Meditation for Beginners: Four of Our Favorite Techniques
At Confidence Daily, we believe in meditation as a daily practice. For us, it’s a meaningful way to set our intentions for the day, release self-doubt, lead with gratitude, and get grounded.
In addition to being an essential part of our morning and evening routines, meditation is known to have several mental, emotional, and even physical benefits. The Mayo Clinic states that meditation can help soothe symptoms related to anxiety, asthma, cancer, chronic pain, sleeping problems, high blood pressure, and tension headaches.
Despite its well-known benefits, one common myth that keeps people from beginning their meditation journey is the belief that you need to completely turn your mind off and silence all thoughts to do it right. Let’s be real, you can never completely silence your thoughts...you just need to be aware of them and release them to allow your mind the opportunity to dig deeper. So, before you count yourself out, give it a try knowing that you’ll get better and more mindful each time you meditate.
So, where to start? There are countless ways to meditate. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite meditation practices for beginners.
Box Breathing /Square Breathing
Box breathing (also called 4-4-4-4 breathing and square breathing) is a type of breathwork that helps calm and focus the mind. This meditative practice is great for those who are busy and feeling overwhelmed as it helps to reduce feelings of stress while also enhancing performance and concentration. To engage in box breathing:
1. Inhale for four seconds,
2. Hold your breath for four seconds,
3. Exhale for four seconds, and
4. Hold your breath for four seconds.
Repeat this cycle as many times as you’d like to feel more grounded, focused, and at ease.
Transcendental meditation (TM) is one of the most popular forms of meditation and is great for individuals who are having trouble quieting their active minds, struggling with focus and/or memory, or individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. The purpose of engaging in TM is to relax your body and mind to a state of restful alertness, enabling you to enter a state of pure consciousness. We recommend TM for those who work better with a guide or need a little encouragement to get started.
Started in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, this form of meditation is taught by certified teachers of the Maharishi Foundation. As a mantra-centric form of meditation, transcendental meditation involves repeating a single word or phrase. There are practitioners specialized in this form of meditation that give their clients the resonating word or phrase to repeat to match a particular vibration. Sessions with certified teachers can come with a pretty high price tag, but many have also learned how to engage in TM via social media and YouTube. If you’re interested in getting started, check out this video by Bob Roth, Oprah’s TM Teacher.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that Mantra is a Sanskrit term that translates to “a tool for the mind,” (mind = manas; tra = tool).
If TM is interesting but not quite accessible to you, engaging in mantra meditation would be a great place to begin. Unlike TM, there are no set rules or guidelines for mantra meditation, and you don’t need the help of a certified teacher to get started. Choose a phrase or word that resonates with you, relax your mind, and let the mantra flow. You’ll want to select just one mantra to focus on at a time, but you can switch it up from session to session. To start, we recommend taking the following steps:
Select a mantra.
Get in a comfortable position (or even go for a walk).
Set a timer to mark the beginning and end of your meditative session.
Use your breath as a guide throughout the meditation, gently redirecting your thoughts if your mind starts to wander.
Close the meditation when the timer goes off, ending with a thought or expression of gratitude.
The word or phrase you select may be uplifting, grounding, centering or anything in between. We also love the idea of using positive affirmations to challenge feelings of self-doubt fear. Here’s a few of our favorites:
I am abundance.
I am whole.
I am joy.
I am enough.
I am learning and growing every day.
I am present in this moment, right here, right now.
Everything is happening for my good.
Another one of our favorites is mindfulness meditation. This is perfect for individuals who are always on the go or those who experience racing thoughts due to countless responsibilities. Mindfulness meditation can take on many forms, but at its core, this form of meditation involves getting rooted in the present moment. While we always appreciate the opportunity to take a break from our daily responsibilities, mindfulness meditation is an opportunity to focus on “the now” even when you’re engaged in daily tasks and activities. The key is simply awareness.
If you're able to take a full-stop to engage in mindfulness meditation, here are a few tips to get you started:
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath.
When distracting thoughts or feelings arise, simply acknowledge and release them.
Remind yourself that this is a practice rooted in progression, and that perfection is not required.
For the best results, it’s recommended that you engage for at least 10-20 minutes per day, twice a day.
Even if you don’t have the time to stop and meditate, you can still practice moments of mindfulness throughout the day by being aware of your thoughts, bringing attention to the activity at hand and committing to the present moment, releasing yourself from racing thoughts and feelings of doubt.
Meditation isn’t one size fits all, and there’s meditative practices designed to meet any and everyone where they are. While they don’t take the place of visiting your mental health practitioner or doctor, when used in combination with other practices, meditation has the power to change your life...and your health, for good.