Tips for Newbie Mediators
Neuroscientists have discovered that after 8 weeks, non-meditators who start a mindfulness practice show decreased brain activity in the amygdala – the brain region that controls anxiety – and increased grey matter in regions involved in perspective-taking and regulating emotions.
Dee Willock, the Vancouver-based author of Falling Into Easy: Help For Those Who Can’t Meditate shares some of her top tips:
- Any comfy position is fine (doesnt have to be a formal, legs crossed position) – as long as it doesn’t induce sleep.
- Efforts to suppress or eliminate racing thoughts are futile. The goal is to put antsy thoughts in the background while the mind focuses elsewhere. Beginners may find it easiest to simply notice how each breath feels in the body, or be aware of any ambient sounds.
- Urgent thoughts will intrude ( “Did I turn off the stove?”). Acknowledge their existence, but then tell them you’re going back to your focus.
- Fears of being at the mercy of negative thoughts is a “huge barrier” for new meditators, so imagine that each breath brings joy, or by fill in the details of a happy memory.
- Busy people can meditate anywhere, even if it means sitting in a living room full of kids. Start with 15 minutes a day, since the mind tends to calm down around the 10-minute mark.
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