Meditation For Beginners: Understanding The Basics - Karen Salmansohn

Meditation For Beginners: Understanding The Basics

Meditation For Beginners: Understanding The Basics
Are you feeling stressed? Are you interested in meditating, but unsure where to start? Follow these strategies to meditation for beginners – and you will relax, clear your mind and revitalize your energy.

Have you ever vented to someone about how stressed out you are – and they responded with something like: “You should really try meditation…”?

So you thought to yourself: “Geez! I already have a million and one things to do – which is why I’m stressed! I don’t have time to add in meditation – which is basically sitting there and doing nothing!”

Listen up!

You gotta take time to meditate exactly because you have a million and one things to do!

By simply taking a few minutes out of your day to sit quietly, you can release the tension you’ve been holding onto.

I’m not only saying this because I studied to be a meditation teacher – and passionately teach it to my clients. I’m saying this because psychologists, doctors, neuroscientists, and university researchers all agree: meditation is an effective method for relaxation

I love meditation so much, I wrote a book called Instant Calm – which shares a range of simple 2 minute sensory meditations – and has been praised by world renowned experts on meditation. (Learn more here!)

beginner's meditation to reduce stress
Meditation has a range of benefits:

  • Relaxes the mind – when you’re dealing with uncomfortable feelings like anger, fear, grief and self-loathing.
  • Improves how quickly people learn.
  • Stops obsessive anxious thoughts—in a more lasting way.
  • Helps control pain.
  • May reduce age-related memory loss.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • May improve the immune system.
  • Linked to longevity

Ok. So…are you now open-ish to meditation – but not sure where to start?

Keep reading for basic meditation tips for beginners.

it's often hard for beginners to meditate
The worst thing you can do when you get started with meditating is to attempt long meditations. It takes time to reach that level of mindfulness.

So when you’re sitting down for your first meditation, make sure it’s short and simple. It can even be as short as two minutes.

In fact, two minutes of mindful meditating is better than getting frustrated trying to do a 30-minute meditation and giving up!

In my book Instant Calm I offer a range of simple 2 minute meditations you can try – each based on tapping into your 5 senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing.

I purposefully made the meditations which I share all feel like fun – so you’re more likely to do them.

I’m sneaking you 2 of these short meditations from my book Instant Calm – which I think you’ll find enjoyable.

2 Minute Meditation for Beginners

  • Below is an image of a rainbow with a dot in the middle.
  • Plus an image with white fluffy clouds (further down below).
  • Scroll down for instructions.

a fun beginner's meditation with an optical illusion

clouds for beginners to meditation to stare into

Here’s what I want you to do.

  • I want you to stare at the dot in the middle of the rainbow in image #1. Basically, I want you to “meDOTate” on the dot –and only the dot – for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • After staring at the dot in the rainbow, I want you scroll down to the second image of the clouds. Blink your eyes a few times, then find a particularly white fluffy cloud to stare into.
  • You will be greeted by a very cool optical illusion – as well as a nice, relaxing, feeling of calm. Sigh. . . ..

Are you done?

Did you see an optical illusion?

The better you are at mastering your thoughts and focusing only on that dot inside of the rainbow (in a one-pointed meditative way) then the better this bonus optical illusion reward will be for you.

If you regularly practice this fun “MeDOTation,” you will be learning how to master your misbehaving thoughts – and be able to move on to more advanced meditation techniques.

Inside my book Instant Calm I have many more simple 2 minute sensory meditations!

Here’s a peek at another short meditation – excerpted from my book Instant Calm.

Another 2 Minute Meditation for Beginners

Many studies report that the smell of Vanilla can boost happiness and decrease stress—including one study by The Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The Center actually tested the effects of five different fragrances on 85 patients undergoing an MRI scan. Of all the 5 different scents tested, Vanilla was rated the number one most relaxing. In fact, patients exposed to the Vanilla smell reported 63% less anxiety and claustrophobia than those not exposed.

Sloan-Kettering was so impressed by Vanilla’s relaxing benefits, that they now include the smell of Vanilla as a standard part of their MRI scans.

Here’s what I want you to do.

  • Get a bottle of Vanilla Essential oil and hold the open bottle beneath your nose.
  • Inhale the scent for 4 seconds as you repeat the following silently to yourself: ”I am stronger than my challenges.”
  • Exhale for 4 seconds as you repeat the following silently to yourself: ”My challenges are making me stronger.”
  • Repeat this inhale /exhale mantra sensory scent meditation for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Enjoy a nice relaxing feeling of calm.

I have many more sensory meditations inside of Instant Calm – each based on each of your 5 senses. (Pssst…I even have a Chocolate Meditation in the “Taste Sensory Meditation” section of my book.)

But it’s not enough to find meditations you want to do.

You also must make sure you actually do them – which requires you scheduling meditation into your day!

Determine the Best Time to Meditate

If you’re serious about meditating every day, it’s important to make it a habit. Otherwise, you might do it for a couple of days –  then just forget about it altogether.

The best way to make something a habit is to schedule it into your day – and pair this new habit with a habit you already do every day.

For example…

If you eat breakfast every morning, you can set aside five minutes before breakfast to meditate.The result? Eating breakfast is a reminder to meditate every day.

If you prefer to meditate at night, you can pick an evening ritual to pair it up with – like brushing your teeth.

Make Sure You Won’t Be Interrupted

One of the main goals of meditation is to clear your mind. But this is impossible to accomplish if you’re constantly being interrupted by screaming kids or or a ringing phone.

That’s why it’s important to find a time and place where there will be no interruptions. Even the idea that there could be an interruption is enough to ruin a meditation.

If you have constant distractions at home, you could try doing a meditation in your car before walking into work. Any place where you can be alone and feel comfortable is a great place to meditate.

anxiety is like a toddler
Think of Meditation As an Important Mental Health Practice

Every morning when you wake up, you brush your teeth and get dressed. You think of these time consuming habits as necessities.

Well, you need to start thinking about meditating as a necessity too.

In the same way you feel it’s important to take a few minutes for dental hygiene and brush your teeth – you need to start feeling that way about your mental health – and prioritize meditating.

Once you start to think of meditation as a necessity for your mental health, it will be a lot easier to make time for it in your daily routine.

Be Patient with Yourself and Your Beginner Meditation Practice

Have you tried meditation in the past, but quickly gave up because you just couldn’t focus or clear your mind? You’re not alone! This is the case for just about every beginner.

beginners need to make meditation a habit to get the full results
We’ve spent our whole lives living a fast-paced life. Clearing the mind goes completely against what we’ve trained ourselves to do. That’s why it can feel impossible to clear your mind during meditation at first.

In fact, it may take a few weeks to really notice an improvement in focus. But the improvement will come, and it’ll be life-changing.

Every expert started out as a beginner. Practice is how we learn.

TEDx speaker, Josh Kaufman, says that it usually takes at least 20 hours of practice when you start a new activity to become good at this new skillset. So be patient with yourself, and forgive yourself for slipping up. It will be well worth it soon enough.

Start Meditation for Beginners Today – Don’t Put It Off

Meditation for beginners can seem daunting, but if you use these basic tips you’ll have no problem integrating this practice into your everyday life. Remember, no matter how busy you are, you can always find time for a short, 2-minute meditation.

That’s why I wrote Instant Calm, a book with a wide range of simple 2-minute meditations to help you relax and lead a happier life. Learn more here!

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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