Do you remember when you did a plank for the first time?
I can’t remember when I first started that particular exercise, but I do remember the feeling:
OMG, a minute feels like an eternity!
Time was SO slow.
I could barely hold my position, grunting and collapsing.
When I saw others do it, it looked super easy.
If you had a similar experience with planks, multiply that difficulty by 100.
That’s how difficult meditation was for me.
But now I do planks for 5+ minutes, easy peasy (yay me, ha!).
So, there’s hope for meditation too, I think.
If you’re struggling with mediation or thinking about starting to practise meditation, my experience may offer you some insight.
For a complete beginner to meditation, below are some scientifically proven benefits of meditation:
- increases your attention span.
- reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
- promotes emotional well-being.
- improves physical and mental health.
Basically, it’s good for mind and body!
You may have a different reason for trying meditation.
Mine was to tame my attention span.
My focus and productivity were dwindling, and I really, really wanted to use my time wisely.
Every precious minute wasted is gone forever.
Yet, I wasted tons of time with distractions.
Hence the much-anticipated magic of meditation.
But Meditation is Hard
So if you failed in your first few attempts, you are not alone.
For a beginner, that’s normal and absolutely fine.
I learned that it’s important to not get stressed over it.
If you get upset or stressed in the process, it defeats the whole purpose of meditation.
It’s supposed to be a stress-relieving practice, not a stress-inducing one!
Most importantly, we are not competing with anyone.
When I first fell over doing planks or tree poses, I laughed at myself.
I found it genuinely funny.
You’d think that it’s easy to control your mind and body—it’s yours, after all.
A wonderful thing about learning something new is knowing that your power is in repetition.
We can master almost anything with repetition, as long as we’re committed to it.
Imagine Empty Bin or Calm Sea
A small bin under my desk gets filled up really quickly.
The bin reminds me of my mind filled with millions of thoughts overflowing.
Or imagine riding on a stormy sea with strong waves and winds.
My mind full of garbage kept me restless like riding on a stormy sea.
So I imagine the end result: emptying everything out of the bin (my mind) and feeling the calm sea.
When my mind starts wanders, I visualise a blue sea and feel a sense of calm wash over me.
Count Your Breath
Visualisation works great for me, but I know it can be hard if you aren’t used to it.
Your mind keeps going off… to a grocery list, a conversation with a neighbour or your to-do list.
That’s when a 4-5-6 breathing technique comes in handy.
Feel free to replace it with the prevailing 4-7-8 technique.
I like the former because it’s easy to remember. I’m simple like that.
When I first tried this breathing technique, I often got confused: “Is it belly in or out?” (duh!).
As you breathe in (belly out) through the nose, count slowly to 4, hold it for 5, and breathe out (belly in) through the mouth for 6.
Some say breathing out should be twice as long as breathing in, which explains 4-7-8.
Others say it’s fine as long as exhaling is slower and longer than inhaling.
I stick to 4-5-6 for convenience.
Either way, it’s very effective to prevent your mind from wandering off as you focus on counting (no multitasking here, just counting and breathing!).
A minute or 20 Minutes
If you’re like me, you’ll find 20 minutes of meditation quite challenging in the beginning.
What worked for me was to start slowly, with a minute every day. Increase it to 3 minutes or 5 minutes as you get more comfortable.
The length of meditation isn’t as important as consistency.
A minute is infinitely better than zero practice.
When and Where
A good thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere anytime. You don’t need special equipment to practise it, either.
The morning is usually the best time for me.
But I also do a quick meditation during the day when I feel distracted or overwhelmed with too many things.
Although I haven’t “mastered” meditation, I’m loving the process so far.
I’m sure with enough practise, it’ll be as effortless as walking plank!
I thoroughly recommend you add meditation to your personal growth journey and enjoy all the benefits meditation can offer.
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