Over the last decade, I’ve had many people ask, “How do I start a regular meditation practice?”

It can feel intimidating at first. Especially if we think it’s supposed to go a certain way, or we are meant to have a certain experience. The truth is, there is no set formula on how to meditate and the less rules you give yourself, the better! 

Here are some of my favorite tips to offer new meditators:

  1. I like the Insight Timer app (it’s FREE!) There are some guided meditations on there and there’s a social aspect to it that’s pretty neat. 
  2. Just start with the intention to stay focused on something for three minutes a day. The possibilities of what to focus on are endless! Your breath, an object, sensations in the body, a mantra, etc.
  3. The point is not to clear your mind of thoughts (even when we sleep we dream!). Meditation provides the opportunity to notice the flow of your thoughts and to notice silence and space between your thoughts.
  4. If you find your mind going down a habitual negative thought pattern, remember that you have the power to shift your attention to something more positive and helpful.
  5. Simply have the intention to discipline the mind to focus on what you choose to focus on. It’s one of the few things in life that we actually have control over, but it takes practice. This can be done at any point during the day in whatever position you happen to be in— walking, driving, lying down— it all qualifies!

Meditation can be a powerful and helpful tool in our lives if our perspective about its benefits are realistic and practical. Give it a try!