One of the best ways to find mental clarity is to use meditation. I used to not be a fan of meditation. When I was younger I thought it was boring and there was no point to it. However, recently I’ve been trying out different methods of meditation to see what works best for me. Now, I find meditating very soothing and beneficial. I do both guided and unguided meditation but I prefer the guided meditation that talks you through it. The background sounds give me something to focus on to stop my mind from racing. However, I also practice unguided meditation occasionally, I just have to focus more which is also beneficial.
Here are some of my tips for practicing meditation:
- Try meditating for at least 10 minutes – the first five minutes for beginners is typically just getting your mind cleared
- Find a quiet place where you know you can be uninterrupted for those 10 minutes – or longer if you choose so
- Sit up in a comfortable but solid position with a straight back – if you are too comfortable during your meditation exercise, you may be tempted to fall asleep.
- Repeat a relaxing word, such as “calm”, over and over in your head slowly or focus solely on your breathing
- Use a guided meditation app
I recently discovered an app called Calm that I use for my meditations. This app allows you to choose a theme for your meditation from finding happiness, managing stress, calming anxiety, or several other options. It also gives a certain number of days for each program set which encourages me to participate every day like working towards a goal. Even if you are not a fan of guided meditation, you can still use this app to time and track your meditation exercises.
At first, meditation felt like it takes too long and the time went by very slow, but once I was able to successfully quiet my mind, I didn’t even realize those 10 minutes had passed. I typically meditate at night for at least 10 minutes and once I finish, I almost always have a sense of peace and relaxation for the rest of the evening. I have also noticed several other benefits from meditating.
Benefits of meditation:
- I feel very relaxed afterwards
- If I meditate before I go to sleep, I fall asleep much faster and easier
- I became more aware of how much my mind wanders away from the present throughout my days
- I was able to control my thought digressions better when I noticed I was becoming distracted
- I am able to focus on positive thinking more frequently
While I was able to notice the first three benefits within the first few days of meditating, the last two took a little longer to notice the effects. After you meditate daily for a couple weeks you will begin to notice when your mind is drifting off to a place other than your present activity and be able to rein it back in. This will allow you to enjoy the present reality more. You may also find that your thoughts become more positive because you are able to enjoy the present rather than stressing out about something in the past, in the future, or something you cannot control. By meditating and paying attention to your thought patterns, you will be much more equipped to keep a positive mindset throughout your days.
I would encourage you to try meditating once a day for at least 10 minutes for a month and see how you feel. The biggest struggle with this will be fully participating in the exercise rather than just going through the motions. I found that I enjoy meditating at night but you can choose any time of day that works best for you. Try to pay attention to your thoughts throughout the day when you are not meditating and gear them more towards positive thinking rather than negative thinking.