Meditation techniques offer a wonderful way to reduce stress, connect to your inner self, increase focus and treat ourselves with more kindness. It’s also free and requires nothing more than your commitment and a quiet place to relax.

Getting the benefits of meditation requires understanding some of the basic steps to get started. For beginners, it’s sometimes difficult to know the best way to start. The following looks at seven meditation techniques that allow you to make meditation a part of your everyday routine.

Achieving Mindfulness

Before getting to the meditation techniques, it’s important to know the goal. For most of those who meditate, it is mindfulness. That means you are focused only on breathing in and out and mindful of when your thoughts wander and what they wander to. You want to achieve discipline that allows you to focus on the present moment.

The idea is to stay in the current moment without judgment or wandering thoughts. You simply want to “be.” That’s an incredibly relaxing and peaceful place. Getting there takes practice.

These seven meditation techniques can help.

The Right Time to Meditate

The right time to meditate is whatever is the right time for you. Meditation does not have to last a long time to get its benefits. For most, the morning is the best time to meditate. But you can pick whatever time of the day is right for you.

Get Comfortable

Choose a chair or a cushion on the floor. If you sit in a chair, sit forward with your feet flat on the floor. You can use a cushion behind your lower back, if needed. Make sure it’s a serene, quiet place. Pick a place where there is little chance of interruptions. You want to create a space where you can completely relax.

Choose a Meditation Posture

As noted above, you want to sit forward on a chair. If you sit on the floor, simply cross your legs in front of you and keep your knees lower than your hips. What’s important is that you choose a position in which you are sitting up, with your back straight but not completely rigid.  

Where To Look?

This may seem trivial, but for every beginner it’s one of the most important considerations!  You can choose to close your eyes, although that could lead to sleep. If you close your eyes, it’s sometimes helpful to imagine a blank slate or an empty field. For others it’s better to focus their gaze on a blank wall, candle flame or the horizon line if you are outside.

Focus On Breathing

Once you are all set, begin to breath in and out, slowly. Focus completely on your breath. Feel your breath as it enters your body – where do you feel it the most? For some it’s the chest, for others the nose or even the belly. Continue to breathe slowly and evenly and think about nothing else but breathing. This is what brings you into the moment.

Mind Your Thoughts

Here’s where you will notice your mind wandering. For many people, just trying to relax and calm themselves makes their minds race right to the thing that is causing them the most anxiety. Some may think about the next task they need to accomplish. Others may simply think they don’t have time to sit there and do meditation! Whatever the case, you want to discipline yourself to drive away those thoughts and think only of your breathing.

Becoming Aware

As you get better with practice, you start to discover that you become aware more of your actual surroundings when you meditate. All those thoughts cluttering up your mind, causing your anxiety, can keep you from noticing the world around you. Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your world. That’s a peaceful, relaxing feeling. These are some of the meditation techniques you should keep in mind as you start trying meditation. Coupled with staying active and eating healthy, meditation can do wonders for how you feel. It’s a wonderful way to treat yourself with more loving care – the same loving care you give others.