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Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

I had just finished a hard day at work, and our team decided to go to a local bar for a quick drink before heading home.

At the bar, I’m chatting with one of the new members of the team and we somehow get to talking about meditation.

“Oh! Have you tried Vippassanna or QiGong?” She says. “I did a 10-day retreat and it was life-changing!” I stand there, eyes glazed over because all I’ve learned so far is to sit on a cushion and observe my breath.

If like me you’d like to learn a little more about the different types of meditation practice, this guide to mindfulness meditation for beginners is a great place to start.

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

The first thing to know is that ‘Mindfulness‘ and ‘Meditation’ are not one and the same. You can practice mindfulness without meditating. Confused? Let me explain.

What Is Mindfulness?

woman practicing mindfulness meditation for beginners

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and present in the moment, without judgment.

It involves paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, as well as your surroundings, without getting caught up in them.

Mindfulness encourages you to observe your experiences objectively and cultivate a sense of curiosity and openness toward your inner and outer world.

You don’t have to be sitting cross-legged lotus position with your eyes closed to practice mindfulness, you can be making a coffee mindfully, walking mindfully, and eating mindfully.

What’s important is that you keep your attention on the present moment, and bringing it back to the present when your mind wanders (and it will).

What Is Meditation?

woman practicing mindfulness meditation by a lake

This is a tough one to explain, as everyone seems to define it differently, but here’s my definition:

Meditation is a time-bound practice for improving awareness of your thoughts and sensations while practicing the exercise of returning your awareness to the focus of your meditation.

So a couple of key points:


Meditation is a set time when you stop everything to focus on the practice.

Awareness of thoughts and sensations

Meditation isn’t about having a mind empty of thoughts. It’s about noticing your thoughts and sensations, like something you said that made you feel uncomfortable, or how your back feels against the chair.

Returning your awareness to the focus of your meditation

This is the key part, your mind will wander. Guaranteed. And during your meditation practice when your mind trails off, you should gently bring it back to the focus of the meditation, which is usually called an anchor.

The anchor could be your breath, a word you are repeating, a sound, or the sensation of your feet as you walk. There are lots more anchors, but what’s common with all of them is that it brings you back to the present moment.

So What Is Mindfulness Meditation Then?

So now we understand what mindfulness practice is and what meditation is, mindfulness meditation is a set time to practice mindfulness training.

Mindfulness meditation Infographic

The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Regular mindfulness meditation practice offers numerous mental and physical health benefits, including:

Stress Reduction

Mindfulness meditation has been proven to reduce stress by helping you develop coping mechanisms and a more balanced perspective on life’s challenges.

Improved Focus and Concentration

By training your mind to stay present, you’ll enhance your ability to concentrate on tasks and avoid distractions.

Emotional Well-being

Mindfulness meditation can help you manage negative emotions and cultivate a more positive mindset.

Better Sleep

By calming your mind and reducing stress, mindfulness meditation can help you fall asleep more easily and enjoy better quality sleep.

These are just some of the benefits, you can read more about the benefits here.

How to Start Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners

Now you should have a better understanding of mindfulness and meditation. Starting a mindfulness meditation practice is easier than you might think. Just remember that some days you’ll have a good meditation… and some days bad. Follow these simple steps to start a simple practice:

1. Choose a quiet space

Find a comfortable, quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed during your meditation sessions. You don’t have to sit in any special way, you could sit on a chair or a cushion.

What’s important is that you can sit still for ten minutes and breath easily.

2. Set a timer

Start with just 5-10 minutes per day, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice.

You’ll probably feel a bit uncomfortable when you first start meditating, but this will get

3. Sit upright

Choose a comfortable seated position, such as sitting cross-legged on a cushion or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.

Sit tall, with your back straight but not tense.

4. Focus on your breath

The breath is the most common of all meditation anchors, and that’s because it is always there when you need it.

Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air entering and leaving your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest.

5. Observe your thoughts

When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your focus back to your breath.

Try not to judge or analyze your thoughts; simply observe them and let them pass, like clouds in the sky.

6. Be kind to yourself

Remember, meditation is a practice. Don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders frequently. Also, try not to judge your thoughts no matter how controversial they are. They are just thoughts and not who you are.

With patience and consistency, you’ll improve your ability to stay in the present.

5 Basic Mindfulness Meditation Practices

As a beginner, you might be wondering where to start with mindfulness. Here are five mindfulness meditation practices to help you build a solid foundation:

  • Mindful Body Scan Meditation: This practice involves systematically bringing awareness to different parts of your body, from your toes to your head. A body scan can help you develop greater body awareness and tune into your physical sensations.

  • Breathing Meditation: Focusing on your breath is a cornerstone of mindfulness meditation. By observing the natural rhythm of your breathing, you’ll train your mind to stay present and cultivate a sense of inner calm.

  • Walking Meditation: This practice involves walking slowly and deliberately, paying attention to the sensations in your feet as they make contact with the ground. Walking meditation is an excellent way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

  • Loving Kindness Meditation: Also known as “metta” meditation, this practice involves silently repeating phrases such as “May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be safe” while cultivating a sense of compassion and loving-kindness towards yourself and others.

  • Guided Meditations: For beginners, guided meditations can provide helpful structure and guidance. There are numerous apps and websites offering guided meditation sessions tailored to different goals, such as stress reduction, improved sleep, or increased focus.

Common Mindfulness Meditation Challenges and Tips

Starting a new meditation practice can be challenging. Here are some common obstacles beginners face and tips to overcome them:

  • Wandering Mind: It’s normal for your mind to wander during meditation. When you notice your mind has drifted, gently bring your focus back to your breath or chosen point of attention.

  • Impatience: Progress in meditation can be slow, so it’s essential to be patient with yourself. Remember that the benefits of mindfulness meditation come from consistent practice over time.

  • Restlessness: If you’re feeling restless or agitated during meditation, try a walking meditation or a shorter session to help you ease into the practice.

  • Falling Asleep: If you find yourself dozing off during meditation, try sitting in a more upright position or meditating at a different time of day when you’re less likely to be tired.

Incorporating Mindfulness Meditation Exercises into Your Daily Life

To fully reap the benefits of mindfulness meditation, it’s essential to integrate mindfulness into your everyday life. Here are some tips to help you live more mindfully:

  1. Practice mindful eating: Instead of eating on autopilot, slow down and savor each bite, paying attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food.

  2. Take mindful breaks: Throughout the day, take short breaks to focus on your breath or do a mini body scan to help you stay present and centered.

  3. Cultivate gratitude: At the end of each day, reflect on three things you’re grateful for. This practice can help you develop a more positive outlook and a greater appreciation for life’s small pleasures.

  4. Engage in mindful communication: When speaking with others, practice active listening and give them your full attention. This will deepen your relationships and help you connect more authentically.

The Takeaway

Mindfulness meditation for beginners is a powerful and accessible practice that can help you reduce stress, improve your mental and physical health, and lead a more balanced, mindful life. While you can practice mindfulness in other daily activities, a set time is a great way to build a meditation habit.

If you’d like to learn more about how to create a mindfulness meditation habit, read this post next.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of any mental health condition, we strongly advise consulting with a qualified healthcare professional.

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