10 tips for “Mindfulness Meditation” Beginners
When I first began practicing Mindfulness Meditation I found it challenging to say the least. After a few attempts, I realized I wasn’t connecting with my “full self” while practicing. All of the culturally relevant and diverse parts of me were experienced separately. Below are a few tips for aspiring beginners, (and a refresher for others) that have allowed me to authentically engage in Mindfulness Meditation.
- Don’t Judge: Mindfulness is a journey and getting started can be intimidating. It may take a few tries before you get the hang of it. Let go of self-judgment and lean into the experience.
- Breathing: Your mind will wander and that’s ok. Use your breathing to center and anchor yourself to the present moment. When your mind begins to wander, gently refocus on your breathing.
- Body Scan: Body scans help with tuning into the body and connecting with your physical self. Body scans help to align the mind and body and help to recognize where you hold emotion in the body.
- It’s about observance: We hold a lot of “assumptions” about the things that distress us, like microaggressions for example. However, Mindfulness Meditation is the process of repeatedly returning your focus to the present moment without criticism. The goal is to be able to observe when you’ve physically or mentally left the present moment and return to your center (breathing).
- Practice Space: Limiting your environmental distractions is a good way to support consistency and ease with the process. Maybe pick a space where you can stretch out with limited loud noise.
- Keep it simple: It’s not about the race it’s about the destination. I often tell my clients “if a task seems overwhelming then break it down into smaller achievable parts.” Meditation is no different, ease into the process with an open mind.
- Be realistic: We aren’t trying to make anxious feelings go away, but rather to listen and learn about what we experience. Let go of your expectations, but be honest about the energy you bring into the space.
- Create a routine: Start small with some regularity. Your routine doesn’t have to be in a formal seated yoga pose. Adding your practice to an existing routine or everyday activity like a daily commute from work supports ease.
- Remember your Intention: We don’t get to decide what comes up during meditation. Trauma events may arise as a point of discomfort. Being purposeful with your intention and making space for self-kindness and gratitude.
- Tap into your culture: Mindfulness Meditation has existed for thousands of years and is represented in a variety of cultures. Allow yourself to tap into your culture, tradition, or ancestry to make the experience your own and go with it.
There is no right or wrong way to practice Mindfulness Meditation. Most of our difficulty with meditation has more to do with our approach rather than meditation itself. Ultimately, the best tip is to just do it! Practice makes perfect.