Top five meditation tips for beginners

People are encouraged to check in with their minds for day three of Yahoo Lifestyle's mental health challenge and meditate first thing in the morning.

It can be hard to block out thoughts and everyday stresses, but the Vice President of International Marketing at Headspace, Louise Troen, says meditation is just an exercise for the brain.

"Through meditation we can build up areas of our brain and actually rewire to enhance positive traits like focus or decision making, and diminish the negative ones like stress or fear," she told Yahoo Australia as part of its What's Up? mental health challenge.

"Like exercise is a daily consideration, we'd suggest you meditate daily to really feel the benefits or, if that's not possible right now, at least engaging in a few mindful activities throughout the day like a breathing exercise, closing the eyes and listening to what's around you and getting outside in nature and going for a walk."

A woman meditating on top of a rock overlooking the ocean.
People are urged to meditate in the morning every day. Source: Getty Images

Ms Troen says just a few minutes could change your whole day.

"The great thing about meditation is that you can practise it anywhere," she says.

"The most important thing is that you're in a place where you won't be disturbed and where you can find stillness."

Ms Troen says the Headspace app makes meditation simple. and is on a mission to improve the health and happiness of the world.

Headspace's top five meditation tips

1. Start early

Headspace suggests meditating first thing in the morning.

"Setting yourself up for the day with meditation is a proven way to increase productivity and it also ensures you're starting your day right," Ms Troen says.

2. Same time, same place

Making meditation part of the daily routine is key to developing a lasting habit, according to Ms Troen.

3. Find the best position for you

"It's not all about the stereotypical images of people sitting cross-legged," Ms Troen said.

"You can sit on a sofa or couch, arms and legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor, a cushion or rolled up towel under your backside so that the back is naturally upright."

Yahoo Australia's 30-day mental health challenge. Source: Yahoo News Australia
Yahoo Australia's 30-day mental health challenge. Source: Yahoo News Australia

4. Breathe naturally

Ms Troen urges people to try not to alter their breath in any way.

"Simply allow things to unfold naturally, noticing the rising and falling sensation it creates in the body," she said.

5. Get comfortable with discomfort

Allowing negative emotions may seem like it contradicts the mental health challenge, but Ms Troen says we can allow them to come and go.

"Over time, the mind learns to recognise these emotions," she said.

"A skill that can be enormously beneficial not only during meditation, but also in daily life."

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