I’m sure it’s no surprise how much I adore a good self care session, right? But something I really can’t gush about enough it meditation! I mean, seriously, how awesome is it that you can sit still and breath deeply for a few minutes and reap so many rewards?
Meditation supports your well-being in so many fantastic ways, like reducing stress and anxiety, supporting your immune health, improving focus, fostering a healthy blood pressure and so much more! But it’s not always easy to know where to start! I know I felt really lost back when I started.
And since I want you to be able to tap into this easy form of self care with a ton of confidence I decided to invite Jennifer Mazzoni, the lovely, creative mind behind helpmamameditate.com, to come by and teach us how to meditate with ease.
Ready to dive in? Let’s take a peak at Jennifer’s advice on how to meditate and get our om on!
Take it away Jennifer! <3
How to Meditate with Jennifer Mazzoni
Meditation is the ultimate buzzword these days. From the NBA signing a deal with Headspace to employees of Google meditating before and after meetings, meditation is becoming a mainstream practice.
Maybe you’ve tried meditation before or you want to meditate but don’t know where to begin. Instead of wondering or feeling discouraged, read on and learn more today in this meditation starter guide for beginners.
The Breath Is Your Anchor
The breath is the key to a meditation practice. The wonderful and miraculous thing about your breath is you’re always doing it, and your body does it for you without any additional effort on your part.
Meditation practice allows us to truly focus on the breath (rather than being caught up in the ever-present thoughts in our mind) as we inhale and exhale. We take the time to feel our breath: the cool air at the tip of the nose, the rise and fall of the chest or belly, and the warm air escaping through the nose or mouth.
Let’s practice together right now.
Take a deep breath and notice any sensations or feelings that you experience.
Now count your breaths as you inhale up to five breaths.
Most likely after the second or third breath, your mind wandered or you became lost in thought. That is totally normal! It happens to all of us.
Instead of focusing on how you became lost in your thoughts, change your mindset. Focus on the fact that you woke up when you realized your mind had wandered.
We can always begin again in meditation.
The breath is not the only thing people focus on during meditation, others may prefer a visual such as a candle burning or repetitive words such as a mantra. I tend to focus on the breath, because it is something I can do anytime of the day, not just during meditation, but find what works best for you.
Eyes: Open or Closed?
You will most likely see people meditating with their eyes closed in films or on television shows. That’s a perfectly fine option during meditation. In fact, most beginners may prefer eyes closed meditation, since they are still learning how to focus on the breath. Keeping your eyes closed reduces visual distractions, and let’s face it, in our modern society we are inundated with visual stimuli from our TVs, phones, and tablet devices.
Opening your eyes during meditation offers a completely different experience and is a great way to challenge yourself by learning how to focus with visual distractions. It may reduce daydreams as well, because it is harder to get lost in a daydream when your eyes are open. When practicing this way, keep your gaze soft rather than staring at one item. Opening your eyes during meditation can also prevent napping. (Always a good thing!)
There are three popular meditation positions: sitting, lying down, and kneeling. Let’s look at all of the options!
Sitting can be accomplished cross-legged on the floor. There are meditation cushions available to achieve a comfortable seated position. You can also meditate while seated in a chair, which is what I do often due to pain issues. Pain is not a requirement for meditation.
When seated, practice good posture: the crown of the head is lifted, shoulders are back, hands rest on your knees, jaw is relaxed. Sit in a dignified manner. Your position is the first step in setting your intention to meditate.
Meditating While Lying Down
Lying down to meditate is a great option for people with back pain and other health concerns. Many people in my meditation group prefer lying down because of pain. I recommend practicing eyes open meditation if you’re lying down.
Kneeling is a popular method in Japan, referred to as seiza. You can use a meditation bench or cushion for support and proper spine alignment.
When to Meditate
You may be thinking “that’s all well and good, but when can I find time to meditate? I’m so busy!” I always challenge people to think about how much time they spend on social media or online in general. If you can take five of those minutes away from your social media time, you have five minutes to meditate! It’s a great sensory break from scrolling, and meditation has many benefits.
Related: Why You Need To Make Time To Do Nothing
Benefits of Meditation
Some of the benefits of meditation may include:
- Improvement in attention and emotion regulation
- Reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue
- Improvements in working memory,
- Better concentration thanks to reduced distraction,
- Implicit age and race bias reduction
And that’s just to name a few!
It’s OK to Start Small
When you’re learning how to meditate it helps to start small. If five minutes of meditation feels too daunting, start with one minute- only 60 seconds from your day.
Attach meditation to a daily habit, such as brushing your teeth, your morning cup of coffee or tea, or part of your night routine before going to bed. Some people simply take five minutes from their lunch break at work to meditate. It’s a great way to reset your busy mind.
When you feel ready for longer meditation sessions, start increasing your time every week. As you become accustomed to your new daily practice, you’ll wonder how you were getting by without it.
Related: 5 Ways Mindfulness Meditation Supports Your Health And How to Get Started
Your Own Meditation Space
Another action that can encourage a daily meditation practice is setting up a meditation space at home.
1. Find a quiet, private space in your home that you find peaceful or relaxing.
2. Gather your items:
- Use the five senses as your guide:
- Sight- favorite book, photo of loved ones
- Sound- music or relaxing sounds from an app
- Smell- fresh flowers, reed diffuser, candles
- Touch- blanket, beads
- Taste- tea, coffee or water to drink after you meditate
3. Display your items: use a table or tray.
4. Arrange your items in a way that inspires you. Feel free to rearrange them as the seasons change.
How to Meditate as a Form of Self Care
Taking five minutes (or more) out of the day to meditate is a beautiful way to practice self-care. You are giving yourself an opportunity to quiet your mind, not be drawn in by your thoughts, and to focus on the amazing fact that you are alive and breathing!
Related: 6 Health Benefits of Yoga That Will Make You Want To Start Practicing Today
Let’s End Together with a Guided Meditation:
Check your posture, that the crown of the head is lifted and relax your jaw.
Take in three deep breaths. Feel your breath as you inhale and exhale.
Set a timer for five minutes. (I love using the Insight Timer app).
Breathe naturally. Count your breaths on the inhale to ten. When your mind wanders, begin again at one. When you reach ten, begin again at one.
Close your eyes (or keep them open). Your practice, your choice.
Don’t judge yourself when your mind wanders. Each time you “wake up” and realize you were lost in thought is the golden moment.
Thank you for meditating with me today.
To learn more about how to meditate and work on mindfulness and to access the Secret Library of guides & resources from my website Help Mama Meditate: click here.
If you’re interested in the Facebook group for women (featuring weekly Facebook Live guided meditations), click here to join the club.
(This is Sara taking back the wheel!) Thank you so much for teaching us how to meditate Jennifer! Wasn’t this awesome guys?! I wish I had awesome advice like this when I started!
Did you have fun learning how to meditate with Jennifer? Have you meditated before? What advice would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!
Health and love,
Thought of the day: One step at a time and you’ll go far.
About the Guest Blogger: Jennifer Mazzoni, Founder of HelpMamaMeditate.com
Jennifer created her blog Help Mama Meditate after being inspired by the birth of her second daughter. Jennifer provides meditation and mindfulness advice to mothers and beginners through her blog and her Facebook group. She leads weekly guided meditations via Facebook Live.
Feedspot.com recently named Help Mama Meditate a top 40 meditation blog. Jennifer was interviewed on the Moms Who Know podcast regarding motherhood and meditation.
A writer at heart, Jennifer also contributes to The Tattooed Buddha and Sivana.
A rehab speech pathologist by background, Jennifer began meditating during the stressful times of graduate school ten years ago. Jennifer lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.
GiGi Eats Celebrities
I find my work out every morning to be meditation! Works for me. I am in the zone and focus on myself.
Movement and meditation working together is a beautiful thing!
Moving meditation is absolutely awesome! I totally agree Gigi! I love to combine meditation with my daily walks or yoga practice too. It’s truly so comforting and wonderful. I hope you enjoy your next session! I’m so happy you’ve found an awesome way to meditate that works for you <3
I think we could all benefit from getting our om on more frequently. I loved your guest post today, such great tips for getting started with meditation!
Thank you very much! Even five minutes of meditation a day can be life changing.
Totally agree Nicole! A little meditation can go an incredibly long way. And I’m so happy Jennifer stopped by to help us all ease into it with a ton of confidence. Have you meditated before? I hope that this helps, whether you’re a beginner or super experienced. Enjoy your next (or first) session <3
This was super helpful! As someone who has never meditated, I now want to try it out!
I hope you give meditation a try! Feel free to check out my site for more tips or my Facebook group for weekly live guided meditations.
I’m so glad that Jennifer’s awesome advice helped you! I was so delighted to be able to feature her fantastic tips. It’s so much easier to ease into meditation when you have a good teacher on hand! I hope that you have an absolute blast discovering meditation – it’s seriously life changing :). Let us know what you think after you’ve given it a go!
Great guest blog! I love all the tips for meditation. I tend to focus on prayer when I meditate but it’s very similar. The one that always stumps me is the breathing- I get all focused on my breathing and it makes me obsessed about whether I’m doing it right or not. Is that just me? haha. (but I have breathing related panic attacks so it might be that). Thanks for this- I loved reading and I really liked the idea of meditating with your eyes open- such a different experience <3 Jamie
Thank you! Yes, it can definitely feel like hyperventilating sometimes when focusing on the breath. I like to take a few deep breaths to start and then focus on a natural breath by counting it on the inhale or exhale. I try to find the balance between not overthinking the breath but also not getting lost in thought. Eyes open is definitely a different experience! Wishing you all the best!!
Hey darling! I’m so happy you liked it! And I can understand about the breathing. I’ve been in a similar position before when my Graves was raging! I don’t know if this is helpful for you but I found that it helped to instead focus on a mantra at the time. I would use mantras like “I am healing”, “I am well”, “I am so grateful for today” or anything that felt right at the time. You can even Google around if you need mantra inspiration. Simply using “I am” works and is powerful on it’s own sometimes. I found that when I focused on a mantra the breathing happened naturally and I was, for a moment, not hyper-focused on my body. Plus, when the mantra feels right it can also leave you feeling so uplifted and much better than when you began. I hope that helps you too!
I’ve actually never meditated with my eyes open but lovely Jennifer has be super intrigued! Might have to give that a go sometime soon ;).
Hope you have a gorgeous day hun! I’d love to hear if mantras help! And I totally agree – prayer is very similar. Even the science behind it shows the same benefits. If that works for you and feels good then you’re winning! <3
I’ve honestly never meditated. I guess I just take a quiet time out with nothing or something to read. Love these tips 🙂
Glad you love the tips! Hope you enjoy meditation if you give it a try.
That’s awesome Tiffany! Allowing yourself some time to do nothing is amazing for your health. It allows us to reconnect with ourselves, breeds creativity and even helps to improve our attention span and focus! Total win. Whether you take time to relax, meditate or read you’re doing something awesome for yourself <3.
I think it's wonderful that you have such a fantastic go-to form of self care :). I'd love to hear what you think if you ever add a little meditation to your down time! But no matter what you're doing awesome ^^.
That was a wonderful read.. I feel more relaxed already, and I love all of the tips to get started with meditation. And from experience, it’s also great to start small like the tip about setting a timer or trying it out for 5 minutes.. that way you can start seeing the benefits right away without worrying too much about the process. Awesome post!
Thank you so much! Yes, I agree that starting small is so important, because I don’t want anyone to feel overwhelmed by a new habit or routine that is supposed to bring balance and harmony. Glad you enjoyed the post!
I love the way you put that Heather! It is so nice to start small and work your way up. Totally removes the worry. I think that’s so true for so many things! I’m really happy you enjoyed the guest post <3. Hopefully I can share your goodness here someday too hun <3. Sending tons of love your way!
I feel more relaxed just reading this! I’ve tried meditation a few times and I just never knew if I was actually doing it correctly. Thanks for the informative article!
Glad to hear you feel more relaxed! Hope you try meditation again. Feel free to check out my site for tips and I do weekly guided meditations via my Facebook group. Wishing you the best!
That makes me so happy Sarah! I hope that Jennifer’s tips help you meditate with ease and a ton of confidence. You’ll be a pro in no time <3. Let us know how it goes!
Thanks so much for sharing these meditation tips! As an anxious person, I find it super hard to relax, but I’ve always wanted to incorporate meditation into my life. I’ll definitely try these things out!
I am so happy to share my tips with you. I really hope you give meditation a try. Even five minutes a day to start can really make a difference!
I’m so happy that Jennifer’s tips helped Erika! I can completely understand. I started meditating while dealing with my first Graves Disease flare (which created a ton of anxiety). I had to start small but I found it really helpful. I started off small and focused on mantras that I found uplifting and calming. It was truly such an incredible gift and continues to be a go-to self care activity to this day! I hope that you find that it benefits you too! Sending tons of love your way and wishing you well as you begin your meditation journey <3.
I needed these tips. I live at home with my family and every day there’s someone in my space. I need to create a space for myself to meditate and reflect. Thanks for sharing!
Yes! Even a small space that is just for you would be perfect for meditation, yoga, or to relax. Hope my tips help you to set up your own private sanctuary.
I’m so happy Jennifer’s tips found you when you needed them Monika! I hope that you have fun creating a small space just for you. It’s like Jennifer said in her reply – even a little space and be a wonderful, private sanctuary. And that can make a world of difference! Wishing you well as you begin you meditation journey! Let us know what you think <3
This is something I’ve struggled with adding to my routine, but I think it’s really benificiial. I need to start working on it asap!
It helps to start small – even 1 minute a day for four days and then continue to add time every few days. Before you know it you’ll have a new meditation habit! And if you miss a day, it’s not the end of the world, but you’ll definitely see the benefits when you meditate more often. Wishing you all the best.
I have no doubts that if you start small (even 1 minute a day like Jennifer said) you can absolutely build an amazing meditation practice. One step at a time and we go far! I hope you have a wonderful time building a meditation practice that works well for you :). Wishing you well <3.
How funny! I literally just downloaded the Insight Timer app to encourage myself to mediate as a way to cope with stress. I’m currently just two days into meditating…hoping to build upon that, but taking your advice & starting small!
That’s so wonderful Madi Rae! I love when things fall into place like that. Obviously the universe is excited to support your meditation journey ;). I hope you adore each moment. The benefits of meditation are amazing and truly such a wonderful gift to give yourself. One step at a time and you will go far! <3
Yes! Start small. The Insight Timer is a great way to start a meditation practice. They offer thousands of guided meditations. Wishing you all the best on your journey.
Ina Coveney (@inacoveney)
I have seen so many successful entrepreneurs say they practice meditation especially around money mindset. Have you ever tried that? I’m thinking there may be something to it. Thanks for the step by step!
That’s such an interesting point to bring up Ina! A lot of successful people meditate for sure! I’ve mostly used meditation to focus on healing and well-being in order to help myself thrive with Graves Disease. But there have been times where it has definitely helped with my ability to stay motivated and focus on my website! I hope that you find that it helps you a ton too!
I have not tried meditating around money mindset, but I’ve heard about it. You can definitely use the skills that you gain from meditation and apply it to many aspects of your life.
nice post! – We should all get our omm on 🙂