3 Tips to Begin a Meditation Practice

Meditation is a great way to let go off the stress and anxiety that weighs you down. When we meditate, we effectively pull ourselves up from patterns of negative thinking and feel ready to take on the day. It may seem difficult in early sobriety to sit with our own thoughts, but once we begin to incorporate a meditation practice into our daily lives, we are able to achieve a sense of ease and comfort that we rarely, if ever, experienced during our addiction. Here are three tips to begin a daily practice of meditation:

Start with Only a Few Minutes

Many people think of meditation as sitting alone in silence for hours on end, and you may get there someday, but try beginning with only a few minutes. In a 2013 Psychology Today article, Dr. Alice Boyes explains, “most beginner meditators started with 3-5 minutes. Even three minutes can feel like a darn long time when you first start meditating, so you could even start smaller. For example, paying attention to the sensations of taking 3 breaths.” Leo Babauta of Zen Habits suggests beginning with two minutes and increasing overtime: “Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month, which is amazing! But start small first.”

Feel Your Breath

We can clear our minds and stop distractions by bring all of our attention to our breathing. We don’t need to try to control our breathing—we simply bring our awareness to the sensations of the air entering and leaving our lungs. It may be helpful in the beginning to count our breaths. Perry Santanachots, in a 2014 Daily Burn article entitled How to Meditate: A Beginner’s Guide, suggests: “Count one breath in, one breath out, and continue through 10 breaths, then return to one again. This process helps connect your mind to your breath, especially when thoughts can sometimes break your concentration. Every time your thoughts wander, start back at one. Eventually, you’ll be able to just follow your breath without counting.”

Don’t Worry About Doing It Incorrectly

There really is no wrong way to meditate. We may feel that we are unable to clear our minds or we are too distracted by outside noises, but that is part of the process of beginning meditation. We may become bored or frustrated, but that is entirely normal. Instead of focusing on these negative feelings, we simply acknowledge them and let them go. Mindful, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the benefits of mindfulness, explains, “You may find your mind wandering constantlythat’s normal, too. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, practice observing them without reacting. Just sit and pay attention. As hard as it is to maintain, that’s all there is. Come back to your breath over and over again, without judgment or expectation.”

Your story can be one of peace and serenity in sobriety. Your life does not have to be controlled by the chaos of addiction and alcoholism—you can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers cutting-edge treatment techniques, including yoga and meditation, as part of the Residential Treatment program. For more information about Residential Treatment and other individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777