Chances are, you know why meditation is good. The list of benefits is long and constantly growing: It reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens your immune system, and can make you more compassionate. It may even keep your brain young (and sharp) and help you lose weight.
The real issues are: When to do it? And how?
We’re all beyond busy, so you first have to make the conscious decision to commit to a practice. The beauty of meditation is that it can be as long or as short as you want it to be, and you can do it anywhere. “That one minute you spend on Facebook, you can meditate instead,” says Dina Kaplan, founder and CEO of The Path, a meditation community based in New York City. “You can find one minute, even if it’s in the bathroom.”
There are many ways to meditate, and there’s really no wrong way. As you practice, expect thoughts to enter your head. “Just come back to your breath or mantra,” says Myk Likhov, founder of Modern Om, a lifestyle brand based on the chakras. “You can’t force yourself to meditate, and you can’t force yourself to meditate well. But over time, you get better at it.”
How you meditate depends on what you want to get out of your practice. There are four main types of meditation: mindfulness, mantra, energizing and goal-oriented. In addition to reducing stress, each has particular benefits. “Think of these as tools,” Kaplan suggests. Use what’s right for you in your current situation, and feel free to mix and match.