Many people believe they can’t meditate until they receive their own personal mantra, or they may fantasize about achieving a magical, transcendent state. But, you don’t have to find a literal guru to achieve peace through this ancient technique. You simply have to make sure that in whatever you’re about to do, you’ll experience meditation to the fullest, for a concentrated period of time. Mindful meditation benefits are both immediate and far-reaching. Several beginner mindfulness meditation techniques exist. As long as they learn how to do mindfulness meditation, they yield results and start feeling less stressed. These methods also boost sleep and promote good health.
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques: A Basic Guide for Beginners
It may not seem very magical to bring your daily tasks into the meditation process. Yet, the philosophy behind meditation dictates life is happening now. It doesn’t begin when you tick off something tedious off the list. Try cooking with intention. This is a good chore to start with as one of your mindfulness meditation techniques. After all, we often cook for our loved ones. Nutritious, flavorful food is also good for our health and a literal feast for the senses.
As you take spices and herbs out of the cupboard, lift their caps and smell each one. Admire their intense flavors and colors. Enjoy the way they look as they drift from the measuring spoon into the cooking pot. As you stir the sauce, count the strokes of your spoon as a kind of meditation chant. Finally, turn plating the meal into a meaningful experience. Arrange an artistic garnish or place the baked potatoes on the platter in a symmetrical circle.
From there, you can move into even more mundane chores. Dusting gives you a chance to watch the motes dance in the air. Try marveling at the tiny lives encased in a single cloud of dust. Are you doing something that requires elbow grease? Take the time to admire the work that your muscles can do as you mop, scrub, and haul.
It may seem silly at first. But turning a chore into a meditation experience makes the task more bearable. It also adds beauty to the most mundane of life’s moments.
Practicing Mindful Breathing Meditation
There are countless breath-related mindfulness meditation techniques out there. But for beginners who can’t seem to focus, in-and-out is about as basic as it gets. Don’t just breathe instinctively. Make that inhale-exhale pattern something you become intimately aware of.
Start by inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling in a “whoosh” from your mouth. If you wish, count “1-2-3” as you breathe in, and “1-2-3” as you breathe out. Counting and being aware of your breathing pattern helps focus your thoughts. If you still find mental distractions crowding in, keep chasing them away again.
You may come across breathing methods often as you research mindfulness meditation techniques. That’s because the practice is one of the simplest ways to achieve a more tranquil state. Mindful breathing works on at least two levels — mental and physical. First, counting your breathing brings you to a deeper state of consciousness. During this time, trivial thoughts don’t intrude.
On the physical side, mindful breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. This nerve suppresses your body’s stress responses. When you’re worried, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. That instinct leads to rapid breathing and irregular heartbeats. By using mindful breathing, your vagus nerve helps slow those responses. In turn, you don’t go into the “stressed about being stressed” vicious cycle!
Learning Gratitude Meditation
Focusing on gratitude must become part of your mindfulness meditation definition. You can even incorporate gratitude meditation as part of your “chores with intention.” You may already do this from time to time. Ever wondered how your great-grandmother handled laundry without electric washers and dryers? Don’t resent the mountain of clean clothes that need to be put away. Instead, focus on the miracles of modern technology that got them clean and dry in the first place. Turn smoothing and folding those clothes into a ritual.
Make it a point to be grateful for a certain number of things each day. The number is incidental, but keep to whatever number you set. You can carry around a piece of paper or small notebook as part of the ritual. Once something happens or occurs to you, jot it down.
It can be “the sound of rain on the car roof,” or “a call from an old friend.” The meditations might seem shallow, like a new tube of lipstick that looks great on you. Or, it can be profound as when a charity you contribute to reaches its goal. If it makes you happy, it matters. This literal counting of blessings is one of your mindfulness meditation techniques.
Remember — even simple mindfulness meditation techniques can feel challenging at first. Our culture worships multi-tasking. When we’re not trying to do two things at once, we’re trying to escape reality through our earbuds and our tiny screens. For many people, fully experiencing where they are and what they’re doing isn’t a priority. Make it one for yourself. The benefits will be worth the effort!