When I first started researching about meditation, I was convinced that mindfulness was the perfect technique to begin with, as it seemed simple and easy to practice.
However, when I began actually practicing it, I realized that I was dead wrong about the “easy to practice” part. Even thought practicing mindfulness is indeed very simple, it is far from easy. Of course for some, it might come about more easily than others. It kind of depends on any individual’s current state of mind, conditioning, time under practice, consistency, and many other factors, but for an average human mind, practicing mindfulness could be really strenuous.
For me, being mindful was an enormous challenge as I used to be chronically stressed and used to overthink even during my sleep, so to speak. The more I tried to “kill” my mind, the more alive it became.
However, as they say, “no pain-no gain”.
Living in such states, gave me the opportunity to fight harder, look deeper into myself, and find approaches to adjust my practice in ways which would help me improve my sessions and reap a greater amount of the amazing benefits of practicing meditation better and faster.
So, here I am with you now, to share my insights and help you improve your sessions, put your mind back on track, and finally start living a more centered, peaceful, and mindful life.
Without further ado, let us dive deeper into this list of my best mindfulness tips for beginners.
1 / Minimize Distractions.
Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or distracted. Shut down your mobile phone, TV, PC and make sure that you are logged out of all your social media accounts. The time devoted to your meditation sessions is the time that you have to spend just being with yourself.
2 / Meditate in Nature.
Nature is our birthplace and where we evolved. Being there will promote your mindfulness practice, relax your body, calm your mind, enhance your spirit and help you maintain your meditative state for longer periods of time.
You could meditate into a forest or by the sea. I love meditating by the sea, as the sound of the waves and the light sea breeze are amazingly soothing. If for some reason you don’t have access to the countryside, there is a great variety of nature sound audios online. Here are some useful links:
3 / Meditate After Waking Up.
I wouldn’t recommend practicing immediately after waking up because you run the risk of falling asleep again. Instead, get out of bed, take a short shower and eat very light ( something like a fruit ). When you are done with your practice, eat your breakfast and proceed with your day.
Practicing in the morning greatly helps to stay energized, alert, focused and calm throughout the entire day, gaining the ability to deal with whatever the day throws in front of you from a much clearer perspective.
4 / Use Guided Meditation Tracks.
They help a lot, especially if you are a beginner because you won’t have to worry if you are doing it right or not. You just have to follow the instructions. I have posted some links to guided mindfulness meditation videos bellow, to help you get started.
5 / Stop Clinging to Results.
The entire purpose of practicing mindfulness is to learn how to live fully committed to each moment without wishing it to become any different.
Longing for seeing positive results out of every practice ruins the whole point of practicing, renders you frustrated, and might even make you want to give up practicing altogether. Just learn to practice for the sake of practicing without having any expectations. This way the results manifest much faster.
6 / Accept.
For the first few months since the beginning of my meditation journey, I had trouble concentrating. My attention had the tendency to jump all around every couple of seconds, just like a flea. This made me more anxious, angry and even disappointed in myself until I realized that my reaction towards not being concentrated enough was ruining my practice even more.
As I stated before, mindfulness is not about changing something, but rather about accepting what is, as it is. Acceptance is a powerful tool towards mastering mindfulness. Accept your distractions; accept your non-presence; this is mindfulness, and that way moment-to-moment awareness is greatly cultivated.
7 / Relax.
If you are feeling tense and edgy it is highly possible that your heart rate and your blood pressure are increased. I have discovered a little trick that helps me reduce my blood pressure and heart rate, thus becoming much calmer before starting my meditation practice. This might work for you as well so give it a try. Take a very deep breath, keep it in for five seconds and then exhale slowly. Wait five seconds before you inhale again, then take another deep breath and so on. Keep this up for at least five deep breaths. Apply this before you are about to start your practice. The results take place almost instantly. Think of this like a warm up.
Take a very deep breath, keep it in for five seconds and then exhale slowly. Wait five seconds before you inhale again, then take another deep breath and so on. Keep this up for at least five deep breaths. Apply this before you are about to start your practice. The results take place almost instantly. Think of this like a warm up.
Think of this exercise just like a “calmness warm up”. Then let your breath take place effortlessly by itself and go on with your practice.
8 / Do NOT Try to Cease Your Thoughts.
They are a part of you. Be their friend. Be curious about them. Should you try to stop your thoughts, you will most likely end up more stressed and upset.
Just observe and don’t react to them. Then, refocus your attention to your anchor and be aware that each time you manage to let a thought fade away by itself without being carried away with it, it becomes much weaker.
9 / Keep up Practicing Mindfulness no Matter What.
Really commit yourself to this even if you feel that your practice is fruitless. Especially then.
Although, results may take a while in order to take place, at some point you will look back, and won’t be able to believe the enormous amount of change that you have gone through.
10 / Be Consistent.
Consistency is much more important than the duration of each session. It is much better to practice mindfulness for 5 minutes daily than practicing it for 2 hours weekly.
Moreover, as a beginner, your foremost goal is to make meditation a part of your daily routine and eventually a part of yourself. Inconsistency is what drives most people who start meditating to ultimately quit.
11 / Develop Concentration.
Developing the right amount of concentration is an important stepping stone towards cultivating a mindful state of being.
Being able to concentrate on a chosen anchor for long enough induces states of deep peace, stillness, clarity, insight, and openness.
The most efficient way for a beginner to achieve this kind of concentration is to practice mindfulness of the breath. This simply means that you use your breath as an anchor to bring your attention back to the present moment when you recognize that your attention has wandered away from it.
12 / Be Non-Judgmental.
Bad thoughts will rise and they will give rise to bad feelings as well. Good thoughts will rise too. The point of mindfulness practice is to stop labeling everything as good or bad, desirable or undesirable and become an impartial observer.
The moment that you label something as “good”, you manifest the “bad” along with it. Just consider everything as part of your human experience and let everything come and go as it will anyway.
13 / Be Patient and Persistent.
Old habits die hard. New habits take time and effort to be cultivated. True internal change does not take place overnight. Mindfulness cannot be truly understood by reading and cannot be mastered by practicing just for a few times.
You have to practice; you have to fail and try again until you fail and get the chance to try once more until you finally get how it works. The more time and effort you put into your practice the easier it gets until ultimately it becomes as effortless as breathing itself.
14 / Stop Making Excuses to Avoid Practicing.
Believe it or not, your mind hates being still and peaceful and it will do anything in its power to keep you busy and distracted from really experiencing those states of being. I am aware that I may have confused you right now because YOU would love to experience peace and stillness.
However, you are not your mind. Your mind has a mind of its own and it basically runs by itself. It will make excuses such as “there is no point in practicing anymore”, “this won’t work”, “I don’t feel like it”, “I am bored”, “I don’t really have time”, etc. When you become aware of those excuses, just know that you have to do the exact opposite of what your mind tells you. Your mind doesn’t really want what is best for you; it wants what is best for it.
15 / Don’t Worry! You Are Doing It Right.
What troubled me the most during my first steps as a mindfulness practitioner was if I was doing mindfulness the right way; the way that it is supposed to be practiced. After a while, I became aware that during my sessions I was constantly so worried about practicing the right way, that I didn’t have the slightest chance to refocus my attention to my breath. Not even once.
So, let me point out something and I can’t stress this enough.
You don’t have to feel good during your practice in order to know that it works. You don’t even need to feel good after finishing it. Sometimes you will feel better; some others you are going to feel worse, and maybe most of the time you won’t be able to notice any difference at all.
If during your practice you became aware that your attention went astray and you did manage to bring it back to your anchor even once, you have practiced with great success.
Some Last Words
If you found yourself overwhelmed by all those tips above don’t worry, it is perfectly normal, and for start, I invite you to try and focus your attention towards following just one: Keep practicing mindfulness no matter what.
Being mindful is one of the most important skills that one could possibly cultivate throughout their lifetime. Don’t give up and you will thank yourself later for persevering.
Keep coming back to this post once in a while. Every time that you’ll revisit this post you are going to be a different person and you could find something else which might help you promote your practice at that time. Keep an open mind and experiment until you make your practice perfect for you.
If you want to add something that might help someone else improve their practice, I invite you to leave a comment bellow.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you out.