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Up Your Self-Care Game: A Guide to Practical Meditation

Believe it or not, you can meditate without turning into a stereotypical hippie. With self-care finally becoming a priority within today’s youth, we are able to further explore forms of self-care that work for us individually. Meditation often sounds like an intimidating thing that only self-actualized monks or extreme nature enthusiasts can truly pursue, but the beauty of the art of meditation lies within its accessibility.

Here are some ways to ease into and reap the benefits of meditation that just might convince you to give it a try.

Do some research: Know what you are looking to gain and how to achieve it before you begin. Although you don’t have to do any extensive studying on the origin of meditation, it is important to have a general knowledge of what it entails before you dive into a practice so introspective and individualistic. By preparing a little beforehand, you are more prepared for the journey ahead.

Start small: Start by meditating for 10 minutes a day. If you really struggle with 10 minutes, lower it to five and work your way up to ten once more. Do not feel bad about skipping a few days, but really push yourself to do it daily. It does not have to be at the same time every day, but that constant repetition could be very helpful (after all, this is the start of what could turn into a lifetime of meditation, which means that practicing daily is crucial). As soon as you wake up and right before bed are the two most commonly recommended times for beginners to meditate.

Allow yourself to feel pain: A common complaint beginners have is that meditation, even for a short period of time, produces annoying headaches. According to meditation teachers and specialists, this is a result of your upper chakras (Third Eye and Crown) opening. Meditation is all about disrupting the negative and hectic energy, so this release can be painful. The Bhagavad Gita states that meditation is a struggle between “upward and downward declining tendencies”. Other pain that might arise is back or shoulder pain. However, the pain is rarely intense and will help you progress into a better outlook on life.

Forgive yourself if you struggle: Meditation seems so much easier than it really is. I won’t lie and say it is a task one can easily adapt to on a master level. The learning and growing experiences are what make meditation worthwhile. Understanding that you may never be a master of meditation is part of the battle. Meditation allows you to learn so much about yourself and your thoughts, but only if you persevere through struggles, such as laziness or distractedness. Everyone improves at their own speed, which means that comparing your progress to others will only hinder your inspiration, motivation, and confidence. Instead of giving up or stressing out when things get hard, try to figure out what can be learned from the situation as a whole.

Use apps or go to classes: Meditation can be hard to facilitate and control by yourself. A fun way to spice up your meditation practice is to use apps, such as Pacifica and Headspace or to attend meditation classes. Apps such as these are easy for beginners to comprehend and implement guided meditation that is easier to do than solitary meditation. These methods can provide outside company and support throughout your journey towards mindfulness. These alternatives also can allow you to branch out and find what works for you: after all, meditation does not have to be a solitary activity. Crystal meditation, group meditation, transcendental meditation, and yoga meditation are only a few of many kinds that are available for you to try.

Journal your experience: Journaling the things you learn about meditation, along with the struggles or revelations you have, can be a cathartic experience. It is so satisfying to look back on your early experiences and document the progress you have made. By reflecting upon your experiences, you can discover what works for you and what does not. Additionally, journaling serves as a peaceful outlet to engage in after meditation, so you are not immediately sent back into the frantic chaos of everyday activities.

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