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The Hidden Power of Meditation

Self reflection on the water's edge.

If you’ve always considered meditation a bit out of your realm, you might want to think again. That brief pause from the stress of the day can leave you refreshed, revived, and clear-headed. Here’s how to get started.

1. Allow yourself to take meditation seriously.

Meditation may seem simple, but the benefits are real. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation may improve concentration, relaxation, inner peace, stress reduction, and fatigue and can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. How? Once you’ve learned to concentrate your focus while meditating, you’ll be able to use those same skills to push aside discouraging or negative thoughts until you can deal with them in a positive manner.

2. Realize what meditation is.

At its most basic, meditation is nothing more than training your mind to focus on a single, non-stressful element. Unlike sleeping, which is a natural resting process, meditation is an acquired skill that you may need to practice before you get good at it. In some ways, it’s like counting sheep as a method to induce sleep. Focus on one thing long enough, and, with time and practice, everything else will fall away and allow you to drift off. The goal is to teach the mind not to pursue every thought the moment it pops up.

3. Decide what type of meditation practice you’d like to try.

Just like exercise, meditation comes in all shapes and sizes. Guided Meditation utilizes another person to lead practitioners through a series of steps that will help them cultivate clarity. This can be done in person or through a number of apps and websites. Unguided Meditation means flying solo and usually involves a mantra to help the practitioner focus on the present moment. Some meditators practice Walking Meditation, which uses the cadence of the body and the sights and sounds of the world to center thoughts. Whatever you choose, be sure to dress comfortably and get into a position where you’re not likely to fall asleep.

4. Determine what you’d like to achieve through meditation.

By teaching you how to compartmentalize thoughts, meditation may help you manage everything from anger and stress to quitting smoking, overeating, and maintaining focus on what truly matters to you.

5. Commit to try.

If you think meditation might be for you, give it a try! Although it does get easier with practice, there’s no right or wrong way to meditate.