Meditation is a century-old practice that is especially relevant in today’s chaotic world. You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many find that meditation helps reduce stress and develop concentration. Scientists have documented all sorts of benefits of meditation, and with finals this week, we’re thinking that now is a great time to try it out. Play around with short bouts of meditation and discover the benefits for yourself.
Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Get comfy. Get into a comfortable position (sitting or laying down) and prepare to be still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath. Pretty simple, right?
- Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath the most? Do you notice it more in your chest? Or more in your stomach? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale. If you feel your mind starting to drift, try and keep your focus back to your breath.
- Follow your breath for a minimum of two minutes. Take a deep inhale that is slow and feels meaningful. Then exhale slowly, trying to focus on this breath as much as possible. With practice, you may find that you can meditate longer without feeling distracted. Self-compassion is key here. As distracted thoughts pop up, simply notice them and put them aside, refocusing on your breath.
- Thank yourself. When you’re done, thank yourself for this moment of self-care, and notice how you feel.
When you first begin practicing meditation it may feel difficult to focus your thoughts, and you may not know how to begin. One of the best ways to get better at practicing meditation is through the use of an app for your phone. If you’d like more guidance, check out our favorite meditation apps and try these YouTube videos for short guided meditations.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEfs5TJZ6Nk 3 minutes
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i50ZAs7v9es 5 minutes
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-6f5wQXSu8 10 minutes
- Headspace: One of the most well-known meditation apps on the market. Has guided audio meditation recordings for all different levels. Cost: $7.99 to $12.99 a month after the trial.
- Calm: This app has a variety of different stress management tools in addition to its mediation category. Calm features different types of guided sessions ranging from 3- 25 minutes. New meditations are added every day. Cost: Free
- Aura: This guided meditation app personalizes your meditation based on your mood. Session types range from emotions of energy and joyfulness to irritation and sadness. This is a great app to use when experimenting with different meditation types. Cost: Free
Hana Bennett, UCAN Manager