23 Feb 4 Things to Keep in Mind About Meditation
Meditation is wonderful in that it’s free, always available, and amazingly effective in short-term stress reduction and long-term health. The benefits can be felt in just one session. An experienced teacher can be helpful but isn’t absolutely necessary. You can learn many effective meditation techniques from a book or from the meditation resources right here on Verywell. Ultimately, if you can focus on your breath, on the present moment, or on any one thing for a while, you can now meditate. It does often take some practice, however, and some people find it difficult to “get it” in the beginning. Meditation also requires a little patience and may be difficult for people with little free time (like some stay-at-home mothers who get very little privacy from small children). However, the time and effort it takes to learn and practice are well worth it in terms of the benefits it provides.
Consistent practice matters more than long practice
his means that it’s better to meditate for five minutes, six times per week than for 30 minutes once a week. The former can calm your body’s stress response several times in a week, while the latter may calm your body into a deeper state of relaxation, but it will only reverse your stress response once. In addition, you are more likely to stick with a regular meditation practice if you can start with short, daily sessions than if you feel you need to find time for longer sessions in order to practice. It is more likely that this self-imposed pressure will lead to you not finding time for it, then losing the motivation to try.
Regular practice matters more than “perfect” practice
This means that, rather than concerning yourself too much about what position to sit in, what technique to try when you sit, how long to sit, or what time of day, you should just sit and meditate. The rest will fall into place if you just begin, but if you feel the need to work these details out before you can start, you may find it more challenging to get started at all. There really is no “wrong” way to meditate anyway; any meditation is better than none.
If you notice your mind wandering, that’s good
Meditation can be challenging for some people, particularly perfectionists. We sometimes fall into the trap of wanting to do it “right” and becoming frustrated with ourselves when our mind drifts off. The thing to remember is that if you notice this happening, that’s a good thing—you noticed. Noticing and redirecting your thoughts back to the focus of your meditation (your breath, the present moment, or whatever you are choosing as your focus) is the real point of meditation. It’s virtually impossible to prevent your mind from wandering anyway.
Even long-time meditation practitioners find it challenging
This may come as a surprise, but even those who have been meditating for years can find it hard to stay present. This is perfectly normal for anyone. It’s all part of meditation, so don’t let it discourage you.