Meditation basics for improved mental clarity and focus

Meditation basics for improved mental clarity and focus
Meditation basics for improved mental clarity and focus

Meditation can seem overwhelming, especially if we convince ourselves that the only valid goal of meditation is to reach an absolute Zen state. Such thinking makes it seem impossible for us to ever achieve that kind of enlightenment and can turn us off from attempting meditation altogether.

The good news is that we don’t have to reach the pinnacle of enlightenment to reap the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

The list of benefits of meditation is long and includes better mental clarity, improved mood, better focus, and stronger emotional control. Meditation can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, and can make you feel happier longer. Meditation is all about balance, and this can be achieved by only 20 minutes of meditation a day, twice a day.

The key to unlocking these benefits is mindfulness, which means being aware of yourself and your breath, and everything around you.

Find a quiet space, even if it’s just at your desk. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Survey every part of your body, how does it feel? Register it: “my arm hurts,” or, “my shoulder is stiff.” Log those feelings and continue on to each part of your body, non-judgmentally, noting any discomfort, but still focusing on your breathing. Make yourself more comfortable. If you feel tense sitting with your legs crossed, stretch them straight out in front of you.

Allow stray thoughts to flow past you, notice them but do not pass judgment. Observe the thoughts, and then let them pass. With practice, a painful memories can become like raindrops on a window pane. You see them, but they do not hurt you. They’re there for a fleeting moment, but then they roll away.

Repeat a mantra to yourself. With each inhale, say to yourself: “I am beautiful,” or, “I am worthy,” or, “I am loved.” Any word or phrase that can ground you in a positive way is useful here.

It can be difficult to quiet your mind with all the random and sometimes chaotic thoughts that are racing through our brains. A chime or gong is especially useful to help center us and bring our focus to the present moment. There are even meditation apps available that simulate the sounds of gong, so there’s no excuse not to try.

These are all very basic principles of meditation and we will explore this subject in more detail in future articles. For now, just find a quiet space, relax, focus on your breathing, and remember that you are worthy.

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