Setting Intentions and How To Start A Meditation Practice

There are so many benefits of meditation. A regular practice can help relieve stress, brighten your mood, sharpen concentration, improve memory and benefit overall mental health. Studies have found that regular meditation can even rewire your brain for the better, by improving "emotional regulation," meaning it can help reduce emotional issues like anxiety and depression. And all it takes is a few minutes of your time every day. Here we break down exactly how you can start your own meditation practice and launch yourself on the road to a calmer, more centered self.

1. Start Off Slow 

If you find it difficult to meditate because you get fidgety or start overthinking, you’re not alone! At first, even five minutes can seem like a lot of time to sit still, but it will get easier over time. Begin with five minutes (or even less) and gradually increase the time, even if you're adding a minute or two every week. Before you know it, a 20-minute meditation session will be a breeze.

2. Get Comfortable 

You can meditate anywhere, but finding a comfortable spot will help ease you into the practice. Designate a specific place in your house where you can sit down on a super-plush pillow, cushion, couch or chair—anything you will look forward to.

If you're sitting in a chair, sit with your back upright, but not too rigid, and your feet flat on the floor. Add candles or incense to your space to give it a soothing ambiance. A timer can also help to know when to start and stop.

3. Set Intentions 

One of the most crucial aspects of beginning a productive meditation practice is setting intentions, which allows you to deepen your practice and get the most out of it. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and visualize an objective that you personally want to fulfill. It can run the gamut from a dream you've cherished and held close all your life, or even something simple like deciding to be present or to have a peaceful, productive day. 

Some experts recommend setting your intention at the end of your meditation practice when you’re already in a calm, safe place. It’s also important to enjoy meditating for its own sake as opposed to using it only to achieve goals, which can take you out of the moment. Once you truly start enjoying your meditation, those intentions you’ve set will manifest on their own. 

4. Focus On Your Breath

How often do we really stop to notice how we're breathing? Mastering this is basically what meditation is. Begin by closing your mouth and paying attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale through your nose. Concentrate on how this feels—how your lungs expand, how your body moves, how breathing sounds. Try to keep your mind clear and put most of your focus on your intention. 

5. Allow Your Mind To Wander 

Although it may seem like you absolutely have to keep your mind clear at all times, it's absolutely okay (and normal) to let it wander. Fighting it can impede your concentration and make you feel frustrated. It will defeat the purpose of the practice. Once your mind starts to wander, you can simply acknowledge this and focus on bringing it back to that calm state. Do this often enough and it will become an easy habit. If it's too difficult to concentrate, focus on counting your breath to keep your mind calm. 

6. Get Outside Help

Especially for beginners, find a tool that will help guide you through the meditation can help you develop a deeper practice.

LATHER's Mindful Meditation Kit can assist in setting you on the path toward a meaningful practice. The kit includes an Inner Peace Meditation Balm that contains essential oils of frankincense, sandalwood, vetiver, bergamot, orange and ylang-ylang that combine to calm and soothe. Rub a few drops on your temples, wrists and under your nose to reap the full benefits of these healing essential oils. The Frankincense and Sandalwood Candle also in the kit is great to light during your practice to create a relaxing atmosphere. The Stop, Breathe & Think App included in the kit can serve as a guide to begin meditation by offering more than 50 meditation and mindfulness activities that will help you form a meditation habit you can do on a daily basis. Finally, the Beaded Wrap Bracelet in the kit serves as a reminder to stop and bring your concentrate to your inner self.