5 Steps to Start Meditating

by | Jun 17, 2021 | Aggie Life, Culture, Spring/Summer 2021

Alleviate anxious thoughts or pandemic-related stressors through meditation. “The good news is that we don’t have to go anywhere for long periods of time to practice mindfulness and compassion,” said psychologist Neesha Patel, who works in the UC Davis Staff and Faculty Health and Well-Being program and offers classes on mindfulness and meditation. “Engaging in these practices in short moments, many times, right here in the middle of our lives, is enough to reap benefits.”

Developing a mindfulness routine takes time; as you practice it, Patel suggested that one should respond to any occasional shortcomings with kindness and care. For beginning meditators, Patel added that a trained mindfulness meditation teacher can help with direction. Guided meditation is also available on mobile apps and YouTube. Below are five steps to help any beginner get started.

1. Find your meditation space. Your meditation spot should ideally be free of distractions and clutter, where you can feel safe and at peace as you begin to relax.

2. Sit comfortably. Focus on your breathing for a set amount of time: Two to 10 minutes should suffice.

3. Notice your breathing. When does your mind wander? Bring your attention back to your breath.

4. Observe your thoughts. Notice them as they are, but try not to interact with them. Imagine your thoughts as cars on a highway, and you are simply watching them drive by.

5. Take note of how you feel. You can reflect on any thoughts or feelings that you experienced while meditating.