We learn to pay attention to the breath as it comes in and out in mindfulness meditation, and to notice when the mind wanders away from this work. Returning to the breath strengthens the muscles of attention and mindfulness.
When we focus on our breath, we are learning how to intentionally return to and remain in the present moment—how to anchor ourselves in the here and now without judgement.
Why Learn to Meditate?
While meditation isn’t a remedy, it can help you create some much-needed breathing room in your life. That’s all we sometimes need to make better decisions for ourselves, our families, and our communities. A little patience, some kindness for yourself, and a comfortable spot to sit are the most crucial tools you can bring to your meditation practise.
The following are five compelling reasons to meditate:
- Recognizing your distress
- Reduce your anxiety.
- Better communication
- Improve your concentration
- Reduce brain chatter
How to Meditate
Meditation is both easier and more difficult than most people believe. Read through these procedures, make sure you’re in a relaxing environment, set a timer, and give it a shot:
- Sit down.
Look for a relaxing and quiet spot to sit in.
- Establish a time limit
If you’re just starting out, a brief time limit, such as five or ten minutes, may be beneficial.
- Pay attention to your body.
You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, cross-legged, or kneel—any of these positions is OK. Simply ensure that you are steady and in a position that you can maintain for an extended period of time.
- Pay attention to your breathing.
Follow the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body.
- Recognize when your thoughts have wandered.
Your attention will inevitably leave the breath and stray to other things. Simply return your focus to the breath when you notice your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, or five minutes.
- Be gentle with your wandering thoughts.
Don’t pass judgement on yourself or obsess about the content of your wandering thoughts. Simply return.
- End on a positive note.
Lift your gaze gently when you’re ready (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment to listen to the sounds around you. Take note of how your body is currently feeling. Take note of your feelings and thoughts.