Meditation Tips for Beginners from Banyan Therapist Priya Narine, MSW, RCSWI
Mediation has always been a fascinating topic that leads to many roads, which commonly result in one common goal: to initiate emotional healing and well-being. For my clients who have never meditated before but have a desire to, I support them in understanding what the purpose of meditating is, which is to connect and be present. Meditation is a beautiful tool that helps people recognize and identify their emotions and physical sensations, resulting in a natural connection to the world around them. As a family of addiction treatment centers that offers meditation therapy to support patients in recovery, Banyan Therapist Priya Narine, MSW, RCSWI, shares some guidance on spiritual meditation for beginners.
Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
Our addiction treatment facilities have seen the impact of addiction and mental illness on spiritual health and vice versa. Especially in our Faith in Recovery program, it is clear that addressing spirituality along with physical and mental health is crucial for long-term recovery. Meditation therapy is one of the many amenities offered at Banyan rehab locations to support clients in regaining spiritual footing along with self-confidence and motivation to sustain sobriety.
Guided meditation benefits include:
- Anxiety management: Regularly practicing guided meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and help you develop coping mechanisms to deal with anxious thoughts, feelings, and triggers.
- Improved sleep: Spiritual meditation can promote relaxation and reduce insomnia or sleep disturbances, resulting in improved sleep and restfulness.
- Boosted mood: Guided meditation can lead to an improved mood and a more positive outlook on one’s circumstances, which can greatly benefit individuals going through addiction or mental health recovery.
- Emotional regulation: Guided meditation encourages awareness and acceptance of one’s emotions without judgment. It can help you better understand your emotional responses and triggers and develop healthier ways to control them.
- Heightened self-awareness: Through guided meditation, you are also encouraged to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors more deeply, leading to greater self-awareness and personal growth.
- Increased self-compassion: Guided meditation contributes to self-compassion, encouraging participants to treat themselves with kindness and understanding. Our facilities emphasize this point so patients can understand that they deserve effective treatment and long-term recovery.
- Increased focus and concentration: Guided meditation techniques like mindfulness can enhance focus and attention, making it easier to stay present and engaged in daily activities at home, work, and school.
- Increased resilience: Spiritual meditation can help individuals build resilience to cope with life's challenges and stressors, which can be especially useful as someone goes through drug or alcohol addiction treatment.
- Lower blood pressure: Guided meditation has been linked to lower blood pressure levels, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
- Pain management: Guided meditation is also beneficial in reducing the perception of pain and improving one’s ability to cope with chronic pain. This can help patients undergoing medical detox better cope with their symptoms and stay on track.
- Reduced depression symptoms: Regular practice of spiritual meditation may help reduce symptoms of depression by promoting positive thinking patterns, emotional regulation, and improved mood.
- Stress reduction: Guided meditation helps activate the body's relaxation response, reducing stress hormones like cortisol and promoting a sense of relaxation and calm.
While spiritual meditation can be effective in improving mental and physical well-being, it is not a replacement for professional mental health treatment, especially for those with severe disorders. However, spiritual meditation can complement traditional therapies and promote mental wellness when used in a mental health care plan. It is accessible, easy to start, and can help people of all ages and backgrounds.
How to Meditate Spiritually: For Beginners
For my clients who are new to meditating, I ease their anxiety by expressing to them that meditation is similar to art. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The guide to mediation lies within you. Follow your heart, and everything else will fall into place. Take the pragmatic and regimented approach to meditation and throw it away because a spiritual guide has no border and cannot be contained by limitations.
Here are some simple tips on guided meditation for beginners that have been carried on for centuries and are used in multiple regions, cultures, religions, and even modern-day spirituality, which we understand as psychology.
Create an intention on why you are choosing to incorporate meditation into your lifestyle.
Perhaps you are choosing to meditate because you notice that you have been feeling anxious, stressed, or worried lately and would like to feel happier and have a sense of peace. This is important to build a foundation for meditation.
Focus on your breathing.
This is the most crucial step in spiritual meditation for beginners. In ancient metaphysical philosophy, it is said that your breath is the key to connecting to your soul, and once your soul leaves your body, so does your breath. Try noticing what your breath feels like. Perhaps, when you inhale, the air that you are inhaling is cool. When you exhale, the air is hot. Make a conscious effort to be mindful of these sensations, as it will allow you to connect to your body and, eventually, your soul.
Try a simple body scan.
A body scan is where you acknowledge every part of your body, from your hair to your toes. There is no judgment and no need to change anything. The purpose of this is to create awareness of your external body to create awareness of your internal body, and the sensations that are present. For example, I was saying aloud or silently to myself, “Notice your hair, eyes, nose, lips,” and other body parts. Get to know your body!
Consistency is key.
Establish a regular meditation practice. Create a schedule to help you stay on track. Even if it is just a few minutes each day, consistency is key to experiencing the benefits of spiritual meditation.
Overall, meditation is one of the oldest healing practices that have been proven repeatedly to alleviate emotional and physical suffering to live in a state of peace or happiness. These are some humble ways to begin meditation, and all that is required is a willingness to open your heart, some peace, and time to create an intention for meditation to connect with yourself and become present.
In closing, meditation is something that I hold dear to my heart because I know the impact it has had on my life. For the longest time, I was a sad little girl who was searching for connection and love in all the wrong places. As I got older, I realized that I had the power to heal myself through being present and aware. And as I turned my knowledge into wisdom, I realized there was a word for this, which is meditation.
Meditation is only one of many amenities offered at our Banyan drug rehab centers. We also offer various addiction and mental health care programs, treating patients with disorders ranging from cocaine addiction to depression. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a substance problem or mental illness, do not wait to reach out.