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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation

What is Meditation?

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Meditation is one of the most powerful mindfulness-based practices available. Over time, it actually changes how our brains process and respond. It can be done by anyone, anywhere, any time, and there are dozens of approaches that can help you navigate life with greater ease, satisfaction, and joy.

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The mind is definitely something that can be transformed, and meditation is a means to transform it.

—Dalai Lama

What is Meditation?

Meditation is the practice of turning our attention inward, to gain insight into the processes of our minds, which are always at work and influence how we experience life.

Meditation is not about stopping all thoughts or even about changing them. It is learning to observe your thinking mind in order to gain greater perspective about what makes you, well, you.

The practice has been used for thousands of years, and is perhaps most well known for its use in Buddhism as a tool for seeking enlightenment. In fact, most religious and spiritual traditions use meditation in some form, through prayer or contemplation for the quality of inner peace it creates.

Despite these uses of meditation, the practice itself is not inherently spiritual. Anyone can benefit from meditation, at any time. And it is just as powerful a tool for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing resilience, managing pain, improving focus, and for supporting emotional well-being as it is for cultivating serenity.

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How to Meditate: What You Need to Know

There are few requirements for learning how to meditate. You just need a quiet place to sit, stand, or lie down; an “anchor” to focus your attention, such as your breath, a sound, or a mental image; patience with yourself; and the willingness to stick with it.

  1. To begin, find a comfortable seated position, turn your attention inward to your anchor, resting your awareness there.
  2. When your mind wanders, which it will, gently guide it back to your anchor. You’ll do this again and again and again.

That’s the technique! The “practice” part of meditation is in noticing that your attention has gone away and guiding it back. Reducing the time between noticing and retrieving your attention is how you improve.

Just like with any exercise, the more you practice, the easier it gets—and the sooner you’ll begin to enjoy the benefits of meditation in every area of your life.

Our guided meditations are here to help, by easing you in, introducing you to different techniques, and supporting you while you develop a meditation practice that’s right for you.

Cory Muscara

Beginner's Mind

Meditation · 5-30 mins

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Discover the practical benefits of mindfulness and meditation by learning from some of the world’s most respected teachers, authors, and researchers.

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What are the Benefits of Meditating?

Meditation has been found to provide numerous health benefits and also to improve our overall outlook. It also provides a path into a kinder, more generous relationship with yourself and others.

Here are some of the science-backed ways that meditation helps:

  • Improves sleep
  • Enhances focus
  • Promotes empathy
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases listening skills
  • Reduces stress + anxiety
  • Cultivates self-compassion
  • Helps you feel more connected to others
Melli O'Brien

The Basics of Mindfulness

Meditation · 5-20 mins4.4

Learn More About Meditation

Read about the fundamental principles of mindfulness, how to practice in your everyday life, and the latest in mind-body research.

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The Mindfulness.com app offers access to guided meditations, talks, courses, calming soundscapes, and micro-practices for in-the-moment support — plus encouraging daily dispatches from Melli and Cory. It’s the perfect companion for the journey.

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