Meditation, simplified: what the heck is it, and how do I do it?

Do you want to learn how to meditate but it just seems like the most intimidating thing, and no matter how you do it, you’re going to be doing it “wrong”? Let’s be real – there is a lot of information out there about meditation. Some of it makes it seem very complicated and specific, which turns people away from trying it. To best understand this concept, I am going to explain it in a very simple way.*

*(I am briefly describing it but I am NOT over-simplifying it – I really just feel it’s best to leave out the spiritual aspect of meditation that some might appreciate because not everyone understands meditation with the spirituality incorporated into it. You do not need to be spiritual to meditate. But if you are, you will see the same benefits as someone who is not. Everyone can do it. This is simply my educated and personal understanding of it.)

There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. All meditation is, is just being present and focusing on how you feel – how your body feels, physically, in that moment – and just bringing yourself back to that present moment. Doing this not only helps us become aware of how we are currently feeling (which we oftentimes may be consciously or unconsciously avoiding), but it also helps us to identify and sit with our thoughts and feelings and learn how to regulate them. Doing this in a safe, non-stimulating space allows us to remind ourselves that our thoughts and feelings, although valid, are not the ones in control. We are.

If it is difficult for you to relax, meditation helps a great deal with that. It is a very effective form of stress management. Personally, it has helped me with processing very stressful events, including the end of a relationship. Meditation helps those who experience panic attacks, insomnia, or other anxiety-related issues. Practicing meditation is a game-changer.

Give this a try. Believe it or not, meditation really is this simple:

  • Find a private, quiet room
  • Sit in a chair, on the floor, or even lie down (whatever is most comfortable for you)
  • If it helps you to focus, put on some relaxing/soothing sounds or music. I recommend using healing frequencies – these can be found on YouTube or Spotify. I fall asleep to these!
  • Try to focus on the physical sensations that you feel (your arms/back against the chair, the feeling of your feet on the floor, the weight of your legs, the breath going in & out of your lungs, your clothes against your skin). This may seem silly, but you would be surprised at how much it helps bring your attention to the present moment. A lot of stress, tension, and anxiety often comes from past or future-oriented thoughts!
  • Any time a thought comes into your head, don’t fight it or analyze it – just sit with it and be okay with it. All emotions are meant to be felt, even the more intense ones.
  • Remember you are in control!

You can do this for as long as you want/need! I suggest starting small, with 3-5 minutes, and then work your way up to 10-15 minutes.

It’s also important to note that there are different forms of meditation! Some people may be more comfortable and be able to be more present while they are doing some active, such as dancing, exercising, or even yoga. Basically, whatever helps you to focus on the here-and-now can be considered a form of meditation. Get your meditating on!

Dr. Lindsay Howard, Parkland, FL

Dr. Lindsay Howard, Psychologist, Psy.D.

Hi! My name is Lindsay Howard, and I am a Parkland, FL clinical psychologist serving the community and all Florida residents. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of meditation, or therapy, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Learn more about how I can help you thrive by clicking below, or feel free to schedule a free 15 minute consultation today.

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