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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

I’m sure you’ve heard or read about the benefits of having a meditation routine, but you might still feel a bit hesitant to start because you find the whole concept of meditating too daunting, or you think that you need a lot of time to practice meditation.

Or maybe, you tried it a few times but it felt frustrating because you felt your mind overflown with thoughts and you might have felt overwhelmed, and probably told yourself that you’re not good at it.

In this article, I’ll share basic concepts about the real purpose of meditation, the benefits of incorporating this sacred practice into your life and simple tips to follow, so you can clear away the obstacles to your daily practice and learn some basic practicing exercises that will make a positive difference in your life.

Your body and mind on morning meditation

Meditation is a great tool to maintain a healthy balance of dialogue between your mind and your body. It is a simple technique that you can practice anytime and anywhere to alleviate stress. Just like physical exercise, the more you practice, the more benefits you’ll notice and the longer they will last – in both, mind and body.

A study by The American Psychological Association reported that 40 percent of the people they surveyed reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods as a result of stress, while 46 percent said they lie awake at night due to high stress levels.

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Here’s the thing: you can focus on eating healthier, exercising more frequently, getting more sleep, using more natural products on our skin and at home, but if you don’t take care of your mind, you will still feel unbalanced in your life.

Meditation makes you have a cleaner body and clearer mind:[1]

    A Harvard study showed that meditating can help decrease stress and anxiety levels which in turn will diminish inflammation in our bodies, reduce blood pressure, improve attention, sleep better, help us make smarter choices and regulate our thoughts, so we don’t jump so fast into reacting and judging.

    Meditation helps to reduce stress, but a great benefit is that you will find peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. One of the biggest goals of meditation is that you tune in with yourself and connect with your center, to get in touch with the energy of “oneness”.

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    Meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought there and there’s little space between every thought that is called stillness – this space is the gateway to the infinite mind and that sense of divine connection.

    Clearing the obstacles to morning meditation

    The most common obstacles to meditation are the ones that we create ourselves, even if sometimes we are not aware.

    Here are a few of the most common ways we tend to resist starting a new meditation practice and what to do about it:

    “I don’t have time.”

    There’s a misconception that you need to sit down to meditate for at least 30 minutes to an hour. You can start your daily practice investing anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. You can set the rules for yourself! You just need to commit to starting.

    Start small, and as you practice more consistently I can tell you that you’ll start adding more time to your practice.

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    “I can’t sit still.”

    Do meditation your own way. Some people don’t like sitting but they enjoy walking meditations.

    Dr. Kelly McGonigal suggests a 10 minute walking meditation involving 1 minute of paying attention to each of the feelings of your body while walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.

    “My mind never stops.”

    It is normal to feel frustration while learning to meditate. Shifting your expectations will help in overcoming this obstacle.

    Always focus on subtle incremental improvements. A great achievement is to gradually understand your mind and learn how to shift negative thinking.

    Basic morning meditation techniques

    Every good meditation practice begins with finding what works best for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate since there are different techniques or styles of meditation.

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    Here are a few of them:

    • Breathing meditation – You can use this technique alone as a meditation to calm your mind and reduce distractions. Simply focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. This video can help you with this.
    • Candle staring – This is great if you find it hard focusing. Just light a candle and stare at it. Your attention will be held. If your mind has thoughts, just thank them and go back to staring at the candle.
    • Mantra meditation – Repeating words can help you find calm and focus. Here are 8 powerful mantras for deep inner peace.
    • Guided meditation – There are many resources online that have guided meditations and music to help you relax. Just google “guided meditation” and you’ll find tons of resources.
    • Walking meditation – We cover that one above — a 10 minute walking meditation involving 1 minute of paying attention to each of the feelings of your body while walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.
    • Mindfulness meditation – Mindfulness is about recognizing what is happening in the present moment, including what is arising and passing. This includes thoughts, sounds, feelings in the body and anything else present. The idea is to just observe without judgment, and remain open and aware. Here is a step-by-step guide to practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life.

    Experiment different techniques and stick to what works best for you.

    The guided morning meditation

    If you have never meditated before or if you haven’t meditated in a long time, I recommend that you start with 5-10 minutes. With practice, you’ll be able to sit for longer periods of time.

    You can set an intention before you begin, but start your practice without attachment to any particular outcome or how your meditation practice “should” be. Just be open to experience what you’re meant to receive from every practice.

    The best time to meditate is early in the morning (before your coffee or tea), that way you set yourself up for a peaceful start to your day. Follow these simple steps to start you meditation practice:

    1. Find a place that will be your sacred space for meditation. Try to pick a room that is free from a lot noise or distractions, and make it cozy. You can add relaxing background music, light a candle and/or incense, or diffuse a relaxing essential oil.
    2. Choose a time. Make meditation a priority, set an appointment with yourself and practice at the same time every day and see this as feeding your soul. Some people like to meditate right before they go to bed, this will help you sleep more soundly.
    3. Wear comfortable clothes. For example your PJ’s.
    4. Sit comfortably. You can sit on a cushion on the floor, on your couch or a chair. Try to have backrest so you can keep your back erect. You don’t need to try fancy yogi postures at the beginning. Don’t lay down because most likely, you’ll fall asleep. Just sit still and straight.
    5. Set a timer.
    6. Always start your meditation practice with 5 to 7 long and slow deep breaths so you can start releasing tension.
    7. Then just start focusing your mind on an object. It could be the flame of a candle, your breathing or repeating a mantra like “I am”.
    8. Just know that you’ll have thoughts, you might feel sensations in your body and you might hear sounds in your environment. It’s all normal. Whenever you become conscious of that, just go back to the object you were focusing on, or go back to paying attention to your breathing again, or repeating your mantra, but do it mentally without moving your lips and your tongue.

    Even if you feel like you didn’t accomplish much with your practice on a specific day, be consistent. Honor and acknowledge yourself for taking the time to practice. Even if you feel that the effects are not obvious, be grateful for your practice and in no time you’ll be glad you started!

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

    [1] The Art of Living: The benefits of meditation
    you never knew

    More by this author

    Patricia Young

    Certified Professional & Holistic Coach, bestselling author, host of the Awakening to Life podcast

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    Last Updated on November 9, 2020

    The 5 Most Important Things in Life You’ll Regret Not Pursuing

    The 5 Most Important Things in Life You’ll Regret Not Pursuing

    It’s common to think about what the most important things in life are. We all seek to align ourselves with things that truly matter and that will ultimately add to our happiness and fulfillment.

    How we set ourselves up to create a life well-lived versus a life half-lived is often more about the regrets we have over the things we failed to do rather than the things we actually did.

    We regret more not becoming our ideal selves, or the person we truly wanted to be. We regret living an unfulfilled life. We regret living in fear and not having the courage to focus on the things and people that truly matter most.

    What is important in life, really? With that question in mind, we’ll take a look at the things most people regret not pursuing and how to live a life grounded in what really matters

    What We Regret Most

    “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” -Jeff Bezos

    Research has found that people are haunted more by regrets about failing to fulfill their hopes, goals, and aspirations than by regrets about failing to fulfill their duties, obligations, and responsibilities.[1]

    Published in Emotion, the researchers surveyed hundreds of participants, making a distinction between the “ideal self” (not achieving goals they had set for themselves, their dreams, and ambitions) and “the ought self” (not meeting the norms and rules they had for themselves or fulfilling their obligations to others). They asked participants to list, name, and categorize their regrets.[2]

    Across the different studies, the participants said they experienced regrets concerning their ideal self more often (72% vs. 28%). Furthermore, when asked to name their single biggest regret in life, participants were more likely to mention a regret about not fulfilling their ideal self (76% vs. 24%).

    “When we evaluate our lives, we think about whether we’re heading toward our ideal selves, becoming the person we’d like to be. Those are the regrets that are going to stick with you, because they are what you look at through the windshield of life. The ‘ought’ regrets are potholes on the road. Those were problems, but now they’re behind you.” – Tom Gilovich

    Let’s ponder a couple of questions:

    What is it that you currently regret most about your life?

    What do you most not want to regret about your life when your time is up?

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    People regret their inactions more than their actions in the long term. Not falling in love, not hanging out with good friends, and not working toward a healthy body are just a couple of common themes.

    Maybe you never started writing that book despite your love for writing. Perhaps you haven’t set up your own dream business because you were afraid of what people would think if you actually tried.

    The thing is, taking action is that first step to ensure you avoid regrets. Confidence comes with taking action. Making a commitment to follow through and then having the courage to do it builds the momentum.

    If we don’t fearlessly pursue these things, we start blaming ourselves for not taking action and the regret compounds.

    The Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

    If you are clear on our purpose and priorities in life, you can create the personal power necessary to push through, and take action on the things that matter most.

    When you make a decision to focus on the most important things in life, you’ll move from “woulda, coulda, shoulda” to “I lived a life worth living” and “I made a difference.”

    To get through the hardest journey, we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping. – Chinese Proverb

    Bonnie Ware’s 2012 book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying tells us much about living a life to minimize regrets.[3] Ware spent many years in palliative care, looking after patients who had gone home to die. When she questioned these patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, a number of common themes came up.

    The five most common themes were, in descending order:

    • I wish I’d had the courage to life a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
    • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
    • I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
    • I wish I’d stayed in touch with friends.
    • I wish that I’d let myself be happier.

    The most common regret, by far, was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me.” According to Ware:

    “Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices that they made, or not made.”

    These themes are similar to the ones that came through when Guardian journalist Emma Freud asked the question on Twitter “What is your biggest regret?”[4]

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    Being held back by fear, self-blame and bad choices around love, learning, and loss were the most frequent responses.

    The most frequent regrets focused around:

    • Not doing the right thing/being there when someone died
    • Not speaking up
    • Not pursuing higher levels of education
    • Fear of following their dreams
    • Unrequited or non-pursuit of love
    • Self-blame around anxiety
    • Taking too long to make a change

    The 5 Most Important Things in Life

    Through all of my research, speaking to clients, friends, family and my own self-analysis of regrets in my life, there are 5 core things in your life that you’ll probably regret not pursuing if you don’t do something about them today.

    A lot of the other regrets you may have are a by-product of not getting the core things right.

    1. Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

    We often let doubt and fear hold us back from living a life of purpose and passion. This stops us from constantly growing and becoming a better version of ourselves. We forget to cultivate good health and relationships with family members or practice self-care for better mental health.

    We have a number of things we want to do in our lives, yet many of these things never see the light of day. We worry that we don’t have the right information to make the right decision. We’re scared of the changes that could happen in our lives and so take the safe route instead.

    This leads to regret, self-blame, and self-doubt. However, it is within us to create that amazing life we want. It means not worrying about what others think or how we will be judged.

    Be fully present, surround yourself with the right people that cheer you on, have more fun, and take more risks. No matter how many times you fall you get back up and keep moving forward.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

    2. Chasing Your Dreams

    If you don’t have clarity on your bigger purpose, dreams, and goals, it’s very easy to get sucked into an unfulfilling routine made up of long hours at work, bland relationships, and unhealthy habits.

    There is no growth, change, or transformation in this case. Rather than pursuing your dreams and growing every day, you become stuck.

    When you have a clear direction for your life and your priorities are top of mind, you are clearer on the steps you can take to move forward.

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    You are living a life of purposeful, passionate action. You fully trust yourself, so you are willing to take more risks in pursuit of your dreams[5]. Start setting your goals today.

    Set goals to achieve the most important things in life.

      3. Not Living Someone Else’s Life

      Comparing yourself to others and living someone else’s life can only lead to bitterness, self-doubt, inaction, and heartache.

      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” –Oscar Wilde

      We should make changes in our life because we want to, rather than because of the actions or reactions of someone else. Stay away from negative environments and negative people that can poison your progress, erode your confidence, and cause self-doubt to creep in. Surround yourself, instead, with lots of people that inspire you.

      Many of us get sucked into living the life that we think a good son or daughter should live, or what our parents expect of us.

      We often make key life and business decisions because we think it’s what will make our parents happy. We believe our happiness is derived through their happiness.

      It’s only later, when we become dissatisfied with our lives, that we start to question whose life we’re really living and if we’re truly focusing on the important things in life.

      4. Starting Tomorrow

      We always think we have more time than we do. In reality, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so the best thing you can do is start making a change today.

      Spending just five minutes now doing something significant, in this present moment, could help you move one step closer to your dreams.

      It could be a decision you make, a conversation you have, something you read, etc. The point is to focus on the present moment.

      For example, if you want to travel more, you can make a plan to save money each month for a big vacation. In the next couple of weeks, look up possible destinations and make an itinerary once you choose one. With each small step, you’ll get closer to achieving your goal, so start today, even if it’s just by creating a plan or timeline.

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      You can learn more about creating an action plan here.

      5. Spending Time With Family and Friends

      One of the biggest investments you can make in your life is to free up more of your time to spend with the people that matter most.

      This is often easier said than done. How do you balance your work commitments with being home for dinner with your family or spending more time with your children?

      Long hours at work can cause worry and stress. You’re worried about “not putting the hours in at work” and creating issues with your boss and co-workers, but at the same time your family is also relying on you to be there.

      It’s important to take control of your schedule to ensure you are there for both the everyday and the moments that matter in the hearts and minds of the people closest to you.

      One study of 309,000 people found that “lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50%.[6] This is likely because social connection helps us reduce stress hormones and increase feel-good hormones that keep us happy and healthy.

      The most important things in life are often the most important people in your life, so make it a priority to spend time with them.

      Final Thoughts

      Too often, we don’t focus on and spend enough time figuring out how we can live the happy life that we want. This leads to recriminations, self-doubt, blame, and regrets.

      Create clarity around what and who is most important to you and your purpose, and then take the courageous steps to focus only on those things that truly matter.

      That way, you’re far more likely to create a life well-lived, rather than one full of regrets.

      More on Living a Fulfilling Life

      Featured photo credit: Katie Treadway via unsplash.com

      Reference

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