How to become a better person through meditation and stay that way forever

What is meditation and why should you practice it

Meditation is a complete concentration on an object or phenomenon, which helps to develop awareness. Beginners are often advised to follow their breath, but this is by no means the only option. You can concentrate on anything – a piece of chocolate, the sound of rain, or washing dishes.

Meditation teaches you to be present in the present moment and perceive your own thoughts as a product of the mind, and not a reflection of reality.

When a conscious person suddenly thinks “I’m good for nothing” or “No one loves me,” he realizes that these are just thoughts. And he can easily deal with them without diving into the abyss of self-abasement and bad mood.

Perhaps that is why meditation helps to solve emotional problems and overcome difficulties in relationships.

Scientific studies confirm that this practice reduces stress, helps fight anger, fatigue and anxiety, improves attention, increases feelings of well-being and empathy, and even boosts immunity.

The practice of mindfulness helps not only healthy people, but also those who are faced with mental disorders. It relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression and reduces the risk of future relapse.

But, like any useful tool, meditation helps only under certain conditions.

How to Meditate to Benefit

If you want to develop mindfulness and keep it forever, here are some tips on how to get the most out of meditation and not give up the next day.

Make a plan and stick to it

Any occupation, and even more so new and unusual, requires some kind of plan. To use a sports analogy, you want a workout program, not “squats are good, do them a few times sometimes” advice.

Iya Zorina

Author, Lifehacker fitness expert

For several years, meditation was present in my life from time to time. At the beginning of the summer, I once again remembered her and began to search for clear guidance. In the end, I found a book by clinical psychology professor Mark Williams and journalist Danny Penman, Mindfulness. How to find harmony in our crazy world.

She helped me get used to regular sessions and keep me motivated for two months. And I also found in it some useful tools for maintaining peace of mind in difficult situations.

At the beginning of the book, the authors briefly talk about the benefits of the practice, and then give an eight-week program with clear instructions on what to do, how many minutes a day to do it, what to focus on, and what to do if it doesn’t work out.

Read it or make your own meditation program. The main thing is to have a clear course of action and follow your plan without omissions or excuses.

Practice regularly

In the book mentioned above, the authors explain that meditation helps switch the brain from action mode to awareness mode. In the first, we analyze, plan, think over and do other useful mental work, in the second, we simply perceive, without evaluation or criticism.

During the practice, you fully concentrate on the present moment and, when the meditation ends, continue to live in this mode. He is much calmer, because you do not remember the past and do not think about the future, do not criticize and notice all the good things that happen in your life (and there are many of them).

At the same time, the mode of action is quickly reclaiming its position, and awareness is leaving you. Over time, the brain will rewire, but before this happens, you have to spend a lot of time on practice.

To get results, you need to practice every day, and even better – several times a day.

The effect of one meditation lasts a maximum of a day, so if you want to receive benefits constantly, tune in to regular work.

Choose the meditation you like

You can focus on many different things:

  • On the breath . It is the simplest and most effective means of returning to the present moment. It is necessary to observe the inhalation and exhalation, the movement of air, the sensations in the chest and abdomen. You can also repeat “inhale” and “exhale” to yourself – this helps to focus when the focus of attention jumps like a squirrel.
  • On the sensations of your body . In the process, you need to gradually direct attention to different parts of the body. You can start from the feet and go higher and higher, feeling what sensations arise in the legs, hips, stomach, and so on.
  • On the sounds of the environment . For this meditation, you need to focus on all the sounds within earshot. Focus on them individually or take them all at once as a musical composition.
  • On thoughts . It is important here not to try to remove thoughts, but simply to observe how they arise in the head, and, if possible, not get involved. Imagine that you are standing on the bank, and your thoughts flow past like a raging stream. As soon as you find yourself in the current, immediately go back to the shore and continue watching.
  • on external stimuli. Choose whatever your heart desires, and consider, noting the smallest details, as if you are going to paint a detailed picture. Try to focus on clouds, trees, waves, loved ones or strangers, paintings or photographs. During these meditations, you can see beauty where you did not notice before.
  • On the move . Choose simple movements like raising your arms through your sides or rotating your shoulders. Do it slowly and concentrate on any sensations that arise in the process.
  • On household chores . Washing dishes, climbing stairs, cleaning – any activity can be turned into meditation if you fully focus on doing it. And believe me, you will do it as well as possible, and even enjoy it.
  • On food . During this meditation, you will truly feel all the facets of taste and never eat more than you need. Concentrate fully on the food – how it looks and smells, how it feels in the mouth, how well it chews and swallows, what sensations and thoughts arise in the process.

All of these options are equally effective. You can alternate them to get new experiences and diversify your practice. Or choose what you like best and work best, and do only one option.

Iya Zorina

I tend to focus on the sensations in my body. As a rule, my forehead and eye muscles are very tense, and it takes a long time to relax them. But this practice is damn calming.

It’s also great to meditate on sounds. I do it on the balcony, so that the noise of cars, the squeals of flying swifts and the distant conversations of passers-by merge into a pleasant ambient. And after such practice, any music sounds brighter and more pleasant. Maybe the areas of the brain responsible for the perception of sounds are activated.

But perhaps the most effective is concentration on thoughts. This practice brings me into a state of awareness faster than others. When all the obsessive songs in my head stop, pictures appear that look like dreams. It’s fun to watch them.

What not to do in order not to be disappointed

Don’t make these mistakes. Because of them, you can lose enthusiasm and leave the practice without appreciating all its benefits.

Rush right off the bat

Meditation has to be gradually accustomed to. At first, even five minutes of concentration can seem like a daunting task.

If you immediately plan to meditate for 30 minutes, then 28 of them will be in the clouds, only sometimes remembering with horror that you actually have to watch your breath . There will be little benefit from such a practice, as well as a desire to repeat it.

Start with short meditations of 3-5 minutes, but repeat them often – at least three times a day.

Set a time for your classes, add tasks with a reminder to your calendar and follow them ironically, regardless of your desire and mood.

You can gradually increase the time. For example, add two longer meditations of 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening to short meditations.

scold yourself

It may be difficult for you to concentrate at first, and that’s okay. After a few months of regular practice, you may still find yourself drifting away in your thoughts instead of following the in-breaths and out-breaths or the sounds. And that’s okay too.

Sometimes focus is easy, time flies by, and practice is refreshing and enjoyable. But it also happens that thoughts jump, concentration lasts no more than five seconds, and five minutes seem like an eternity. And that’s okay.

In any case, do not criticize yourself and be upset. Note your condition and repeat the practice a little later.

See meditation as the cure for all problems

Meditation will not turn you into a blissful person who smiles all the time and loves all life on earth. But it will help you notice pleasant things more often and treat others with greater sympathy.

Practice will not save you from childhood complexes and psychological problems, but it will help you notice negative thoughts in time and not drown in the abyss of far-fetched suffering. It will not remove stress and negative emotions from your life, but it will teach you to look at them differently – to accept, live and let go.

Iya Zorina

I remember one funny case from practice. I went to visit good friends and came back depressed and annoyed. I decided to meditate, concentrating on my feelings, and was surprised to find a lump in my throat and other signs of resentment , although there were no objective “adult” reasons for this. When I admitted that I was offended by them, my mood immediately improved and the unpleasant aftertaste disappeared. Acceptance in action.

Do not expect eternal bliss from meditation, and even more so enlightenment, which will come once and for all. Instead, get ready to exercise regularly and reap the benefits for mental health and well-being.

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