The word meditation stems from the Latin term meditatum, 'to ponder'. Through meditation attention and awareness practice you will learn to focus, calm, and clear the mind. The exact origin of the act of meditation is not known as there are multiple references across different cultures and religions with records dating back to 1500 BC.
Mindfulness meditation will teach you how to pay attention to your breath and notice when and where your mind wanders. By focusing on your breath, noticing when your mind drifts, and returning to the breath you will build up mindfulness and attention, which you can then apply to every-day life. As well as increasing your attention, focus and subsequent productivity, meditation may be used to reduce anxiety, stress and depression.
A Beginners Guide to Meditation
Meditation is simple and you can practice for as long or as little as you like. If you are a beginner, try for just 5 minutes and increase it as your focus improves. Follow the steps below:
Sit comfortably, in a quiet place where nothing can distract you. Set an intention for the practice. How do you want to feel afterwards? What do you want to achieve?
Set a timer. Start with 5 minutes and increase this once you are more comfortable with the practice.
Start breathing with your eyes open. Deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Close your eyes on the exhale as you settle in to the breath.
Scan down your body. Do you feel any areas of tension or stress? Keep focusing on your body and breath.
If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. It can be helpful is to count your breaths. Inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4… go to 10 and repeat.
Let go of focus and let your mind wander at the end of the practice.
Gently open your eyes and take a moment to notice your environment and how you feel. Do you notice any smells? Any sounds? Any emotions?
How Often Should you Meditate?
Doing this simple practice every morning before work can be great for focus and productivity throughout the day. Beyond this, you will learn to be more mindful which will help your relationship with yourself as well as others. As you improve your ability to focus in the practice, try meditating for 10-15 minutes.
If you do not feel ready to guide your own meditation, there are many great apps and YouTube tutorials which can guide you through the practice. Try the beginners course on the Headspace App.