A Beginners Guide To Meditation

Whenever the subject of our health and well-being is raised, in most cases the subject being discussed relates to physical health, at least that was the case until recently. With the world being more attuned to the importance of mental health, especially in light of how people had to cope with all that they had to face due to the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone is more aware that the health of our mind is every bit as significant, as the health of our bodies.

There are many ways in which our mental health can be affected, both positively and negatively, and if we were to write fifty books on these subjects, we would still barely be scratching the surface. Instead, we are going to look at one subject, and it is one which you will be pleased to know, seeks to impart positive effects on your mental well-being.

The subject we are referring to is meditation, and it is one that, sadly, far too many people know very little about. For those that do know about mediation, and more importantly, practice it regularly, they will all tell you that meditation is a positive experience and one from which they benefit enormously.

What Is Meditation?

Let us first define what meditation is, at least from a general perspective given that meditation can be practised in many ways. The most basic definition is that meditation is a calming and quieting of the mind. An analogy is comparing a busy road junction at peak times with cars, buses, and trucks all noisily driving through, with what that same junction is like at 3 am with barely one car per hour driving through it.

Substitute all the traffic going through the junction with the thoughts that are going through your mind when it is active and busy. With meditation, your mind is quietened, with your thoughts reduced to a bare minimum as you become more mindful.

What Are The Benefits Of Meditation?

Studies have shown that meditation can benefit us in many ways. These studies, and further feedback and responses from those who practise meditation regularly, show that each of us can derive different benefits, often depending on our state of mind and physical health at the time. Proven benefits include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased attention spans
  • Improved sleep
  • Alleviation of memory loss
  • Improved emotional well-being
  • Increased confidence
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased patience and tolerance

You will observe that many of these benefits relate to mental health, but given that our bodies are less prone to illness and disease when our mental health is strong and we feel positive, then it follows that our physical health also benefits from practising meditation.

How To Meditate

The most basic way to practice meditation is to sit comfortably where you will not be disturbed and to then start focussing on your breath and you breathe in and out. Focus only on your breathing and that means if any thoughts come into your min

To, acknowledge them, but let them pass. Your goal here is to just ‘be in the moment’ with your mind quiet and still. This is not self-hypnosis but merely a state where you, and in particular your mind,  are calm and still.

In the early days, you may struggle to completely calm your mind and you may become frustrated as thoughts keep appearing. However, with practice, you will begin to find that the time your mind is still, increases.