Getting Started

If you’re thinking about taking up meditating
, or have been meditating for a while, it’s helpful if you know what your specific meditative goals are…what you hope to get out of it. Then strategically select meditation techniques to help you reach your specific goals.

No matter how happy or unhappy we are, we can always be happier than we are right now. The pursuit of happiness is so much more than an unalienable right. It’s the motivation that gives us hope for a better future….it’s what we base our lives around. So there is something about meditating we think could help us be happier. Asking ourselves what that is can help us see what our meditative goals are more specifically. 

It’s also helpful if we know a little more about meditation and how it works. Meditation is just a word we use to describe purposefully distracting ourselves from our usual auto-pilot mental habits, and works by replacing our current mental habits with new ones through repetition which is how we formed our current mental habits in the first place.

If you aren’t yet sure of your goals yet and just want to get your feet wet, one of the easiest ways to get started is used in the Stress & Anxiety Relief Program and Nature-Based Meditation. Just kick back in a comfy chair or just lay down and notice your natural breathing in and out while you relax all the muscles in your body. Being aware of your natural breathing, further relax every muscle in your body with every exhale for 12-15 minutes.

If you have difficulties when paying attention to breathing such as a lack of breath or feel a heaviness on your chest, common with people who have asthma, instead of paying attention to breathing, silently count down 3,2,1 then start over at 3 again. Each time you each time you count down relax all the muscles in your body.

Generally speaking, we have up to 12-15 minutes before our minds begin placing extra importance on trying to evaluate our surroundings, making it more difficult when we try to push it for longer periods. And because within 30 minutes, blood begins to pool in our feet, legs, and seat, decreasing the amount of blood flowing through the brain. This can cause light-headedness or even cause us to have deceptive mental experiences. This period can be even shorter for people with a variety of cardiovascular health issues, or when sitting in positions that can further restrict blood flow. So sticking to the 15 minute rule gives us an optimal time-frame for deeply relaxing safely and more effectively. If you want to go for longer just divide it up into shorter intervals and stretch and move around a little in between.

This simple relaxation activity can do more than just helping us deeply relax. Through repetition, it creates a natural mental association between being aware of our breathing (or counting down) and becoming deeply-relaxed. Then we can start using this mental association to combat stress and anxiety in our daily lives by purposely paying attention to our breathing (or counting down) when we feel stressed or anxious…a natural relaxation-response kicks in because of the mental association we’ve created. By repeatedly paying attention to our breathing (or counting down) when feeling stressed or anxious, we create a new initial mental response habit for stress and anxiety.

Creating a new habit for handling stress and anxiety lets you personally experience, and understand, how meditation works.

How long does it take to create a new mental habit? According to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes 66 days on average. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.


– Meditation Postures – Meditation shouldn’t be a no-pain-no-gain activity.
Out-of-sight out-of-mind tendencies can keep the best of us from reaching our meditation goals.
– Other Applied Awareness Articles