Mindful Practices to Reduce Stress
Are you interested in trying meditation, but not sure where to start? Given the number of options for mindfulness practices out there, this is completely normal! Finding the method that works for you and implementing it into your daily routine takes time but comes with many mental and physical health benefits. A regular meditation practice can help to:
- Increase awareness, clarity, compassion, and a sense of calm
- Increase focus
- Ease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress-related pain
- Increase mental resilience and satisfaction with life
- Manage stress
- Lower blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption
- Boost the immune system
- Reduce inflammation
Tips For Meditation Beginners
Set yourself up for success:
- Choose a time of day that is free of distraction. Meditation requires your full attention, so allowing yourself to step away from other responsibilities for even five or ten minutes can be extremely beneficial.
- Sit or lie comfortably. Meditation can be done in whatever position is most comfortable for you whether this is sitting cross legged, lying down, reclining in a chair, or even standing.
- Practice at the same time every day until meditation becomes routine. Some people like to meditate first thing in the morning or before bed at night. Choose a time that fits with your schedule and practice every day until it becomes a habit.
What Type Of Meditation Is Right For Me?
Experimenting with different forms, or a combination of styles can help to pinpoint what will be both enjoyable and sustainable for you. Some beginner styles include:
- Concentration meditation: this involves focusing on a single point such as watching the breath, repeating a mantra, staring at a candle’s flame, or listening to a repetitive sound.
- Mindfulness meditation: this practice encourages you to observe your wandering mind without judgement or fixation.
- Movement meditation: Mindfulness can also be practiced while moving the body in various ways such as engaging in yoga, tai chi, and walking in nature.
Remember that it is natural to feel discomfort, boredom, or even frustration when starting a mindfulness practice! If you find yourself experiencing these emotions, try engaging with a community of people who are also learning this skill or seek out resources that can help you on your journey.
Where Can I Find Meditation Resources?
Guided meditation apps: These apps provide guided meditations, which usually come in the form of an audio recording and walk you through a mindfulness practice from start to finish. These vary in length and can be tailored to what you need that day.
Local in-person classes:
Community recreation centres, yoga studios, or private teachers may offer beginner meditation classes in your town. These provide someone to guide you through the process, troubleshoot any difficulties you may experience, and introduce you to others who are learning.
In-person classes with a trained teacher may be the best option if you have experienced significant trauma in your life. While meditation can bring about positive outcomes, it also has the potential to bring uncomfortable feelings to the surface. A trained professional can help you decide what form of meditation is best and how you can implement it into your life in a safe, supportive way.
Written by Cat Zydyk
Chaudhari, A.P. (2013). Meditation for beginners: Tips for quieting the mind. International journal of research in all subjects in multi languages, 1(1), 1-3. https://www.raijmr.com/ijrsml/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/IJRSML_2013_vol01_issue_01_07.pdf
Headspace (2023). Top 13 meditation tips. https://www.headspace.com/meditation/tips
Headspace (2023). The many benefits of meditation. https://www.headspace.com/meditation/benefits