Meditation 101

Many of us know we should probably meditate more to help reduce stress, improve brain functioning and even to reduce pain. But like lots of good intentions we forget, get frustrated or just flat out don’t know where to start. Here’s a little secret: you can meditate for as little as two minutes a day and you don’t have to do it perfectly. In this post I share the highlights from one of my most popular corporate wellness workshops: Meditation 101. With an open mind, patience and consistency anyone can begin to benefit from this mindfulness practice.

What is Meditation?

The world meditation is used loosely in the modern world leading to confusion. Further reading.

  • Some use it to mean thinking, contemplating, concentrating or daydreaming.

  • Meditation is a practice for resting the mind and attaining a state of relaxation and calm that is totally different from the normal waking state.

  • Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science and produces results that can be verified.

  • In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed and inwardly focused.

  • When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you.

Benefits of Meditation

Further reading.

  1. Reduces Stress

  2. Controls Anxiety

  3. Promotes Emotional Health and Optimism

  4. Lengthens Attention Span

  5. May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss

  6. Increases Positive Feelings and Actions

  7. May Help Fight Addictions

  8. Improves Sleep

  9. Helps Control Pain

  10. Can Decrease Blood Pressure

Does It Have to Be Perfect?

Further reading.

  • Mindfulness is the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment.

  • Meditation is a skill.

    • Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. Think of it like exercising a muscle that you’ve never really worked out before. It takes consistency.

  • It's meditation practice, not meditation perfect.

    • There’s no such thing as perfect meditation. Sometimes your focus will wander or you’ll forget to follow your breath. That’s OK.

  • The mind can be a weird place.

    • It takes time to get comfortable with your mind. There might be setbacks along the way but that’s part of meditating. Keep practicing.

How Do You Do It?

Try this meditation practice for two minutes to start, and then try it for longer. Further reading.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably.

  2. Close your eyes.

  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.

  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.

Free Guided Meditation Apps

Also check out these books for further reading.