Something to Meditate On: The Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
With more time at home at the moment, we’re trying new recipes, skincare routines and workouts. We’re trimming our own bangs, doing our own nails and becoming our own baristas + bartenders. We’re catching up on TV shows [Ozark, anyone?], making playlists + reading that book we never got around to finishing. And we’re checking in on our friends + family, perhaps now more than ever.
Our friend Elizabeth Finch, a women’s wellness coach, once said: “Check in on yourself like you would your best friend.” So, we thought we’d stop, or at least pause [“Yes, Netflix, we’re still here!”] to ask you to check in on yourself like you would your best friend.
This is a good time to do your own inner work, to gently acknowledge, sit with + move through your thoughts + feelings, because let’s face it, some days are better than others, and every day feels like a month. What’s helping us: getting good quality sleep at night, moving our bodies in some way, eating nutrient-rich foods + meditating for a few minutes a day.
Meditation isn’t about some higher purpose, sense of enlightenment or act of transcendence – at least, not for us. It’s about sitting in stillness + observing where the mind goes. The mind will always wander, and it’s about training it to come back to the self. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts + feelings. You’re simply trying to notice them + let them go.
When external factors in our lives [ya know, like, a global pandemic] cause us to feel anxious, out of control or overwhelmed, we can always come back to our breath and back to our self. This is a safe space we can go that gives us a feeling of being centered + grounded.
Meditation is proven to reduce stress, increase clarity + promote happiness. And the good news is even a few minutes a day can make a difference. An easy way to get started is through guided meditation.
01 | Pick a time + try to be consistent — Whether it’s part of your morning routine or used to break up your day, use your meditation time as an appointment to check in on yourself + reset.
02 | Pick a spot — It could be your couch or it could be your front porch. Wherever it is, pick a place with minimal distractions that can become a sort of a refuge for your moments of meditation.
03 | Set a timer — When you first begin, it may be two minutes, but try to work your way up to five, 10 or 15 minutes. The goal here is to focus on your breathing. Have a thought lingering? Try your best to let it go. It is a challenge at first, but it gets easier with practice — and that’s all that it is, a meditation practice, your meditation practice. Find what works for you.
Our Pick of Best Meditation Apps for Beginners
01 | Headspace
Why: There’s something wonderfully calming + reassuring about Andy Puddicombe’s British accent.
What We Love: The animations, like a character sitting alongside a freeway watching cars go by. The narrator reminds us that our thoughts are like the cars. When we see a car on the freeway, we don’t look at it and imagine what’s going on inside the car; we acknowledge the car exists and let it go by. Similarly, when a thought comes up in meditation, there’s no need to examine it, acknowledge it, and let it go by.
02 | Calm
Why: The app helps you find the right meditation for you – whether it’s for sleep, anxiety, stress, inner peace or focus.
What We Love: It can be used as a sound machine at bedtime with settings like mountain lake + rain.
03 | Insight Timer
Why: It’s the #1 free app for stress, anxiety + sleep + our go-to for self-guided meditation. Simply set the timer. Begin at the sound of a bell, and when the bell rings again, you’re done.
What We Love: The app keeps track of how many days you’ve meditated in a row. And you can see how many people around the world are actively using the app along with you. [Currently, 707,000 people have meditated today + 5,900 are meditating right now.]
For more wellness x pandemic-survival tips, tune in to our OOO virtual series on instagram. This week we were joined by yoga + meditation instructor Danielle Ribaudo in a guided meditation. We care about you x hope this may ease some of the pressure + stress of this season. Stay well. Check in on yourselves + each other.
written by: Nicole Boddington