosen daily meditation as my New Year’s resolution a couple years ago and it changed my life! So here’s a quick look at what meditation is, how to do it, and how it can help you in your daily life.
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What is Meditation?
First, I’ll tell you what meditation is not. Meditation is not sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed saying “Ohm!” over and over again. It’s certainly part of a specific way to meditate, but that’s not what mindfulness meditation for beginners looks like.
Most meditation involves saying nothing at all! Meditation is described as training your brain to a heightened sense of awareness, and/or focus of attention. It’s been practiced for thousands of years, across several different cultures. (source)
There are two kinds of meditation, called concentrative and mindfulness meditation. Concentrative is when you focus your attention on an object or sensation, such as your breath. Mindfulness commands attention to the present moment instead of dwelling on the past or future. This post will obviously focus more on the mindfulness side.
Meditation can vary from practice to practice. I’ve personally done both concentrative and mindfulness meditation in one sitting. There’s really no wrong way to meditate. As long as you’re able to ground yourself and focus, you’re doing it right.
The hardest part for most people is clearing your mind and only letting that one thing (or nothing) enter it. But once you’ve mastered your ability to focus on your breath while acknowledging and letting go of other sensations, it’s a game changer for anxiety!
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation is an amazing tool when it comes to dealing with anxiety and depression. Regular meditation gives you a better sense of self-awareness. You’ll have a better handle on what your emotions are and where they are coming from.
I myself suffer from mild anxiety, and meditation can put me in a calmer state in minutes. It also helps me sort out any jumbled feelings I may have. If I know I’m going to be in a stressful situation, meditating beforehand always helps me be more level-headed.
I’m a ballet dancer, and ballet can take a toll on the mind as well as the body. But meditating before a performance helped banish the nerves, and gave me more confidence! You can read more on how to beat stage fright to see how I do it.
Meditation is also a staple for self-care! If you’ve never heard of this, you’re seriously missing out! I meditate for at least 5 minutes every morning as a form of self-care to get my day started on the right foot. I feel completely out of sync when I don’t. You can check out some great self-care kit ideas that really set the mood for good mindfulness meditation.
How Do I Learn Mindfulness Meditation?
The most basic way to start meditation is to sit in a quiet place with no distractions. It can be outside next to a lake, in your living room, or even locking yourself in your bathroom if you have to! Cross your legs and sit up tall. Close your eyes and let your mind go blank. Focus only on the sound of your breath. I like to count to three for the in breath and out breath.
If you find your mind wandering, gently guide yourself back to your breath. Have patience for this, it takes practice! I also highly recommend listening to something while you meditate. Unless you’re doing a grounding meditation and you have to pay attention to the sounds around you.
I highly recommend binaural beats to get you in the right state of mind. Binaural beats are one of the best things to listen to while you try meditation for beginners. It gets your brain in a meditative state, with little work on your part! You can read more about how binaural beats can help you while listening to some samples.
I even turn on some binaural beats when I’m stressed but don’t want to meditate. It helps me focus and puts me in a better mood. It even helps me with sleep and memory retention!
There are Numerous Guides and Meditation Resources to Help You!
If you think that mindfulness meditation for beginners would be way too hard on your own, you’re right! I rarely meditate without some kind of guide to help me stay focused. My attention span isn’t that great when I’m trying to focus on my breath!
Just about everybody else has the same problem, so guided meditations are becoming more and more accessible. There are plenty of resources out there to help you stay grounded and mindful! It’ll just take some experimenting and shopping around.
The best resources to me are apps for your phone, YouTube and aromatherapy. There are pros and cons to each, and I’ll break it down for you below.
Free Meditation Apps
I’m currently using apps on my phone to do my daily dose of mindfulness meditation. I love these apps because they teach valuable meditation techniques that are easy to implement.
There are two that I’ve used and recommend. Keep in mind that (to my knowledge) there is no completely free meditation app. But these apps have plenty of free options that I love.
I’m also not affiliated with these apps. I’ve just honestly used and recommend them! With that in mind, there is no meditation app that is completely free. If you know of one, please let me know in the comments! Some meditations are free, but every app I’ve come across has “premium” meditations you can pay for.
I personally don’t see much of a difference between paid and free, so it’s really just a matter of having a small vs. larger collection of meditations to listen to. That’s why I have a few apps! My favorites and my thoughts on them are listed below.
Stop, Breathe, and Think
The first app I recommend is Stop, Breathe, and Think. It’s arguably one of the best meditation apps for beginners. Stop, Breathe, and Think is streamlined to give you a simple and straightforward meditation experience. It even teaches you to check in with yourself by picking emotions when you first open the app.
The app with then give you a list of guided meditations to choose from based on the emotions you chose. You can also pick from a basic list of guided meditations as well, if none of them sound appealing to you.
Some guided meditations are free, but about half of them can be unlocked with a subscription. My thoughts on this app is that it’s excellent for beginners, but I quickly grew a little bit bored as I got better with it. The narrator’s voice is a bit monotone as well.
Another great (and slightly more popular) option is Calm. This was the first meditation app that I came across, and I still use and love it now. Calm has great mindfulness meditations for beginners, or the advanced!
This visually-pleasing app offers guided meditation, sleep meditation, gentle stretching, breathing exercises, and relaxing background music. What I love most about calm is that you can pick what background sounds you want with your guided meditation. The sounds range from rainstorms to space!
When you first get the app, Calm will take you through a week’s worth of guided meditations for free to get your feet wet. After that, paid users get access to a new guided meditation every day. Calm also offers a daily check-in feature, but the meditations that come up are usually paid.
While a good portion of Calm is free, most of their meditations are only accessible with a subscription. Some people have complained about the price, but it’s worth the money in my opinion. Calm is constantly adding new sleep stories and meditation programs!
Calm is less simplistic than Stop, Breathe, and Think because there’s much more customization and overall options to choose from. So if you’re trying to avoid overwhelm with meditation, I would steer clear. Otherwise, Calm is an amazing meditation tool!
Meditation Videos on YouTube
YouTube is a completely free resource full of mindfulness meditations for beginners! It’s where I access all of my binaural beat tracks, and there are guided meditations designed for just about anybody. Whether you want to reach your goals or get a good night’s sleep, YouTube is full of possibilities.
Just type in “beginner meditation” in the search bar and you’ll get flooded with results! Here’s an example of a YouTube video below you can use for meditation. Try listening to it every day for a week and see how you feel.
If you need a helping hand at focusing on something, or some extra help with calming down for meditation, aromatherapy is an excellent option! And I don’t just mean smelling some lavender while you pretend to listen to your breath! There are a couple of ways to use aromatherapy to aid in meditation.
The easiest way is to diffuse a few drops of your favorite concoction and let your nose do the rest. Or you can use a roll-on essential oil to apply to areas you need it most. One example is I’ve seen people put a few drops of peppermint oil on their wrists. They take a big inhale before starting their practice to sharpen mental clarity.
If you don’t know where to find the best essential oils, I personally use and love Rocky Mountain Oils! They have some of the highest quality oils that won’t cost an arm and a leg. You can read more about what they have to offer in my Rocky Mountain Oils review.
Rocky Mountain Oils has plenty of choices to help you meditate. One of my personal favorite blends is At Peace. It smells just like an orange cotton candy! I love to take a few whiffs of this blend to get my mind in the right place.
A great roll-on option for meditation is Concentrate. It’s a mixture of Frankincense, lavender, and vetiver diluted at 2%, so it’s safe for kids! Just roll it on the inside of your wrists and give them a good whiff before closing your eyes. I always keep a little roller on my desk for writing!
Final Thoughts on Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners
As long as you go into your meditation with some kind of purpose, then you’re doing something good for yourself. And it takes practice, so be gentle with yourself in the beginning! I definitely don’t feel like meditating every day, but I never regret it afterwards.
Try to look at it as going to the gym for your brain. You’ve got to take care of your brain as well as your body! Plus there are tons of resources out there, like aromatherapy, apps for your phone, and YouTube videos. So go ahead and do some research, try some apps, and find a way of meditating that works for you!
How do you like to meditate? Let me know in the comments below!
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