When most people hear the word meditation, they think of a monk sitting cross-legged, repeatedly saying „OOOOMMMMMMMMMM…“ while being in some kind of trance.
But that’s certainly not what meditation is.

Truth is, meditating is easy. In a nutshell, it’s just being present to the moment.
But why should you meditate? The benefits for both your body and your mind are nearly endless.
I can confidently say that my life changed completely after I started meditating regularly.
But now let’s get straight into it! Let me tell you something about…

The Benefits of Meditation

Like I said, the benefits are almost endless. And there are other blog posts with looong lists (like this one  or this one), but for now, I will tell you the five things that I recognize the most:

1. It enhances your strength, energy, and vigor. Before I started meditating, I always felt sleepy, especially in the afternoon. I wasn’t motivated to do stuff after a long work- or school day. That changed. I am full of energy most of the time now.
2. You need less sleep. Before I meditated, I had to sleep at least 9 hours a day to feel even slightly rested. Now I can sleep 7 hours and feel awake and ready to crush it!
3. It boosts your immune system. I do some other stuff to boost my immune system (like the Wim Hof Method), but I am sure meditating regularly also helps me to stay healthy and fit without getting sick.
4. It reduces anxiety and nervousness. That’s probably the one thing I notice the most. I would always shit my pants when i had to take a test. But now, I’m completely calm all the time. It feels so great to be completely at peace when everybody else around you freaks out.
5. You feel more happy overall. It’s hard to describe but being present to the moment gives you some kind of deep happiness that can’t be changed by outer circumstances.

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. – Omar Khayyam

How to mediate – different variations

While ‚thinking of nothing and being present to the moment‘ seems simple, it’s definitely not easy in the beginning. So I will give you some alternatives to just sitting still for 20 minutes a day.
1. You can meditate anywhere, anytime. I wanted to start with this point because meditation isn’t something you necessarily need to make time for every day. It’s something you can do while waiting at the coffee shop, while driving home, while being in a meeting and so on.. To illustrate this point even further, watch this video of a Buddhist monk explaining what meditation actually is and what it has to do with the „monkey mind“. 

2. You can use apps like Calm or Headspace. Apps help you to meditate regularly if you tend to stop after a few weeks because of a busy schedule or something. You can do different 7-day challenges and build up a „streak“ if you do it every day. I use Calm nearly every day, and I couldn’t live without it anymore. There’s a new guided 10-minute meditation uploaded every day. Guided Meditations are a lot easier for beginners because it’s not so easy to get distracted in your thoughts. But: I am not perfect. I don’t meditate every day, and you shouldn’t feel bad also if you skip a day from time to time. Just start again on the next day. To this date, my longest streak on Calm is just 11 days. But my goal is to meditate for 30 days straight this year.
3. Do a body scan meditation. It’s simple but effective. You sit, stand or lie down (your choice) and begin to focus on your head. And then focus on your throat, then your shoulders and so on. Focus on your whole body starting with the top of your head, slowly moving downwards until you reach your feet. Elliott Hulse has a great tip that enhances the experience. Try to visualize a laser scanning your whole body. Let the laser move up and down slowly. Do that three times in a row. It’s an easy and fast meditation you can do anywhere. If you do it at night when you lie in your bed, it helps with sleeping, too!
4. The old school method: Focus on your breath. The classic way of meditating is concentrating on your breath for a set amount of time, usually five, ten, or 20 minutes. But if you want to meditate longer than five minutes as a beginner, I would recommend a guided meditation (like with the apps) because it’s hard to just sit there for 20 minutes thinking nothing. Your mind will always wander. So, focusing on your breath as a part of a guided meditation is perfect, but without any guidance, start slow. You can even just focus on one single breath. That’s also meditating. You can work your way up from there!

When to meditate

The simple answer is: When you like to. There shouldn’t be any limitations.
But: Most people do it in the morning or at night.
In the morning, your head isn’t already filled with all the obligations and to do’s for the day. It’s still relatively calm.
Tip: If you are one of the people who check their mail or WhatsApp first thing in the morning, stop that!
Do that one hour later. Be for yourself the first hour of the day.
If you have trouble sleeping, you can meditate at night, too. (for example the body-scan)
So, no more sleepless nights with your mind wandering from one thought to another.

Some final thoughts

Meditating is something that will upgrade your mental health for good. If you do it regularly.
So the key is to meditate every day. (or at least five days a week)
So better make it a habit!
Also, I know a dude *cough* who would always get angry at himself because he wasn’t even able to focus on his breath for 1-minute straight. That’s not the point of it. It’s completely normal that you can’t concentrate for a long time. It’s completely normal that your mind wanders from time to time. Even after years of continuous practice, this will happen. So don’t judge yourself and have fun meditating 🙂 You won’t regret it!

Keep shining,

Felix Wunnike
Felix WunnikeFounder of Project Wolfpack