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World Meditation Day was last Tuesday, May 21st; a great reason for those who have yet to experience the mental clarity of meditation to start. The benefits of meditation are vast, and have even been confirmed by scientific research over the past few years, which has found that this relaxation method can actually ease some cases of chronic pain.

People with little to no meditative experience may consider these benefits too small to actually take that first step and try it out. Others might find it intimidating and something that is best left for the professionals. However, meditation can be done effectively by anyone willing to try. Here are a few tips for those new to the practice.

Start Slowly

Don’t overwhelm yourself with extended periods of trying to meditate before you understand how to properly do so. Meditation is not simply closing your eyes and trying to sit still for an hour or more. To start, try sitting still and focusing on your breathing for about two to five minutes. Overcoming any feelings of boredom is a very common challenge for beginners, so forcing yourself to sit still for longer this will likely result in a distaste for meditation altogether.

Schedule Your Time Accordingly

Today’s world hardly allows for much free time during the work week, so it might be difficult to allot for meditation time Monday through Friday. However, you can easily fit a session in on the weekends, if you can’t find time before or after work. The important thing is to not rush or let your mind flood with thoughts of anything other than the present. With that said, meditation in the morning could be the most effective for a clearer mind, and evening sessions could be great for a better night’s sleep.

Get Comfortable

Crossing your legs is not always the most comfortable position for everyone, and is not one that should be considered essential for proper meditation. Get comfortable by your own standards, whether that means remaining in a seated position on the couch, or even lying on your back. Meditation works best when the position you are in is not at the forefront of your mind.

Come to a Close

Once you’ve reached a level of serenity you are happy with, rather than opening your eyes rapidly and standing up, slowly come out of your meditative state at a gradual pace. Keep your eyes closed and focus on your final breath for about a minute or so afterwards. Then, slowly open your eyes and allow your muscles to feel an “awakening” of sorts.

What’s most important is to start. So jump in and see what happens.