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Meditation for Newbies: 10 Tips For Mastering Your Mind

Many self-development authorities, like Zen Habits and Actualized.org, have pointed to meditation as the #1 impactful exercise in their years of study. Period.

Meditation helps you be more productive, less anxious, more focused, less worried about minutiae, see the bigger picture, feel more happy, and form great habits. You don’t need to become a master to start seeing its effects.

One of the most important effects is that it helps you detach from your emotions. Before you meditate, you are more likely swayed by your impulses. People don’t think before they act. Decisions are made automatically. With meditation, you’re more aware of your emotions and able to make the right choice. And great decisions are what separate the average from the successful.

Therefore… I suggest you try this habit out. Note: It’s not a magic pill. Just like with fashion or wealth advice, people expect an instant result then give up when they don’t get one. In reality, it can take over a year to see results. Meditation is a skill that requires practice to improve.

These ten tips will help you get started… don’t get overwhelmed. Try out one or two and add more when you are comfortable.

  1. Use baby steps. You will get overwhelmed and quit if you commit to too much. Start with a goal that is so low that you cannot avoid it. How about 30 seconds a day? It’s easy. Slowly, increase this goal when you’re ready. But always err on the side of too little. I’ve used this to make exercise and meditation a habit after years of burning out at the gym.
  2. Use Insight Timer. This is a free app on your phone. There’s thousands of free guided meditations that teach you how to meditate. There are apps like Headspace that charge you for a couple sessions, which I find preposterous when there’s great stuff free.
  3. Do it on the move. While not ideal, it’s a great alternative. While I’m waiting in line or in the bathroom, I can meditate with my eyes open. While you’re cooking. While you’re jogging. I thought you could only do it in complete quiet but I learned from monks that real meditation happens everywhere.
  4. Put it on your calendar. I put it there everyday. It really makes it official that you have committed. Otherwise, it’s just an idea in your mind. On your calendar, set reminders, for your ideal time each day.
  5. Make it fun. As you meditate, do it like it’s fun rather than like it’s a chore. You’re getting ahead of others. Smile and enjoy it!
  6. Notice everything. Another part of mediation, once you get better at focusing on your breath, is to notice every part of your experience. Start with how your toes touch the floor - how does it feel? Move your shoulders, feel the clothing on your skin, and hear the birds chirp. Focus on your head, your chest, your hips, your thighs, your feet, and then the floor.
  7. Do it with a friend. It’s always more fun and easier with a friend to hold you accountable. While I do it alone, I try to use videos and audio to help. If you can, get a sibling or spouse. Or get a friend to check if you did it every week. If you don’t, you can have a consequence like giving him $50. It will help you form and stick to the habit.
  8. Have a positive attitude. When you have thoughts come up while meditating, which they will, welcome them. See them as a natural part of a beginner’s practice. They are part of the process. Don’t force them out harshly.
  9. Laugh at mistakes. If you’re doing part of it wrong, laugh it off. Stop worrying. We all mess up. There’s no “perfect.” Enjoy the process.
  10. Don’t clear your mind. Most people think meditation is about forcing out any thought you have like an intruder or being like a rock (with no thoughts). It isn’t. That’s not the purpose. As humans naturally generate floods of thoughts, and we can’t cut them out. Rather, just attempt to give that thought all your attention when it comes up.

Turning meditation into a daily habit isn’t easy. But it can create tremendous results, and you can begin free, and get others to begin easily.

See what Billionaire Ray Dalio has to say about meditation in the video below:


Now, I’d love to hear from you.

What are you struggling with? Let me know in the comments below for free help.

Will Chou

Will Chou is a self-development blogger at willyoulaugh.com. He makes his content unique by bringing in lots of scientific evidence and only sourcing from the most credible people. You won't find generic viral content with him. Join his email newsletter at willyoulaugh.com for a free gift: His 10 Best Tips on Success.


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