• shower meditation
    Meditation,  Mindfulness

    Shower Meditation: 6 Ways to Meditate in the Shower

    Can you really meditate in the shower? It may seem weird at first, but shower meditations have become one of my favorite practices for cultivating mindfulness, connecting with my inner self, and instilling peace and tranquility within. Discover 6 powerful practices you can start using today for an effective shower meditation!

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    Pin this! How to Do a Shower Meditation (6 Powerful Practices)

    Debunking Meditation Myths

    What do you think of when you hear the word meditation?

    Here are some of the thoughts I once had, before I started meditating:

    • Meditation is for monks and really special people who have the elusive power of being able to completely clear their head of thoughts.
    • Meditation requires perfect silence and stillness.
    • Meditation is hard.
    • Meditating requires you to not have any thoughts at all.
    • Meditation takes hours every day.

    I’m sure there were other limiting beliefs swirling around in my head, preventing me from even entertaining the notion of trying to meditate. The biggest limiting belief? “I can’t do it. It’s too hard. Meditation just isn’t for me.”

    Depending on where you are in your meditation journey, you may also have experienced similar thoughts and beliefs, or you might still hold some of these beliefs with you now. And that’s okay. One of the greatest benefits of meditation is the ability to cultivate mindfulness: non-judgmental awareness in the present moment.

    That means noticing any negative thoughts or limiting beliefs you have without placing labels on them as good or bad.

    You might already sense where this is headed here. Eventually, external influences came into my life that re-framed my perspective on meditation. So finally, I decided to give it a shot. And with time and consistency, I learned that all the beliefs I had about meditation were wrong.

    Meditation isn’t for only really special people. It doesn’t require perfect silence or stillness. You don’t have to clear your head of all thoughts. And it doesn’t take hours.

    And to turn that on its head:

    Meditation is for everyone. You can meditate when it’s noisy. You can meditate while you’re moving. You can have thoughts the entire time you’re meditating. And you can meditate in five minutes. Or three minutes. Or one minute. In fact, time doesn’t matter at all.

    Can You Really Meditate in the Shower?

    When I first started shower meditations, I didn’t actually call them meditations at all. I wasn’t purposely trying to label what I was doing. I just wanted to relieve my mind from persistent worrying thoughts.

    The shower is an interesting place. In Untamed, Glennon Doyle writes about how her kids describe the shower as this magical portal to brilliant ideas that just come to them effortlessly. I remember reading this part and thinking, “Yep! I know exactly what they’re talking about!”

    I’ve had some of my most brilliant and creative ideas in the shower. (Well, in my head, they’re brilliant . . .) Sometimes, I’ve had several different ideas come to me at once, tumbling through my head like dominoes.

    I’ve also spent entire shower sessions lost in worries and anxiety, so engrossed in my own thoughts that by the end of the shower, I don’t even remember washing my hair. (A smell test confirms I did.)

    As I began to cultivate more mindfulness in my life, I started to pay closer attention to the paths my mind would wander in the shower. I have a lot of negative thoughts in here, I realized.

    But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

    What if I could change my story and use the shower as a place to wash away those negative thoughts and realign with my highest, truest self?

    So I decided to take back my story and change the way I approached showering. I started to be intentional with my thoughts. And because I tend to shower in the morning, this proved to be an effective way to start my day on a positive note.

    Below, I list several different methods you can use for a powerful and effective shower meditation. I’ve used all of these practices, and I can attest that they don’t just change the way I approach showering; they positively affect my thoughts, emotions, and overall mood for the entire day.

    And to answer the question I posed in the heading: yes, you can absolutely meditate in the shower. One of the myths people often hold about meditation is that it requires sitting still cross-legged on the floor. And while I do meditate like this every morning, I’ve also done walking meditations, laying down meditations, and even quick breathing meditations when I get anxiety at the grocery store.

    You can meditate anywhere it feels right to you. And the shower is a perfect place to start.

    Shower Meditation #1: Wash Away Negativity

    Where do your thoughts go when you’re in the shower? Do you worry about the day ahead? Do you replay events of the past 24 hours? Do you create imaginary worst-case-scenarios in your mind of things that probably will never happen?

    Notice where you feel tension in your body. Notice what you’re currently worried or stressed about. Simply notice anything going on internally that doesn’t serve your highest good.

    Now close your eyes. Take a deep, soulful inhale and a rejuvenating exhale. Concentrate on how the water feels on your skin. As the water falls around you, imagine it washing away any negative thoughts and emotions you’re holding onto. The water takes your tension and carries it to the drain. Anything that doesn’t serve your highest good is washed away from your body.

    Feel your body becoming lighter. Your mind is clear. Your heart is open. Anything that doesn’t serve or support your total well-being has been washed away, swirling down the drain, where it will be cleansed by the earth.

    When you’re done, smile and express gratitude. Feel the strength of your body, mind, and spirit.

    You are worthy, powerful, whole, and more than enough. Carry those feelings with you throughout your day.

    Shower Meditation #2: The Flow of Abundance

    This is similar to the practice above, but instead of imagining the water washing something away from you, you visualize the water carrying something to you.

    Close your eyes and take a deep breath. What are you seeking in your life today? Whatever you’re seeking, you are going to attract an abundance of it to you.

    If you’re seeking creative ideas, imagine an abundance of inspired ideas and creative thinking washing down on you.

    If you’re seeking financial prosperity, visualize gold coins and beautiful jewels raining down all around you.

    If you seek peace, envision the water carrying infinite peace throughout your entire being.

    Whatever it is that you seek, know that it is always available to you. And because all that you seek is already within you, you’re literally creating everything you desire within and attracting it to your being.

    I like to think of the water as a metaphor for your limitless capacity to create and have anything you want. The water is constantly flowing, and because you know more is coming, you don’t have to cling to every droplet that falls down on you. You can appreciate when it comes, let it go, and find gratitude knowing that more is on its way.

    The same is true for abundance. You have access to an infinite flow of abundance. It is your birthright, and it will never be taken away from you. So instead of clinging onto the inspired ideas, financial prosperity, peace, and anything else you desire, you can simply let it go, knowing more is on its way.

    Shower Meditation #3: Positive Affirmations

    A positive affirmation is a present-tense statement that is designed to uplift and encourage while boosting self-belief and supporting your overall wellbeing.

    One of my favorite ways to lift my vibrations, take back my story, and release anything that doesn’t support my highest good is through positive affirmations.

    I use positive affirmations when I’m driving, working out, at the grocery store, and throughout the day to affirm my worthiness and remind myself of my inherent limitlessness.

    So I guess it’s no surprise that I started using positive affirmations in the shower, too.

    To start, come up with a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you. If you need help getting started, here’s a list of positive affirmations for success, one for self-confidence, spiritual affirmations, and affirmations to end your day. If you’re well-versed with using affirmations and would rather come up with some on the spot, that’s okay, too!

    If you want, you could try printing your affirmations and laminating them so you can hang them up in front of you to see. I haven’t tried this, but I imagine with a little ingenuity, you could get it to work.

    As you shower, take conscious inhales and exhales. I like to spend a minute or two envisioning the water washing away and carrying any negativity from my body. Now, you can start saying your positive affirmations, either internally or aloud. Continue to repeat as you go about your normal showering tasks.

    If you want to take it a step further, I like to close my eyes for a minute while I’m doing this. I’ve noticed that when I close my eyes in the shower, I don’t see pure darkness; instead, I see a faint golden hue shining behind my eyelids. you may notice this, too. Breathe into this light as you say your affirmations: I am worthy. I am enough. I am strong. I am powerful. I am loved. Envision the golden light surrounding you, cloaking your entire being. Feel the positive words in every cell of your body.

    As you step out of the shower, you’ll find yourself feeling lighter, more peaceful, and simply radiant. This is one of my favorite ways to begin the day.

    Shower Meditation #4: Golden Light

    That golden light I mentioned above?

    This light is always there. It’s always within.

    And there are so many powerful ways to connect with this light to support your highest good.

    One meaningful practice is to simply envision this light surrounding you as you close your eyes. See the light growing from within, radiating through every cell of your being. Spend several moments consciously connecting with your inner light. How does it make you feel? Peaceful? Empowered? Loved? Feel these positive emotions within.

    You can also envision the water droplets themselves as beams of light raining down on you like loving nudges from the Universe. These nudges are a reminder that you’re not alone. You are always supported, protected, loved, cherished, treasured, and adored. Concentrate on the feel of the water hitting your skin. When you imagine these droplets of the Universe’s loving light, how does that make you feel?

    Sometimes, I like to stand in the light and simply be. When I’m tired and weary, I feel the light surrounding me. In this moment, I know I don’t have to do or be anything. The Universe is taking care of me.

    Shower Meditation #5: Chakra Healing

    If you’re familiar with chakras, including the color and locations of each of the seven main chakras, you might enjoy doing a chakra meditation from time-to-time.

    While you can definitely do this out of the a shower, I find something soothing about the warmth and peacefulness of the shower that makes this an especially perfect time to align the chakras.

    Admittedly, I’ve always multi-tasked in the shower, so while my conditioner is setting in my hair, I’ll use this time to wash the rest of my body or shave my legs. But I’ve found that not forcing myself to multitask and just standing still for a minute or two can often be more supportive of my overall well-being. One of my favorite things to do during this time is get in touch with my chakras.

    To start, close your eyes and take a deep breath. I usually start with my root chakra and work my way up, but if you’d rather start at the crown and work down, that’s totally fine. Inhale deeply, and as you inhale, see a bright red light at your root chakra growing bigger. As you exhale, this light grows brighter. Repeat this for one or two more cycles. Then, move up to your sacral chakra and repeat this process. Continue this until you finish at the crown. When you’re finished, imagine the light of energy flowing freely throughout your body.

    If you’d like, you can end this with an empowering mantra, such as “All is well,” or, “I am aligned with my highest self.”

    Shower Meditation #6: Breathing Meditation

    Sometimes, when nothing else seems to work, what your soul needs is a simple breathing meditation.

    There’s nothing fancy here. But simply paying conscious awareness to your breathing is a powerful way to cultivate mindfulness and restore harmony within.

    Inhale deeply. If you want, you can inhale to a count of four or five. Pause for a brief moment when you reach the end of your breath. Then exhale for a count of five or six. Continue doing this as you shampoo, condition, wash your body, shave, and complete your various shower tasks.

    There’s a good chance that as you do this, you’ll notice your thoughts begin to stray. That’s okay. When you notice your thoughts straying, don’t suppress them, and don’t be hard on yourself. Simply notice, and then let that thought drift away as you come back to your breath. Every time you have a thought, allow yourself to return to your breath. You may do this dozens of times throughout your shower, and that’s okay.

    This is a simple yet meaningful way to meditate in the shower, as it returns you to the present moment, helps you to cultivate a sense of mindfulness, and promotes peace and tranquility within.


    And there you have it: six powerful ways to meditate in the shower. Have you ever tried meditating in the shower? What are some of your favorite shower meditation practices? Leave a note in the comments below!

    For more meditation tips, plus a daily dose of positive affirmations and self-love, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest!


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    Pin this! How to Do a Shower Meditation (6 Powerful Practices)
  • mala beads
    Lifestyle,  Meditation,  Mindfulness,  Spirituality

    What Are Mala Beads? (A Complete How-To Guide)

    What are mala beads and how are they used? Discover the complete guide for using mala beads in meditation, manifestation, gratitude practices, and more! Plus get links to beautiful mala beads you can purchase today!

    DisclaimerThis post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product using my link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

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    Pin this! What Are Mala Beads? A Complete How-To Guide

    What Are Mala Beads?

    For centuries, many different religions have been using prayer beads as part of their spiritual practice. My grandpa was Catholic, and growing up, I remember seeing him pray with his rosary set between his fingers at least once a day. At his funeral, there were multiple stories told of my Grandpa Moose and his rosary, and there was also a service in which loved ones honored his memory by reciting the Holy Rosary holding rosary beads.

    Mala beads have been used as part of a spiritual practice for over 3,000 years, most prominently associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. However, they have gained widespread acceptance among people of various spiritual backgrounds, and in many cultures, they’re used as part of a non-religious affiliated meditation practice.

    So what exactly are mala beads?

    Mala beads are a string of beads used as a meditation and mindfulness aid. Typically, they have 108 beads, and while each necklace or bracelet is unique, they generally all have the same standard components, such as the Guru Bead, the Tassel, Marker Beads, and Spacer Beads. We’ll define the function of these different components below.

    The most common use of mala beads is to recite a mantra during meditation. They’re also often used as a mindful breathing tool, and you can even use them as part of your manifestation practice. Many people who have a difficult time sitting still during meditation find that incorporating mala beads into their practice helps them to relax and cultivate a greater sense of mindfulness as they meditate.

    Below, I explain the various components of mala beads, how to use them, and how to choose the best mala beads for you. Plus, I link to some beautiful mala beads you can purchase today!

    Mala Beads: Components

    mala beads components

    As mentioned above, the common components you’ll see in a mala bead necklace are the following:

    • 108 Counting Beads
    • Guru Bead
    • Marker Beads
    • Spacer or Decorative Beads
    • Knots
    • Charm
    • Tassel

    Let’s define the function of each of these components:

    108 Counting Beads

    Each mala necklace typically has 108 identical counting or primary beads, though some have less, which is okay. In meditation, it’s typical to hold the mala beads with one hand, draped across your fingers, and touch each counting bead with the thumb and middle finger one at a time, working your way through the entire necklace. You’ll complete one full inhale and exhale with each bead before moving to the next. (More on this practice in the How-To section below.)

    Guru Bead

    The Guru Bead is your starting point. It is typically bigger and has a distinct look from the other beads on the mala necklace or bracelet, though sometimes it’ll be the same type of bead as the marker beads. You’ll usually find this bead attached to the tassel.

    Marker Beads

    You’ll typically find four marker beads on a mala necklace, spaced at every 27th bead. These marker beads are typically slightly bigger than the counting beads and often a different color. The marker beads are a way to help you come back to your meditation if your mind has strayed. When you come across a marker bead, it reminds you to return to the present moment. In essence, this is a beautiful mindfulness tool. (Note that not all malas have marker beads.)

    Spacer/Decorative Beads

    The spacer beads are typically smaller (and often flatter) beads placed between larger beads. Depending on the unique necklace, you may see these in different sections, such as between the Guru bead and counting beads or before and after every marker bead. Note that not all mala necklaces have spacer beads. You do not count the spacer beads during your meditation.

    Knots

    In a typical mala necklace, you’ll find a small knot between each bead. The knot ensures that if the string breaks, the beads will not be lost. This makes your mala stronger, and the knots can also help with the movement of the mala during your meditation.

    Charm

    Your mala may or may not have a charm on the end, often in place of the tassel. The charm is typically ornamental, though you may choose one that has special meaning to you, such as a lotus flower or chakra symbol.

    Tassel

    While the tassel may seem at first appearance to be decorative, it’s actually steeped in deep spiritual symbolism. The strings of the mala loop through all of the beads, coming together through the Guru bead and finishing in the tassel. Some view this coming together of the strings to be symbolic of oneness, both with the Universe and each other. It can also be viewed as one’s desire to reach enlightenment. While I didn’t list it here, you can also view the string or thread that the beads are threaded on to be an important component of the mala, as it’s the link that brings everything together.

    Want to create your own mala beads? Check out Alice Peck’s Mindful Beads: 20 Inspiring Ideas for Stringing and Personalizing Your Own Mala Prayer Beads, Plus Their Meanings. This book includes the stories and meanings behind 20 types of beads, plus how to instill your own beads with significance, protection, and promise as you string them. Click here for the current Amazon price.

    How to Choose Mala Beads

    There isn’t a science to choosing your mala, which is a good thing if you’re like me and tend to follow your inner knowing when you make decisions.

    Choosing the right mala beads for you is truly an intuitive practice. As you start searching for the right one for you, you’ll find mala bead necklaces that come in all different colors and often are made of different materials. Some of these materials might include gemstones, pearls, wood, and lotus seeds.

    One of the most important questions to ask yourself as you’re searching for mala beads?

    “Do I find it beautiful?”

    It truly is that simple. Find the one that speaks to you. If you’re browsing through mala beads and one nudges your heart, it’s very likely you’ve found the perfect mala necklace for you.

    I know from personal experience, however, that it’s easy to get stuck in your own head when making these types of decisions. I have a history of over-analyzing my shopping choices, from what yearly planner I want to purchase to what pint of ice cream I want to buy (and promptly consume). I love to follow my heart, but sometimes my heart wants mint chocolate chip and cookies n’ cream.

    If you’re having trouble choosing, I find it helpful to step back and ask myself, “What are my intentions?” Do I want to use these mala beads to help me cultivate spirituality? Do I want to feel a connection with a higher power? Do I want to improve my meditations? Is this a way for me to feel more calm and relaxation? Once you’ve established your intentions, you may have a clearer picture of which mala beads you want to purchase.

    Finally, if you’re in a physical store, it’s always helpful to pick up the mala beads and get a feel for them within your fingers. Since you’re going to be holding these beads for an extended amount of time, you want to make sure you choose ones that feel good to you.

    Benefits of Using Mala Beads

    So why use mala beads? We’ve touched upon this a little bit above, but let’s dive into all the reasons mala beads can be beneficial to you:

    • Promotes Mindfulness: As you take conscious inhales and exhales with each bead before moving onto the next, you’re more likely to remain in the present moment throughout your meditation. And if your thoughts do drift, you’ll eventually reach one of the marker beads, which will gently bring you back to the here and now.
    • Can Improve Your Meditation: This is especially true if you have a hard time sitting still for extended amounts of time. If you find yourself wanting to move around and fidget while meditating, mala beads are the perfect tool for you to incorporate into your practice. It’s, in a sense, mindful fidgeting. (Kind of?)
    • Helps Improve Your Breathwork: I tend to be pretty good at consciously paying attention to my inhales and exhales while meditating . . . at least during the first few minutes. I’ve found that mala beads empower me to be more conscious of my breathing throughout my meditation. And to circle back to the two bulletpoints above, this helps to promote mindfulness and improves my meditation.
    • Connection With a Higher Power: The mala is more than just its individual components; it’s an entire unit brought together by the thread that links together the counting beads with the marker beads with the Guru bead with the tassel. This unity represents our own unity: unity with our higher selves, unity with each other, and unity with a higher power.

    How to Use Mala Beads

    mala beads

    Meditation

    While using mala beads in meditation may seem overwhelming at first, it’s actually an extremely simple and effective way to meditate that requires little to no technical ability.

    Before using mala beads in meditation, I want you to give yourself permission to be imperfect, especially as you’re first learning. It’s okay if you don’t follow all of the steps perfectly when you’re just starting. The most important thing is intention. If your heart is in the right place, and your intentions are positive, this is far more important than perfection.

    Furthermore, you can use your imperfections as a way to practice mindfulness, non-judgmental awareness, and compassion. Were you holding your mala beads with the incorrect fingers? Was your mind so distracted, you missed the marker beads? Notice, accept, and keep going.

    Here’s your step-by-step directions for how to use mala beads in meditation. I’ll discuss some alternative uses below.

    Breathing Meditation
    1. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. If you already have an ongoing meditation practice, you may already have a time and space that works for you. If you use the full 108 beads, this practice typically takes 30 minutes. If you decide not to use the full 108 beads, that’s okay. You can choose to stop at one of the marker beads instead.
    2. Drape your mala beads over your non-dominant hand. Make sure you feel comfortable and that the beads will be easy to move. With your thumb and middle finger of your dominant hand, gently touch the Guru bead. You typically do not use the index finger in this practice, as the index finger is connected to the Ego.
    3. Touch the first counting bead, and take one full inhale and exhale. Then, move to the second bead. Continue this process, inhaling and exhaling once per bead. You’ll stop when you make your way around back to the Guru bead.
    4. As mentioned above, you can choose to shorten your meditation by stopping at one of the marker beads. Alternatively, if you wish to extend your meditation, you can turn the mala around and start again. Note that it’s common practice not to jump over the Guru bead. So if you’re extending your meditation, rather than jumping over it to start back at the first counting bead, you’d turn the mala around and go in reverse.
    Mantra Meditation

    I was first introduced to using mala beads in meditation through the practice of mantra meditations. A mantra meditation is one in which you repeat a specific mantra throughout the meditation (traditionally, 108 times). This form of meditation is also known as japa meditation.

    Your chosen mantra should be something that resonates with you. It can be a sacred word, affirmation, divine name, or simply a word such as love or peace.

    Here are a few examples of possible mantras you could use:

    • Aum or Om (This has many rich and deep meanings. It is known as the word of God, the sacred sound of the Universe, and the union of the mind, body, and spirit.)
    • Om Shanti Om (Universal Peace)
    • Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (Peace of Mind, Body, and Speech)
    • Love
    • Peace
    • I am love.
    • I am peace.
    • I am worthy.
    • I am enough.
    • Love guides me.

    To perform a mantra meditation using mala beads, you’ll essentially take the same steps you do with the breathing meditation. However, in place of the conscious inhales and exhales, you’ll repeat your chosen mantra as you touch each bead. You can repeat your mantra either internally, at a whisper under your breath, or out loud. Do what makes you feel most comfortable.

    Finally, here’s great 5-minute tutorial on how to hold and use your mala beads.

    Alternative Uses

    While meditation is the most commonly discussed way to use mala beads, it’s not the only way! Here are a few other practices for using mala beads:

    • Wear Your Beads: Wearing your mala beads is more than just a fashion statement; it’s a profound practice to connect you to your highest self and cultivate mindfulness in your life. When you wear your beads, you can set the intention to remember the same peace and serenity you feel when you’re meditating. The most common ways to wear your beads are as a necklace or wrapped around your wrist as a bracelet.
    • Manifestation: The most powerful way to use mala beads for manifestation is to recite affirmations for manifestation as you touch each bead. To do this, you’d follow the same steps I wrote above for the breathing meditation, but in place of the conscious inhales and exhales, you’d recite a positive affirmation. As you do this, consciously make sure to feel the positive energy of the affirmation flowing through you. It’s up to you whether you’d like to recite different affirmations or repeat the same affirmations throughout. For some ideas of affirmations to use, check out my posts 65 Positive Affirmations for Manifestation and 50 Money Affirmations for Manifesting Abundance.
    • Gratitude Practice: This has become one of my personal favorite ways to use mala beads. Again, you’ll follow the same instructions as above for the breathing meditation, but here, you’d think of one thing you’re grateful for as you touch each bead. I know it may seem like 108 things is a lot, but it actually becomes pretty easy once you get going. For instance, you can think about each individual part of your body, from your eyes to your lips to your lungs, arms, stomach, legs, and feet (and everything in-between). You can also think about individual people, memories, and luxuries we often take for granted, like air conditioning and running water.

    Mala Beads to Purchase

    If you’re looking for beautiful mala beads to incorporate into your meditation practice, check out the links below! Note that most of the selections below have more color and stone options when you click on the link.

    To make your own mala beads, I’m a big fan of the bead selection from PandaHall. They also sell beautiful mala beads bracelets and necklaces to use and wear. Click the link below for a $5 coupon!

    Get $5 Coupon for New Register

    And that’s it! Have you ever used mala beads in your meditation practice? Or do you have questions about how they’re used? Leave your comments and questions in the box below!

    And for more meditation tips, self-love quotes, daily affirmations, and more, be sure to connect with me Instagram and Pinterest!

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  • meditation journal
    Meditation,  Mindfulness

    How to Start a Meditation Journal (With Links)

    A meditation journal is a powerful tool to cultivate mindfulness, get in touch with your inner self, and track your meditations. Discover how to start your own meditation journal today, plus get links and recommendations to some of my favorite meditation and mindfulness journals. And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for your free meditation journal printable template!

    DisclaimerThis post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product using my link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

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    Pin this! How to Start a Meditation Journal (With Links)

    What is a Meditation Journal?

    The answer, unfortunately, isn’t as straightforward as you’d think.

    You see, a meditation journal is essentially anything you want it to be.

    I know.

    Least helpful answer ever.

    But hear me out.

    Depending on your personal goals and needs, a meditation journal can be any of the following:

    • If you have an established meditation practice, or are looking to start one, then a meditation journal can be a way for you to reflect upon your daily practice. After each meditation, you can use your journal to write about what thoughts and sensations came up for you during your meditation. I’ll go into more detail on this below!
    • You might view a meditation journal kind of like a mindfulness journal. This kind of journal can be a complement to a meditation practice, providing prompts that allow you to better understand your own mind and cultivate more mindfulness throughout your day.
    • And you might also view a meditation journal simply as a way to record your meditations. You can write when you meditated, how long, and what kind of meditation you did.

    In this post, I’m going to cover how to start a meditation journal from scratch. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m mostly going to cover the first bulletpoint above: creating a meditation journal that allows you to reflect upon your daily practice. This type of journal will require you to have some kind of notebook, whether it be a plain notebook, a hardcover journal, a notebook with inspirational quotes at the top of the pages, or something else that strikes your fancy. I’ve linked to some of my favorite lined journals and notebooks below!

    However, if you don’t want to start from scratch, there are some awesome guided meditation journals out there. These journals give you everything you need to create a meditation journal today. Some allow you to reflect on your daily meditation practice while others help you to embrace mindfulness in your life, so choose what best fits your needs! I’ve also linked to some of these below, so you have plenty to choose from!

    Now let’s get started on how you can create your own meditation journal today! P.S. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the post to download your free printable meditation journal templates!

    How to Create a Meditation Journal

    Getting Started

    Before you begin creating your journal, it’s important to step back and gain clarity on your intentions. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

    • What do I want to get out of this meditation journal?
    • How can this meditation journal support my growth?
    • Do I want to track progress through time, or do I simply want a space to record my reflections? (Or both?)
    • What do I need to ensure I continue to keep up with both my meditation and meditation journaling practice? How can I ensure I get what I need?

    Now, let’s break down these questions a little deeper:

    What do I want to get out of this meditation journal?

    This question is meant to clarify your purpose or intention for creating a meditation journal. Do you want to have a space to record and reflect upon the images and emotions that arise during your meditations? Why? Will this allow you to become more aligned with your true self? Keep asking yourself “why” until you get to the root of your reason. If you’re having trouble, you might rephrase the question like this: “After six months of meditation journaling, where do I want to be? How do I see myself? How am I different?” If you see yourself being more peaceful, self-assured, confident, compassionate, and/or loving, that may be your why.

    How can this meditation journal support my growth?

    This question spins off the above question. Do you feel like you allow stress and anxiety to take up too much space in your life? Then maybe this meditation journal will support your growth by helping you to cultivate more inner peace and tranquility. Do you feel like your brain all too often replays events of the past or worries about the future? Then this meditation journal could be a way for you to cultivate more mindfulness. There’s no right or wrong answer here. The ways in which this journal can support your growth will be personal to your own journey.

    Do I want to track progress through time, or do I simply want a space to record my reflections? (Or both?)

    If you love data, then you might enjoy keeping track of different elements of your meditation. Here’s a few things you can track:

    • Length of meditation
    • Time of day
    • Type of meditation
    • Emotions before/emotions after
    • Guided/unguided

    Again, this one’s entirely up to you. If you want to track it, go for it! If not, skip it. Do what you feel best supports your needs.

    What do I need to ensure I continue to keep up with both my meditation and meditation journaling practice? How can I ensure I get what I need?

    Keeping a meditation practice and adding an element of journaling to it requires dedicated time and space. So how can you make sure you get the time and space you need? This question is meant to set you up for success. Let’s remove any barriers and obstacles in the way now so you can continue to have a successful meditation and journaling practice moving forward.

    Related: How to Create a Meditation Table (A Complete Guide)

    Unstructured vs. Structured Meditation Journal

    In this section, I’m going to first outline how to create a free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness meditation journal. This is for those of you who thrive on finding your creative flow and don’t want anything too structured. Afterwards, I discuss how to set up your own structured meditation journal, for those who crave a little organized structure in their routine. There’s no right or wrong way to approach your meditation journal; it’s all just personal preference!

    Unstructured Meditation Journal

    This is quite possibly the simplest and most straightforward way to start a meditation journal as it doesn’t require a lot of pre-planning from you. In fact, if you have a notebook and a writing utensil, you can start writing today!

    The goal here is to reflect upon your meditation, and if you choose, you can go a little deeper and explore the emotions, thoughts, and images that arose for you.

    So what do you need to do? Keep your meditation journal and a writing utensil next to you during your meditation. Once you’re finished meditating, turn to the next blank page and begin writing. (If it isn’t convenient to keep your journal next to you, it’s okay to move to a more comfortable writing spot.)

    Here are a few things you might write about in your journal:

    • What emotions arose during your meditation?
    • What images did you see?
    • What thought patterns did you notice?
    • What challenges did you encounter?
    • Did anything unexpected arise for you?
    • What benefits did this meditation offer?
    • How did you feel immediately after? Five minutes after? Ten minutes after?

    If you want to track specific details about your meditation, you can also write down time, place, and length of the meditation. You might also want to track details like whether it was guided or unguided and what particular type of meditation it was.

    Another option is to make your journaling a type of continuation of your meditation. For instance, let’s say you did a meditation with affirmations for self-love. When you pull out your journal, you could write down the affirmations that resonated with you and continue to write more positive self-love affirmations.

    Or maybe you did a visualization meditation and you want to keep the visualization going. You can write about all the images that came up and are continuing to arise for you. I like to do this in first-person, like everything in my visualization is happening right now. So if I’m walking in a beautiful meadow in my visualization, I’d write something like, “I’m walking in a gorgeous meadow with a sprawling sea of pinks and oranges and yellows spread out as far as my eyes can see.

    What I like about this method is that the possibilities are endless. I also like the flexibility. One day, you might want to reflect upon a particular image that came up for you during your meditation, and the next day, you might want to solely write about the thought patterns you noticed as you were meditating. This practice gives you the freedom and versatility to spend your time writing about anything you want.

    Structured Meditation Journal

    While the above method of keeping a meditation journal gives you the freedom and flexibility to write about anything, there’s actually something kind of calming about having an organized, structured element to your journaling practice.

    And luckily, it’s super easy to create a structured meditation journal from a blank notebook!

    To start, let’s look back at the questions you answered in the “Getting Started” section above. Did you note anything you wanted to track? How can this journal support your growth? What’s your why? You want to make sure all of these elements are incorporated into your journal in some capacity.

    Now let’s set up the first page of your journal. I like to keep this pretty simple so that I can simply write in my headings the day of instead of creating a bunch of pages in advance. But if you want to get creative, go for it! I encourage you to do what makes your soul happy. If you want to add in some stickers, washi tape, or pretty illustrations, you can do absolutely anything. At the bottom of this post, I’ve linked to some fun items you can incorporate into your practice.

    Here are some of the different elements you might want to incoporate into your journal:

    • Date
    • Time
    • Length of Meditation
    • Mood/Emotions Prior to Meditation
    • Mood/Emotions After Meditation
    • Type of Meditation
    • What was your intention for this meditation?
    • Reflection: How did your meditation go?
    • What thought patterns did you notice come up during your meditation?
    • What emotions did you feel during the meditation?
    • What images arose for you during the meditation?
    • What benefits did the meditation offer?
    • Final Thoughts

    Make sure you leave the bulk of your notebook space for the questions that will require longer answers. If you like to create your pages in advance, I’d encourage you to only make a few to start. You might find that you want to change some of the questions or leave more or less space for some of your answers.

    For help getting started, be to scroll to the bottom of the post to download your free printable meditation journal templates!

    Monthly Reflections

    This is optional, but I also like to include some space for a monthly reflection as I find it helps me to get re-centered when I check in with myself every once in a while. You can do this after meditating or choose a different time of day when you have some quiet time to reflect.

    Here are some questions to ask yourself during a monthly reflection:

    • Is my meditation practice supporting my highest good? Why or why not?
    • Have any unexpected problems or issues arose in the past month?
    • Is my meditation practice supporting my growth in the way I hoped? Why or why not?
    • What internal changes have I experienced in the past month?
    • Is there anything I want to change about my meditation practice?
    • What profound lesson have I learned in the past month due to my meditation and journaling practice?
    • Have there been any unexpected positive benefits?
    • Is this practice worthwhile?

    It’s important to check in with yourself to make sure that this practice is always supporting your highest good. If not, why? Do you feel like meditation has become something you “have” to do rather than “want” to do? Then maybe it’d be helpful to stop tracking your meditations and release the pressure to have a perfect meditation streak. Or maybe you’ve only been doing one type of meditation, and it’d be helpful for you to incorporate other types into your practice.

    Whatever your answers are, hold love and compassion for yourself. None of us are perfect. Remember that each day is a beautiful opportunity to start anew.

    Guided Meditation & Mindfulness Journals

    Below, I’ve linked to some of the best meditation journals available today. Note that these are all a little different, so choose what works best for you. Some are designed to reflect upon your daily meditation practice, while others are geared toward helping you to cultivate more mindfulness in your life. And if you’re looking for blank journals, I’ve linked to some of my favorites in the next section!

    Meditation: A Day and Night Reflection Journal

    This beautiful Meditation: A Day and Night Reflection Journal is a unique meditation journal that allows you to both record and reflect. Record your mantra, intentions, and any aids (cushions, candles, music, etc.) you use in your meditation, and reflect on the benefits, inner dialogue, emotions, and thought patterns that came up for you during your meditation. Perfect for beginners and experienced meditators alike! Click here for current Amazon price.

    Inner Peace: A Guided Meditation Journal for Beginners

    Inner Peace: A Guided Meditation Journal for Beginners is a gorgeous meditation journal filled with easy-to-follow meditation prompts, powerful reflection questions, and inspiring quotes and mantras that will resonate at the very center of who you are. This is the perfect meditation journal for beginners to help you find your inner serenity and spread your inner peace into your outer world. Click here for current Amazon price.

    A Year of Zen: A 52-Week Guided Journal

    This one’s an absolute game-changer. The first time I discovered A Year of Zen: A 52-Week Guided Journal, I was blown away. This journal contains 52 weeks of journal prompts, designed to bring your attention to seven areas: meditation, liturgy, work, body, study, art, and the world. The powerful reflection questions in this journal are unlike any I’ve found in any other, encouraging you to explore the metaphors of your life, embrace your creativity (some of the prompts include drawing), and bringing more mindfulness into your daily life. Click here for current Amazon price.

    The 5-Minute Mindfulness Journal

    The 5-Minute Mindfulness Journal is a perfect complement to your meditation practice as it’s filled with thought-provoking journal prompts designed to help you embrace mindfulness while cultivating deep inner peace. It’s filled with quick yet profound prompts that will help you better understand your thoughts, and as a bonus, there are inspiring mindfulness quotes throughout the journal. Click here for current Amazon price.

    Mindfulness & Meditation Guided Journal

    This Mindfulness & Meditation Guided Journal is specifically designed for beginners and is the perfect companion to anyone just starting their meditation practice. It lovingly guides you through 30 days of lessons, teaching you both the basics of meditation as well as how to use meditation to build a deeper relationship with yourself. Each lesson comes with a journal prompt that will solidify the lesson and help you to apply what you’ve learned to your daily life. Click here for current Amazon price.

    Present, Not Perfect

    Present, Not Perfect is another mindfulness journal that acts as a complement to your meditation practice. The subtitle says all you need to know about this one: A Journal for Slowing Down, Letting Go, and Loving Who You Are. This gorgeous journal is filled with inspirational quotes, beautiful designs, and incredible prompts that encourage you to pay attention to your inner and outer worlds, embrace mindfulness, and love yourself fully. Click here for current Amazon price.

    A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal

    A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal is another perfect complement to your meditation practice and the ultimate guide for beginners. It’s filled with simple exercises (like focusing on your breathing), powerful prompts, and inspirational quotes and affirmations. If you want to learn more about how mindfulness can benefit your life, and how you can cultivate more mindfulness during your day, this is the perfect journal for you. Click here for current Amazon price.

    Blank Meditation Journals

    If you want to DIY your own meditation journal, you can use any notebook or journal that catches your eye. Below are just a few of my favorites!

    Meditation Journal Accessories

    The only things you truly need to create a meditation journal are a notebook/journal and a writing utensil. But if you want to add some more components to support your practice, do whatever makes your soul happy! Below, I’ve linked to some beautiful magnetic bookmarks to mark your page, inspirational pens, adorable stickers, and gorgeous washi tape.


    For more mindfulness tips and self-care ideas, plus lots of gentle nudges and loving words, be sure to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram!


    Are you ready for your freebies? Enter your name and email address below for your free printable meditation journal template! (Note that it may take an hour or two for the email to come through.) Plus, receive a weekly newsletter with resources, affirmations, and new blog post updates straight to your inbox. (Don’t worry, I hate spam, too! I only send one email a week, never share your personal info, and you can unsubscribe anytime.)

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    Pin this! How to Start a Meditation Journal (With Links)
  • mindfulness for kids
    Lifestyle,  Mindfulness

    Mindfulness for Kids: 33 Awesome Gift Ideas for 2020

    Looking for some unique gift inspiration for the kids in your life this year? Check out these 33 awesome gift ideas that all center around mindfulness for kids! Below, I break down all the gift ideas into age groups so you can narrow down exactly what you’re looking for!

    DisclaimerThis post contains Amazon links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase a product using my link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

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    Pin this! Mindfulness for Kids: 33 Awesome Mindfulness Gift Ideas

    Mindfulness for Kids

    Mindfulness is non-judgmental, conscious awareness in the present moment.

    But what does this mean, exactly?

    It simply means living in the present moment without judging yourself or your thoughts. It’s the ability to step outside of yourself and observe your thoughts and actions without letting the inner bully criticize your every move. And it’s the opposite of the autopilot mode, where we’re unconsciously performing actions without thinking.

    Mindfulness allows us to honor and recognize the beauty, value, and importance of this moment right now.

    So how exactly do we teach kids about such an important concept, and even more, how do we make it so it’s actually something they want to do?

    Mindfulness can actually be a truly fun and uplifting skill for kids to learn as there are so many different ways to practice it! Activities like gratitude journals, affirmation cards, books, card games, yoga, meditation, art, and sensory learning are all awesome ways to bring mindfulness into your child’s life.

    Below, I list 33 awesome mindfulness gifts for kids. I’ve broken down the gifts into age groups, but be sure to check out the gifts in neighboring age groups as many of these gifts can be used for multiple age brackets! (I especially love the games for the whole family as they allow the entire family to spend quality time together while building important mindfulness skills!)

    0 – 3 Years

    Mindful Baby Board Book Set

    This Mindful Baby Board Book Set includes four books that come in a convenient slip case. The four books (Calm, Nature, Sleepy, and Happy) are all about teaching little ones to use their senses to experience everyday joy. They’re colorful, sweet, simple, and a perfect way to start incorporating mindfulness into a child’s life.

    Baby Loves Calm: An ABC of Mindfulness

    This is another simple and sweet book for teaching your child the ABCs through mindfulness-related words, such as “B is for Breathe,” and “C is for Calm.” Baby Loves Calm: An ABC of Mindfulness is a cute and uplifting way to introduce any child to the ABC’s and mindfulness at the same time!

    Breathe, Baby, Breathe: An ABC Guide to Mindfulness

    Breathe, Baby, Breathe is another sweet ABC guide to mindfulness that follows little Leila as she learns how to navigate negative emotions through using mindfulness. And be sure to check out its companion book, The Mindfulness Room. These books can be used for years as they’re great for older kids as well.

    Baby’s Big World: Mindfulness

    The Baby’s Big World: Mindfulness Board Book has sweet and simple illustrations, and it teaches little ones mindfulness concepts through simple instructions like squeezing your fingers and putting your hands to your chest. If you like this book, be sure to check out the Baby’s Big World: Yoga Board Book as well!

    Mind Body Baby: Meditation

    The Mind Body Baby: Meditation Board Book is a wonderful book for teaching little ones the basics of meditation with simple instructions that carry profound lessons for years to come.

    Baby Rainmaker – Rain Stick Toy

    Recognizing sensory observations is one of the foundations of mindfulness, so any toys that stimulate sensory learning are perfect for cultivating mindfulness for children at a young age. I love this Baby Rainmaker – Rain Stick Mini Toy (8 inches) because it’s colorful and makes soothing rain sounds (unlike some of the harsher and louder baby toys out there).

    13.8 Inch Wooden Rainmaker Rain Stick

    For something that has a slightly different look and is a few inches bigger, be sure to check out this Wooden Rainmaker Rain Stick made of natural wood. I love the smooth outer appearance and the elegant look that allows little ones to explore colors, sounds, and movements.

    Splashin’kids Crawl Along Game Ball

    This Splashin’kids Crawl Along Game Ball is a great toy for helping babies learn body awareness. It also keeps them engaged and focused while stimulating sensory learning through sound, sight, and touch. These are some of the very foundations of mindfulness that a child can build upon as they get older!

    4 – 8 Years

    Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere

    Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated book that includes 30 short and simple breathing practices and movements to help teach kids the basic foundations of mindfulness, including how to manage their breath and emotions. It’s playful, whimsical, and easily accessible for all. Both you and your kids will love this book, and best of all, the simple practices can be done pretty much anywhere!

    The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids

    This is one of my absolute favorite items on this list. The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids includes daily spreads for your child to write three things they’re thankful for, one person who brought them joy that day, an emotion for the day, and the best part of their day (with space to draw or write about it.) This is a truly wonderful way to help your child cultivate positivity, joy, and gratitude for their daily blessings.

    Kids Gratitude Journal

    For another cute design option, the Kids Gratitude Journal is another uplifting and encouraging journal for kids to practice gratitude and mindfulness!

    Daily Positive Affirmations for Kids

    I just said the gratitude journal is one of my favorite items on this list, but these Daily Positive Affirmation Cards rank right up there. First, I have to note that these aren’t confined to the predefined age ranges I use in this list, so these will work for older kids as well. What I love about these cards is that not only do they have empowering affirmations written on them, but they also have short activities related to the affirmation on each card. For instance, on the “I am open to new possibilities,” card, it says, “I am going to try a new activity today.” Positive, uplifting, and super empowering all in one!

    Kids Yoga Cards

    This is the perfect way to introduce yoga to your children in a way that makes it easy, fun, and something they actually look forward to. These Kids Yoga Cards include 54 educational flash cards, 7 sequences with yoga poses, breathing exercises, meditations, and affirmations. One of the things I love most about these cards is that the cards are color-coded, so you can easily see which cards/poses are meant for calm and grounding, which are energy boosters, etc.

    Yoga Mat

    And to go with the cards above, gifting a child their very own yoga mat will add an extra special feeling to their yoga practice. I love these Gaiam Kids Yoga Mats because they’re high-quality and come in designs for both boys and girls. Dimensions are 60″ L x 24″ W x 3mm thick.

    Yoga Dice

    Okay, last yoga recommendation in this age bracket. These Yoga Dice make for a fun way to learn yoga, and it also encourages teamwork to complete a shared goal. I love that this doesn’t pit players against each other but rather encourages everyone to win together.

    The Monkey Mind Meditation Deck

    The Monkey Mind Meditation Deck is a deck of 30 cards that include breathing practices, guided movements, and positive practices that allow kids to explore their inner worlds, learn how to navigate their emotions in a fun and safe way, and reflect on topics they might not otherwise think about. This deck is able to touch upon these topics in a truly fun and playful way, and the illustrations on the cards are beautiful, soothing, and captivating.

    4E’s Expandable Breathing Ball

    This Expandable Breathing Ball expands from 5.6 inches to 12 inches and is a wonderful stress and anxiety reliever for children. It helps kids to practice deep breathing as they can inhale while expanding the ball and exhale while contracting it. It also can be used in yoga and meditation and is a great way to help kids learn how to become focused and centered. I love that these are colorful, fun, and feel like a toy even though they have a functional use. Plus, this is one of those toys for children that the adults will want to use, too!

    9 – 13 Years

    OUR MOMENTS Kids: 100 Thought-Provoking Conversation Starters

    OUR MOMENTS Kids contains a deck of 100 question cards that parents and kids can answer together. This is not only a great way to cultivate strong relationships through open and relaxed conversations, but it gives kids a voice and allows them to really practice their speaking and listening skills (because you’ll be answering the questions, too). This is a great activity to do around the dinner table or during a long car ride. I love this idea as a family gift for all that you can share and use together!

    Growth Mindset Thoughts and Affirmations

    These uplifting and encouraging Growth Mindset Thoughts and Affirmation Cards are the perfect way to cultivate positivity and mindfulness in your child’s life. Truly, many of these affirmations are the same ones I use as a fully grown adult. Empowering statements like, “I am focused and ready to work hard today,” and “I embrace challenges because they help me to learn and grow,” are a wonderful way to for a child (and the rest of us adults…) to start their day with a positive mindset. Plus, your kid will truly be excited to pick a new card every morning and see what they get!

    Mindfulness Game

    This is the game I wish we had when I was growing up. The Mindfulness Game comes with three decks: Guess, Connect, and Experiment. Guess includes questions that allows players to guess each other’s answers and see how well they know each other. Connect allows players to connect through self-reflection and learning mindfulness skills. And Experiment gets players moving through yoga, meditation, observations, and experiments. This is a game the entire family will love, and it’s an awesome way to connect while learning important mindfulness practices and lessons.

    Yoga Mat

    I’m including this in almost all of the categories because it’s such a profound practice at any age. This Kid/Tween/Adult Yoga Mat is a great buy because it comes in two color and size options, and it also has a free app for mindful based learning. If you’re buying for multiple kids, this Kid’s Short Yoga Mat is also a great, affordable option.

    I AM A LEADER: A 90-Day Leadership Journal For Kids

    When I discovered this I AM A Leader: A 90-Day Leadership Journal for Kids, I was surprised to find that mindfulness and gratitude are central concepts in its pages. It’s filled with gratitude and reflection prompts and helps kids reflect upon positive concepts like gratitude, confidence, and growth mindset. It also includes a Happiness Tracker and an Energy Tracker as well as a guide to a 3-minute mindfulness practice.

    Totem Game

    I love and adore this game so, so much. This is the perfect game if you have multiple kids, or if you’re gifting this to a family with multiple kids. Totem is a card game in which the cards have positive attributes and traits on them. (For instance, “You listen in a sincere and genuine manner.”) Players choose cards that they think fit you, and then you put the cards in order of what you think best fits you. Although there is a competitive element to this game, it’s less about the competition and more about kindness, profound appreciation, and lifting each other up (and building self-esteem).

    Sensory Snake Cube Twist Puzzle

    This one’s a fun little stocking stuffer idea. These Neliblu Sensory Snake Cube Twist Puzzles come in a pack of three and are perfect for decreasing stress and cultivating focus and attention. It acts as a brain teaser and encourages mental exercise as there are seemingly infinite amounts of shapes you can make with these cubes.

    14 – 17 Years

    Buddha Board

    I absolutely love this Buddha Board. For one, it’s a wonderful way to express one’s creativity, but even more substantially, it’s a way to find inner calm and practice mindfulness (without even realizing you’re doing it.) The idea behind a Buddha Board is that you can create whatever you want on the board, knowing that you’re not going to keep the image you create. As the water evaporates, the image disappears, leaving you with a blank slate to create something new. This is the perfect way to learn how to embrace mindfulness in one’s daily life and a great gift for teens to help them find peace and calm when feeling stressed out.

    Infinity Cube

    I’ve actually purchased this JOEYANK Infinity Cube for multiple family members (teenagers and adults) and it’s been a hit every time. It comes beautifully packaged and is not only a great stress reliever, but it’s also a soothing way to enhance focus, creativity, and thought.

    Japanese Zen Garden

    This Japanese Zen Garden is sweet, calming, and a perfect little retreat for a teenager, especially after a stressful day. Drawing in the sand is just one method of releasing anxiety while also cultivating focus, flow, and creativity. And to enhance this even further, be sure to check out the Deluxe Zen Garden Tool Kid Accessories for beautiful add-ons to create a peaceful, calming retreat.

    The Mindfulness Journal for Teens

    The Mindfulness Journal for Teens is an awesome journal that includes writing prompts, breathing exercises, inspirational quotes, powerful affirmations, and easy meditations. Being a teenager can often be stressful and overwhelming, so I love that this journal helps teens to clear their mind, find their inner calm, and learn how to mindfully deal with one thing at a time.

    Meditation Cushion

    A meditation cushion is the perfect way to support and encourage teenagers to begin their own powerful meditation practice. It also increases comfort and helps to align the spine, which allows for better breathing and a better all-around practice. I absolutely love this Florensi Meditation Cushion. It comes in multiple colors and is an awesome addition to a teenager’s bedroom. For something more streamlined with solid colors, check out the Waterglider International Zafu Meditation Pillow. I love the color options this one has!

    Be You Card Deck for Teens

    The Be You Card Deck for Teens contains 60 mindfulness practices, including practices to ease stress, manage anxiety, deal with anger and depression, boost self-confidence, and realize one’s full potential. This card deck truly empowers teens and helps them to build important mindfulness and self-care skills that will stick with them for life.

    Yoga Gear

    I love the idea of gifting yoga gear to teenagers and helping to cultivate a practice that will benefit them for years to come. Yoga won’t only help them to develop a more positive and loving relationship with their body, but it teaches important mindfulness principles like staying in the present moment. A yoga mat is the perfect tool to start building a yoga practice. This BalanceFrom GoYoga+ All-Purpose Yoga Mat comes with a carrying case and knee pad, and it’s also super durable and comes in multiple colors. If you want to add to this, you could also include some Gaiam Essentials Yoga Blocks (Set of 2).

    Affirmation Cards

    Affirmation cards are a powerful mindfulness tool for kids and adults of any age. Not only are they uplifting, but they help teens to cultivate a positive mindset and to realize they have power over their thoughts. These Affirmators! 50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself – Without the Self-Helpy-Ness! cards are some of my all-time favorites because they’re fun and uplifting but don’t take themselves too seriously.

    5-Minute Gratitude Journal

    And last but not least, this 5-Minute Gratitude Journal isn’t actually marketed toward teens, but I think it’s the perfect gift for a teen as the short prompts are a wonderful way to cultivate positivity, gratitude, practice. Here’s a few examples of the prompts:

    • One beautiful reason to be happy right now
    • An unforgettable memory I treasure
    • One of the best parts of being me

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  • Ways to Cultivate MIndfulness
    Meditation,  Mindfulness

    10 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness Today

    As a follow-up to my blog post, What is Mindfulness? Plus 15 Powerful Mindfulness Quotes, I’m giving you 10 effective ways to cultivate mindfulness as you become more conscious of your thoughts and start living in the present moment. The best part? Most of these are simple practices you can start doing at home today.

    Ways to Cultivate MIndfulness
    10 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness Today

    What is Mindfulness?

    In my recent blog post, What is Mindfulness? Plus 15 Powerful Mindfulness Quotes, I gave you my definition of mindfulness, the three components of mindfulness, and a list of powerful quotes from prominent thought leaders on the practice of mindfulness.

    To recap, I define mindfulness as non-judgmental, conscious awareness in the present moment.

    One of my favorite definitions comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School:

    “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

    When we think about mindfulness, it’s likely that the next word that comes to mind is meditation. And while I think meditation has been my most powerful tool in helping me to cultivate mindfulness, you absolutely do not have to meditate in order to live a mindful life.

    In fact, anyone can begin a mindfulness practice today, no meditation required. And while you may feel like you’re too busy to start a new mindfulness practice, many of the methods on this list take almost no time at all – just a couple seconds of your conscious thoughts in the present moment.

    Below, I’ve written about 10 ways to cultivate mindfulness today. While you definitely don’t have to do all the items on this list, I encourage you to try out as many as possible to see what works for you. To help you out, I listed these in order of practices that take the least amount of time to ones that take the most.

    And if you have any questions, don’t forget to post them in the comments below!

    Method #1: Phone Notifications/Reminders

    The irony isn’t lost on me here. While most of us would say that a little less time on our phones is one of the best ways to cultivate mindfulness, I’m starting out by telling you to spend more time on your phone.

    But let me backtrack.

    I’m not actually saying to spend more time on your phone; I just think that instead of always focusing on the bad things associated with cell phones, we should focus our attention on the good services they provide.

    And one of my favorite ways to use our cell phones for good is to set up positive and uplifting notification reminders that pop up during the day to remind you that you’re doing a great job, that you’re worthy, that you’re capable of doing incredible things – whatever you know you’ll need to hear when you’re in the middle of a chaotic workday.

    So how can we use these notifications as a way to cultivate mindfulness?

    By setting up reminders to pause in the middle of our day and breathe. These don’t have to be anything dramatic. One of my favorite gentle reminders?

    “Breathe.”

    Some other reminders you can set up to help you cultivate mindfulness:

    • Pause. Breathe. Be.
    • Notice your surroundings.
    • Pause and look around you. Then, look within.
    • Inhale. Exhale.
    • Where is your mind right now?
    • Where are your thoughts right now?
    • Come back to this present moment. Don’t judge. Just be.

    At most, these notifications may take a minute or two to set up, but once you have them stored in your phone, you can set them to pop up for you as many times as you want during your day.

    Method #2: Post-It Notes

    Essentially, post-it notes work in the same way as reminders on your phone, but if you don’t like to look at your phone during the day, this might be a less intrusive method for you. (Or, if you don’t want to choose, do both!)

    You can use some of the same reminders I wrote above on your post-its. (Or index cards, scrap pieces of paper, napkins . . . anything you want to write on.) Then, place them in spots you know you’ll see them during the day.

    Some suggestions for placement:

    • Near your work station
    • On your bathroom mirror
    • In your wallet
    • Near your phone charging station
    • Next to the coffee pot
    • In your pocket
    • Next to the car radio or drink holders

    The most important thing with the post-it method is not to get so used to them being there that you ignore them. Set the intention to read the post-its when you see them. Switching out the message weekly and/or using bright colors might help with this.

    Method #3: Set Daily Intentions

    One way to cultivate mindfulness is to set the intention to practice mindfulness throughout the day. I’m big on having a morning routine (more on that below!), but if you don’t have time for a longer routine, spend just one to two minutes every morning setting a purposeful intention.

    Now, this intention doesn’t have to just be, “I will practice mindfulness today.

    To mix it up, you can focus on some of the different components of mindfulness each day.

    Here are some examples of daily mindfulness intentions:

    • Today, I set the intention to practice non-judgment.
    • I will step back from my work once an hour to take three deep breaths.
    • Today, I pledge to live in the present moment. When I find my mind wandering to the past or future, I’ll gently bring it back to right now.
    • I will observe my internal world with objective awareness.
    • I will observe my external world with objective awareness.

    Again, the key here is to come back to your intention throughout the day. As you start this practice, phone reminders or post-it notes might benefit you. Or, if you have a whiteboard in or near your work space, you can simply write on it, “Remember your intention.” Let those words bring you back to the present moment.

    Method #4: Follow Social Media Accounts that Teach, Discuss, and Encourage Mindfulness

    Yes, I know.

    Social media is just as bad as phones.

    But again, I think we can use social media in this instance for good, not evil.

    Do you have Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? Do you find yourself checking your social media once, twice, three times or more a day?

    While social media detoxes are good for all of us every once in a while, we don’t have to cancel all of our accounts in order to practice mindfulness.

    There are a lot of really amazing people on social media talking about mindfulness every day. These people are using their platform to teach and share their knowledge and experiences.

    So let’s let them teach us.

    We often open our social media apps on autopilot, not thinking twice about what we’re doing, so a powerful practice is to be mindful every time we open up one of our social media accounts. Notice (with objective awareness . . . no judgment) when you’re clicking that little square on your phone. Are you bored? Sad? Avoiding bad or negative feelings? Again, don’t judge yourself here. Just notice.

    Then, when you have that account open, add accounts to your feed that talk about mindfulness. This doesn’t mean you have to unfollow your friends or favorite celebrities. Just find a few accounts that speak to you (you can search the hashtag #mindfulness and go through some of the popular pins to get started), and follow them. Every time you open your app, make sure you read through their images and captions.*

    I know this one might sound silly or stupid to some, but I think there’s power in seeing examples, thoughts, ideas, and definitions about mindfulness every day.

    My Mini-Disclaimer

    *To be clear, I very much believe in listening to what other people have to say about a subject and then forming your own opinions and truth. If you follow a mindfulness blogger who says something that doesn’t feel right to you, question it. You don’t have to blindly accept anything that anybody (including me) tells you, especially if it doesn’t feel right.

    Method #5: Breathing Exercises

    Not sure if you want to start a meditation practice? Or you already do meditate, but you want to enhance your practice? Breathing exercises are a perfect tool to increase mindfulness, and the best part is you can do them anytime and anywhere.

    While there are many variations of breathing exercises, your practice can be simple and straightforward.

    For example, breathing from your belly, inhale for four seconds. Hold your breath at the top for another four seconds. Then exhale for four seconds. If you’re comfortable, you can try a variation of this, where you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath at the top for seven seconds, then exhale for eight seconds. You can breathe through your nose or mouth, whatever is most comfortable for you.

    Even if all you can do is take a couple seconds for a few slow, conscious inhales and exhales, that’s okay.

    The key to using breathing exercises to cultivate mindfulness is to focus on your breathing, grounding yourself in this present moment. And when we are continually able to return to the present moment, we allow mindfulness into our experience.

    Method #6: Lean Into Frustrating Moments

    This one is tough, but if you stick with it, it can be the most worthwhile.

    It’s likely that nearly every day, you encounter experiences that cause you to feel annoyed, frustrated, and maybe even a little angry. Your heart rate increases. You feel a tightness in your chest. Or maybe it feels more like heat pulsating through your veins. Whatever it is, it’s uncomfortable and you don’t like it very much.

    To cultivate mindfulness, don’t suppress or pretend these moments don’t exist.

    Instead, lean in.

    I’m not saying, “Let yourself get so angry and upset that the negative energy overcomes your entire body.”

    What I’m saying is this: get curious.

    To start, set an intention to recognize your moments of discomfort and/or frustration throughout the day. If you already know that your morning commute is going to make you want to smack your head against the steering wheel, decide to approach the commute a little differently today.

    Now, you’re stuck in traffic. The cars aren’t moving. Or maybe someone cut you off. To be clear, you definitely don’t have to like these moments. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions are rising within you.

    And then, simply notice.

    Now get curious. Ask yourself questions: Why am I frustrated right now? Why does this experience cause me to feel this way? What do I see in my surroundings right now? What would I change if I could?

    Become an objective observe of yourself. That means no judgment. Just notice, probe, observe. Let yourself stay grounded in this present moment.

    Now, see if you can do the same thing tomorrow. And the day after that. And then see if you might be able to have this same mindset when an unexpected frustration pops up during your day.

    It won’t happen overnight, but if you do this consistently day after day, with time, you’ll see a shift in your mindset and how you view your present experience.

    Method #7: Get Outdoors

    I can’t quantify how much time this will take during your day. It may take seconds. Maybe minutes. Maybe an hour or more. But if you can make time for 15 minutes to go outside, you’ll experience huge benefits to your mindfulness.

    Let’s say you have a 15-minute break during work, and you choose to step outside and take a walk during that time. Or maybe you decide to take a short walk outdoors after dinner. Whenever you can fit in this time, set the intention to stay in the present moment as you walk.

    Now, as you’re walking, notice your surroundings. Take note of what you see and hear. How does the air feel on your skin? What sensations do you feel in your body? Is there tension in your muscles? Tightness in your chest? How do your feet feel in your shoes, walking against the ground?

    Whatever your answers are, don’t judge. There is no right or wrong, no good or bad. And when you realize your mind has drifted away from the present moment, gently bring it back to right now.

    The goal here isn’t to keep your mind from drifting.

    The goal is to notice when your mind has strayed and to gently return it back to the present, over and over again.

    If walking isn’t your thing, you can also perform this mindfulness exercise when gardening, mowing the lawn, or raking leaves. If the weather permits, you might also choose to do it while stretching outside.

    And finally, whatever you decide to do, remember to breathe. Anytime your mind strays, remember that you can always return to the breath.

    Method #8: Establish a Morning Routine

    Depending on your available time, these last three practices can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour. (And you might also be able to combine them with other practices on this list.)

    I’m a big proponent of having a morning routine that isn’t just about hurrying to rush out the door. Personally, I like to journal for 30 minutes first thing after I wake up. I do this when the house is quiet and it’s still dark outside. For me, this is my time to write, create, reflect, and uncover my own feelings, ideas, and thoughts. I also usually work out in the morning, either by running, HIIT exercises, yoga, or light stretching on recovery days.

    So how exactly does any of this cultivate mindfulness?

    A couple ways.

    For one, you might choose to add specific mindfulness practices to your morning routine. You might choose mindful journaling, which entails writing about your thoughts, surroundings, and present experience with objective awareness. You can also add other practices on this list, like daily intention setting and breathwork.

    I believe there’s also something powerful about having an intentional and conscious morning routine, no matter what it entails. It means that instead of just unconsciously going through the motions, you’re choosing how you greet the day. And when you start the day by consciously choosing your experiences, you’re more likely to continue this practice throughout the day.

    Morning Routine Template

    Below is the morning routine template I created for my post, How to Design a Morning Routine for Manifestation. If you don’t have time for journaling, utilizing a template such as this one is a powerful way to set your intentions for the day.

    morning routine template
    Morning Routine Template

    Possible Components of Your Morning Routine

    • Journaling
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • Intention Setting
    • Daily Affirmations
    • Breathwork
    • Reading
    • Exercise
    • Morning Walk
    • Gratitude Practice

    Method #9: Meditation

    If you’re looking to start a mindfulness practice, it’s hard to find anything that will serve you better than meditation.

    First, let’s dig into some myths about meditation.

    Meditation is not “clearing your mind of all thoughts.”

    And “not thinking” is not the goal of meditation.

    Rather, in meditation – mindfulness meditation, specifically – one simply breathes in the present moment, notices when they have a thought with objective awareness, and gently releases it, returning to the present moment.

    For instance, imagine you’re laying on the ground looking up at a perfectly blue sky, and a cloud passes above you. “Look, there’s a cloud,” you think. Then it floats out of your vision, and you let it go without attachment.

    These clouds are your thoughts. Notice. Release. Come back to the present, over and over again.

    If you’ve never meditated before, starting a meditation practice may seem overwhelming at first. To help, I’ve created 7 Meditation Practices for Beginners, which gives you suggestions for how to start as well as links to guided meditations using the Insight Timer app. (No affiliation.)

    Just know that even if someone on a podcast says they meditate for two hours a day, or an Instagram influencer swears by meditating for twenty minutes twice a day, you don’t have to start big. When I started meditating, I pledged just ten minutes a day. Sometimes, five. And even now, I often meditate for no more than ten to fifteen minutes.

    You can definitely cultivate mindfulness without meditation. The walking exercise I described in the “Get Outdoors” section is a great way to start. But I believe meditation has been my greatest teacher in cultivating mindfulness. If you’re open to it, pledge to meditate for ten minutes a day, ten days in a row. Start small, then see how you feel after that.

    Method #10: Yoga

    Yoga is another powerful practice that may take ten minutes, an hour, or somewhere in-between. If you’ve never tried yoga before, this one might be even more intimidating than meditation. So let’s make it a little less intimidating by talking about why yoga cultivates mindfulness and how to gently step into a new yoga practice.

    First, like we did with meditation, let’s debunk a myth about yoga:

    Yoga isn’t about getting into a pose and holding it as long as possible until you can no longer stand the pain.

    The beauty of yoga (in my experience, at least) is in the flow: the gentle awareness of the energy flowing through my body. Yoga is when my mind and body become one, and I simply exist in this present moment. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from yoga isn’t to become more flexible; it’s to become one with my breath.

    Yoga cultivates mindfulness because it allows us to be in this present moment, at one with our breath, simply noticing the sensations and feelings in our body with non-judgmental awareness.

    If starting a yoga practice seems intimidating, YouTube might become your new best friend. There are thousands of videos online dedicated to beginner’s yoga. If you’re not sure where to start, I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene’s Foundations of Yoga series. This series is comprised of 45 separate five to twenty-five minute videos, each dedicated to helping you explore a different yoga pose. I love these because you can take your time with each pose and go at your own pace.

    If you want to learn a little more about yoga and mindfulness, here and here are a couple articles that dive a little deeper into the connection between your body and your mind.


    And there you have it: ten ways to cultivate mindfulness today. Remember that you don’t have to include all ten practices into your life today. Start small. Choose a few that feel right to you. And if one of those methods doesn’t click, choose again. And remember that every moment in our lives provides us with an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Even right now. Notice the thoughts, sounds, sensations, and feeling of the present moment. No judgments. Just observe.

    Other Posts You Might Like

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    10 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness Today

  • what is mindfulness
    Meditation,  Mindfulness

    What is Mindfulness? Plus 15 Powerful Quotes

    In this post, I’ll go in-depth on the three components of mindfulness, plus provide you with 15 life-changing quotes about mindfulness that will change the way you think. Be sure to check up my follow-up post, 10 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness Today, where I provide you with ten simple and effective practices you can do today to cultivate a more mindful life.

    what is mindfulness
    What is Mindfulness? Plus 15 Powerful Quotes

    Mindfulness

    This word has been gaining recognition and popularity over the past several years (for good reason), becoming more than just a concept reserved only for experienced meditators and skillful yogis. From mindfulness coaches to mindfulness bloggers (*raises hand*), we see reminders to be mindful all over social media, blogs, and news sites.

    But what exactly does this mean?

    I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard the term mindfulness, I had no idea what it was actually referring to. From what I knew of the word mindful, I had some guesses: it probably had something to do with awareness and maybe having respect for yourself and others, such as to be mindful of your words or to stay mindful of somebody’s personal space. That didn’t seem too difficult. From that fuzzy and uncertain definition, I was pretty sure I already had a solid foundation in mindfulness already built up for myself.

    Spoiler alert: I was wrong.

    I’m not sure I ever actually sought out an actual definition of mindfulness. Rather, the practice found me, and as I opened myself up and made space for it in my life, more resources and guidance came to me to help me in my journey.

    While meditation has been my greatest teacher in helping me discover mindfulness, you absolutely do not have to meditate to cultivate mindfulness. We begin cultivating mindfulness the moment we return our awareness to this present moment (and when our minds inevitably stray, gently bringing it back to the now, over and over again).

    In this post, I’ll break down what mindfulness really means, including its three core components, as well as give you fifteen powerful quotes from past and present thinkers and visionaries on what mindfulness is, what it does, and why it’s important.

    What Is Mindfulness?

    This morning, as I was applying my makeup, I noticed that I chose the exact same eyeshadow from my eyeshadow palette that I’ve been unconsciously choosing for probably a week straight. I pointed my brush right at the little rectangle and dipped it into the neutral, beige-ish powder without even thinking about it, probably just as I had yesterday and the day before. Today, though, I paused for a second. Then I looked at the other colors on the palette. I recognized what I was doing, made the conscious decision to keep using that same eyeshadow again, and then applied my eyeshadow.

    As small and seemingly inconsequential as this moment was, this is an example of mindfulness.

    We all have unconscious behaviors we engage in every single day. And that’s okay! We don’t need to fight or avoid these unconscious behaviors. To be honest, it’s kind of nice to go on autopilot every once in a while and perform actions that don’t take tons of thought.

    Mindfulness is, in many ways, the art of noticing. In my example, choosing the same eyeshadow color I’ve been picking for the past week was an act of simply noticing. I was able to pause in the middle of my unconscious act and simply observe myself.

    Going Beyond Just Noticing

    Now, if we deepen our definition of mindfulness, we see it as a little more than just noticing: it’s non-judgmental awareness in the present moment.

    Here are two reactions I could’ve had when I noticed that I picked the same eyeshadow color for the umpteenth time:

    • “Good God, Zanna, what is wrong with you? You should’ve been paying better attention. You’re not mindful. You’re just going through the motions again!”
    • “Huh. That’s interesting.”

    Mindfulness does not mean you notice and then berate, bully, and judge yourself for your thoughts and actions.

    Mindfulness means you notice and observe without any judgment.

    (But if you realize that you are judging yourself, that’s okay. This is my absolutely favorite thing about mindfulness: we can stray as many times as we want and always come home to ourselves. So if I had chosen that first reaction above, I could’ve observed my own judgment and then thought, “Huh. Okay. I’m judging myself. That doesn’t align with who I am. I think I’ll choose again.” The important thing is not to let this become a domino effect. If you notice yourself judging, try not to judge yourself for judging. Instead, choose again. Choose differently. Be gentle with yourself. Just the act of recognizing and choosing again is going to be of far greater service to you in your journey than being a perfect mindfulness student all of the time.)

    Defining Mindfulness

    My favorite descriptor for our individual roles in a mindfulness practice is to be an objective observer. This means I have the power to step outside of myself in the present moment and notice my thoughts and actions without judgment or criticism. And when I see that my thoughts are returning to stories of the past or future, I can gently guide myself back to this moment right now. And I can do that again and again and again, as many times as I need.

    So here’s my personal definition of mindfulness:

    Mindfulness is non-judgmental, conscious awareness in the present moment.

    And to be mindful is to be an objective observer of oneself.

    And that’s it. Of course, we can continue to dive deeper as we explore and discuss mindfulness, but for a definition, it’s truly that simple.

    The 3 Components of Mindfulness

    So from my definition above, we can break down the concept of mindfulness into three components:

    1. Conscious Awareness: To recognize your thoughts, words, and actions as you’re thinking, speaking, and acting. This is the opposite of the “autopilot” mode we all fall into once in a while. Conscious awareness is taking a step back, recognizing the autopilot mode, and choosing how you think and feel in this moment.
    2. Lack of Judgment: Autopilot mode is normal. So is letting our minds wander to the past or future. So is anger, fear, sadness, pain, anxiety, worry, boredom, and all kinds of emotions that we label as good or bad. The key to mindfulness is to not judge ourselves for our thoughts and emotions. Simply notice. Observe. Choose again.
    3. Returning to the Present Moment: I think about the past a lot. I also think about the future a lot. And that’s okay. I can also recognize that the only real thing in the world is this moment right now. We can think about the past and future, but don’t live there. Live in this moment. That’s what mindfulness does for us; it allows us to honor and recognize the beauty, value, and importance of this moment right now.

    15 Powerful Quotes

    Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz

    mindfulness quotes
    Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness Quote

    “What would if be like if I could accept life – accept this moment- exactly as it is?” – Tara Brach

    “That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time.” – Sharon Salzberg

    “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray

    “Wherever you are, be there totally.” – Eckhart Tolle

    “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

    Mother Teresa quote
    Mother Teresa Mindfulness Quote

    Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it. – Sylvia Boorstein

    “Pure awareness transcends thinking. It allows you to step outside the chattering negative self-talk and your reactive impulses and emotions. It allows you to look at the world once again with open eyes. And when you do so, a sense of wonder and quiet contentment begins to reappear in your life.” – Mark Williams

    “We spend a lot of time judging ourselves harshly for feelings that we had no role in summoning. The only thing you can control is how you handle it.” – Dan Harris

    mindfulness quotes
    Rasheed Ogunlaru Mindfulness Quote

    “Whatever state I am in, I see it as a state of mind to be accepted as it is.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

    “Learn to slow down. Get lost intentionally. Observe how you judge both yourself and those around you.” – Tim Ferriss

    “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”- Allan Lokos


    Want to Learn More About Mindfulness?

    Check out these awesome resources!

    If you’re thinking about starting a meditation routine but aren’t sure where to begin, be sure to check out my post, 7 Types of Meditation Practices for Beginners. And if you have any questions about mindfulness or meditation, leave a comment below or connect on social media! I’d love to hear from you!

    what is mindfulness
    What is Mindfulness? Plus 15 Powerful Mindfulness Quotes
  • meditation practices for beginners
    Meditation,  Mindfulness

    Meditation Practices For Beginners

    Want to start a meditation practice but unsure where to begin? Here, I list 7 types of meditation practices for beginners, including mindfulness, body scan, visualization, and chakra meditations. I also provide you with links to guided meditations you can try at your home today!

    meditation practices for beginners
    7 Types of Meditation Practices for Beginners

    Meditation

    If you’ve never meditated before, the thought of starting a meditation practice can feel kind of daunting. How do you start? When’s the best time to meditate? How are you supposed to sit, and what the heck do you do with your hands?

    Here’s my overarching answer to all questions about starting a meditation practice: Start where you are with what you have.

    There will never be a perfect time to start meditating, and yet, it is always the perfect time to start meditating. You don’t need any special equipment. You don’t need to wait for a certain time of day. And you definitely don’t need to cultivate the special superpower of being able to clear your brain of thoughts. At most, you just need yourself and a few minutes of quiet.

    Below, I’ve listed seven of the best types of meditation practices for beginners who are new to meditation. While you can definitely choose any of these in any order, I’d recommend starting with mindfulness meditation, as that lays the foundation for so many other types. At the end of each section, I link to associated meditations in the Insight Timer app. Please note that I have absolute no affiliation with the Insight Timer app, or any other meditation-based apps. I objectively chose Insight Timer to highlight for the following reasons:

    Insight Timer Features

    • It offers over 55,000 guided meditations and music tracks for meditation completely free. You can purchase a paid subscription to receive access to courses, but this is not required for meditations. You have total access the 1000s of meditations they provide for free. They also support over 3,000 meditation teachers on their app and website. This page offers great perspective into why I personally use and believe in this app.
    • Because it offers 1000s of free meditations, once you’ve tried your first few meditations, you can freely and easily explore other meditations. You can also bookmark ones that resonate most with you.
    • On top of meditations, it includes music, talks, and a timer feature that allows you to time and track your own unguided meditations. The app also lets you download meditations for offline use.
    • There’s a social media element that allows you to see others who meditated at the same time as you. You can even send them a short message, such as, “Thank you for meditating with me.” But if you don’t like this feature, you can alter your settings and remain private.
    • There’s also several categories broken down by benefits (sleep, healing, health, happiness) and practices (mindfulness, visualization, gentle repetition). Finally, there’s also Beginner Kits to help you when you’re just starting out. (Still, all free.)

    While I’ve linked to the meditations on Insight Timer’s webpage, I’d definitely recommend downloading the app on your phone for easier access.

    (Of course, if you find a different app that you want to use, go for it! You can even try multiple apps and see which one you like best. Also, you don’t need an app to meditate, but it’s definitely helpful when first starting out.)

    Meditation FAQs

    Now, before I get into the different types of meditation practices for beginners, here are some answers to a few more common questions that you may have:

    What time of day should I meditate?

    When I first started, I thought I needed to meditate as soon as I woke up because that’s what I had read in articles and blog posts. Meditating first thing in the morning is a great practice. But so is meditating an hour after you wake up. Or two hours later, at lunch time, before dinner, after dinner, or before bedtime. Basically, anytime you want. So the short answer: There is no right or wrong time to meditate. Do it when you have time and when it feels right for you.

    How should I sit when I meditate? And what do I do with my hands?

    In many of the guided meditations, the teacher will give you some instructions on how to sit, usually giving you a couple options. If you’re on the floor, you can sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees and your palms facing up or down. If you’re on a chair, you can sit with your back straight, hands on knees, legs uncrossed. And it may seem weird, but often, you can lay down as well. It took me a while to try a meditation laying down, but it truly gave me a different and enriching experience. Now, I’ll choose different positions depending on how I feel and what kind of meditation I’m doing.

    What if I can’t clear my mind of thoughts?

    This is one of the biggest misconceptions of meditation and why many people believe meditation isn’t for them. If you listen to just about any meditation teacher, they’ll tell you the same thing: Meditation is not about clearing your mind of thoughts. If it was, I’m not sure any of us, not even the most advanced meditators, would ever succeed. The last thing we want to do is suppress or evade our own thoughts.

    At its heart, meditation (especially practices rooted in mindfulness) is about non-judgmental observation, conscious awareness, and gently rooting ourselves in the present moment. When you’re meditating and your mind strays, don’t berate or speak down to yourself. You are not “wrong” for having a thought. Simply notice. When I first started, I’d use the phrase, “Ah, I’m having a thought.” I imagined I was observing something curious and interesting but that I didn’t need to hold onto. Allow yourself to become an objective observer of your own mind and accept that thought. Then, gently guide your brain back to the present moment.

    Below, I’ve written about seven different types of meditation practices for beginners. I’ve also included associated Insight Timer guided meditations (all 10 to 14 minutes long). Feel free to check them out or find your own meditations, using any of the great apps that are available. But again, you absolutely don’t need an app for meditation. I think they’re extra helpful for beginners, but the only thing you truly need to start meditating today is yourself.

    Mindfulness Meditation

    When I first started meditating, I primarily did mindfulness meditation practices. After trying out some beginner mindfulness practices using Insight Timer and Headspace, I shifted to doing unguided mindfulness meditations.

    So what exactly is mindfulness meditation? First, let’s look at the word mindfulness. Have you ever gotten lost in thought? Do you find yourself thinking about an event in the recent past and going over all the details? Do you replay old scenes over and over again, getting pulled into those past emotions? Or what about making up scenarios and obsessively playing out scenes of the future that haven’t even happened?

    In one of my previous jobs, as I got ready for work in the morning, I’d think about all the things my boss had done recently that upset me. Then, I’d make up things I imagined he’d do to upset me even more. I was angry, frustrated, and upset – all before even stepping foot out the door!

    Now, can you imagine living a life where you’re always living in the past or future – never in the present?

    (Read More About Mindfulness: What is Mindfulness? Plus 15 Powerful Quotes)

    This is where mindfulness comes in.

    Mindfulness is conscious awareness of the present moment through an unattached, objective, and unemotional lens. Mindfulness allows you to notice when your thoughts have strayed and to gently return them to this present moment. The key here is that you don’t judge yourself for your straying thoughts; it happens to everyone. You can simply notice that you’re having a thought and then release it without judgment.

    A common analogy is to think of it as clouds passing over you in the sky. Imagine you’re laying on the ground looking up at a perfectly blue sky, and a cloud passes above you. “Look, there’s a cloud,” you think. Then it floats out of your vision, and you let it go without attachment.

    In mindfulness meditation, you’re not trying to rid your head of thoughts; you simply notice with objective awareness when you’re having a thought, and then you let it go and return to this present moment.

    So how exactly do you stay grounded in this present moment?

    Most often, it’s through your breath. In many mindfulness practices, you simply keep your focus on your breath coming in and going out of your body. And when you find your thoughts going astray, you return your focus to your breath. In the beginning, it might help you to use numbers or a counting system. For example, for every inhale, you may think a silent one, and for every exhale, you think two. Or you can count to ten: every inhale is an odd number and every exhale is an even number. When you get to ten, you return back to one and start all over again.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners:

    Kate James’ Mindful Awareness Meditation (just under 10 minutes) gently guides you through the act of bringing mindful awareness to your present experience. This is a really wonderful meditation for guiding you through the process of becoming an objective observer of yourself.

    Laurie J. Cameron’s Mindful Breathing With Compassion is a beautiful 10-minute practice that combines mindful breathing with a loving-kindness practice.

    Body Scan Meditation

    Body scan meditation is an extension of mindfulness in that it allows you to consciously notice how different parts of your body are feeling in the present moment without judgment.

    In a body scan meditation, you start at your feet and make your way up, paying attention to the way each body part feels. (If you prefer, you can start at your head and move downward.) Are you carrying tension in this particular body part? Are there any feelings or sensations? Don’t attach any value to your answers. For instance, if you’re feeling tension in your shoulders, don’t label this as bad. Just notice.

    Now, there are differing beliefs on what a person should do next. For some, the act of simply noticing is the goal of this meditation. The reason is that this grounds you in the present moment and cultivates a sense of mindfulness. Others go one step further by consciously releasing the tension they perceive. One way to do this is by breathing into the tension. As you exhale, visualize the tension leaving your body and evaporating into the air. Another technique is to actively tense up your muscles and then relax them. You might also visualize a wave of relaxation flowing through your body.

    While a body scan meditation can be done anytime, it’s especially beneficial in helping you to relax at nighttime. If you find yourself laying in bed at night unable to fall asleep, don’t try to suppress your thoughts. Instead, simply redirect your thoughts. You can do a body scan meditation right there in your bed. Simply relax your muscles and release the tension from each part of your body.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners:

    Wendy Chan’s Mindful Body Scan (just under 11 minutes) is a simple but powerful meditation that gently guides you through noticing the different sensations in your body without any judgment or labeling the sensations as good or bad.

    Tara Brach is one of the most well-known meditation teachers both on and off the Insight Timer app. Her Basic Body Scan & Breath Awareness (11 minutes) is a perfect meditation for beginners.

    Loving Kindness Meditation

    Loving kindness meditations have become one of my unexpectedly favorite types of meditations. Why unexpected? To be honest, when I first read about the concept, I didn’t really get it. So I’m just supposed to wish goodwill for others? Of course that’s something I want to do always, but couldn’t I just inherently do that outside of meditation?

    It took actually experiencing my first loving kindness guided meditation to truly understand the gentle power in this practice.

    What is Loving Kindness?

    The goal of a loving kindness meditation is to extend kindness toward yourself and others in your life. In my first loving kindness guided meditation, I was instructed to visualize I was standing in front of myself. I looked myself in the eyes, and I repeated these words:

    May you be well . . . may you be happy . . . may you live with ease . . . may you know you’re always loved.

    Then, I was instructed to picture someone I loved and cherished deeply standing in front of me and to recite those same words. Next, I visualized someone who I sort of, kind of knew but who I didn’t have any positive or negative feelings toward, such as a grocery store cashier or a neighbor down the street. Again, I envisioned looking them in the eyes and repeating those words. Then, I was guided to envision someone I felt negative feelings toward, to look this person in the eyes, and to recite these same kind and loving words as well. And finally, I extended these words to the entire universe in which I am connected.

    There are many variations of a loving kindness meditation, but at their core, they all promote feelings of love and compassion. Like most types of meditation, I’d advise not to focus on this as the end goal, though. Don’t try to feel love and compassion. Just allow yourself to follow the process and open yourself up to whatever arises. Don’t place any judgement or value on your feelings. Just be.

    Beyond the Meditation

    One great thing about this practice is that you don’t have to be sitting alone in a dark room to practice loving kindness. If you’re a beginner, it helps to do a few guided loving kindness meditations to understand the process and follow some of the different variations of this meditation. Soon, though, you may find different opportunities to engage with these practices.

    For instance, when you’re getting ready in the morning and find yourself feeling stressed about the day ahead, you can look at yourself in the mirror and repeat words of loving kindness. If you have a boss who causes you to feel negative emotions, you can visualize looking them in the eyes and repeating these same words. This doesn’t mean that you agree with or accept the things you may not like about them. What it means is that you have the power to realign with your highest self and to choose love over resentment, anger, or pessimism.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners:

    I love Vanessa Michele’s Loving Kindness For Yourself & Others (10 minutes) to cultivate a sense of love and compassion for yourself and the world around you.

    Camilla Sacre-Dallerup’s Loving Kindness and Compassion (10 1/2 minutes) meditation is a beautiful variation of a traditional loving kindness meditation.

    Visualization/Guided Imagery Meditation

    In a visualization meditation, you focus on a specific visual in your mind’s eye. If you’re doing a guided meditation, your instructor will gently guide you through a series of visuals that you follow in your mind. At its foundation, visualization meditations are still rooted in mindfulness. When you’re practicing a visualization meditation, you may find your mind wandering, thinking about the day ahead or noticing the very loud garbage truck outside your house. (I use that specific example because it happens to me nearly every Monday morning!) It’s okay if your mind wanders. Just notice, then allow yourself to return to the visualization.

    So in a visualization meditation, what exactly are you visualizing? This is where, if you’re someone who likes concrete directions and specific answers, you may get frustrated. Because the truth is, there’s an infinite amount of scenes you may visualize in your mind’s eye.

    For instance, I’ve done a lot of manifestation visualizations. Some of these guide me through visualizing a perfect day in my dream life, while others have taken me to golden waterfalls where abundance is infinite and always flowing. I’ve also done visualizations where I’ve floated down a gentle river and allowed myself to flow effortlessly with the water, trusting where the water takes me. I’ve visualized journeys into my own heart where I explore all of the dark and light inside of me. And I’ve also visualized standing in front of a beautiful ocean and releasing all of my hopes and dreams into the sea, entrusting the water with all of my heart’s desires.

    There are so many visualization meditations available to you, and so many different goals and reasons for why you might perform a visualization meditation, it’d be impossible to list them all here.

    The Key to Visualization

    A key for many visualization meditations is to not only see these scenes playing out in your mind but to experience them with all of your senses. If you find this to be difficult at first, it’s okay. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong or that you’re not “cut out” for this type of meditation. I encourage you to open yourself to the process and simply let it be whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be a big or overwhelming thing; I’ve experienced many incredible guided visualization meditations that were only ten minutes long.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners:

    Carrie Suwal’s Attracting All That You Desire (10 1/2 minutes) is a powerful meditation for manifestation that includes both visualization and affirmations.

    My overall most-played meditation on the Insight Timer app is Rishika Anya’s Breaking Through Limiting ThoughtForms (just under 11 minutes). This is a powerful visualization meditation to help you break through limiting thoughts that no longer serve your ultimate wellbeing.

    Affirmations Meditation

    Affirmations meditations are generally pretty straightforward. These are guided meditations in which a teacher recites a series of affirmations, and you repeat these affirmations, either silently or aloud. Often times, a meditation dedicated to reciting affirmations will focus on a specific topic. Some of the guided affirmation meditations you may find include affirmations for abundance, self-love, worthiness, and health. You can also find morning affirmations specifically dedicated to cultivating a positive mindset for the day ahead. There are even affirmation meditations dedicated to specific topics such as childbirth.

    Usually, the teacher will advise you on how to follow along with these affirmations. Sometimes, instead of repeating them, you simply breathe into each one and feel them into your being.

    Note that you may encounter affirmations in other types of meditations as well. For instance, in a guided visualization meditation for manifestation, the teacher may include affirmations to affirm your worthiness of beautiful abundance in your life.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners:

    Liza Colpa’s Manifestation & Affirmation Practice To Gain Confidence (12 minutes) is a perfect one for utilizing both visualization and affirmations to guide you in your personal growth. I absolutely love all of Liza’s meditations, so if you like this one, I’d definitely recommend checking out her others as well.

    Karen Wang’s Words of Affirmation (10 minutes) beautifully guides you through a series of affirmations for self-confidence and empowerment.

    Chakra Meditation

    Chakras are your body’s spiritual energy centers. When our chakras are unblocked, energy flows freely within our body, mind, and spirit, and we feel a sense of alignment and peacefulness. When a chakra is blocked, we feel imbalanced, and this often manifests in negative physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms (anxiety, creativity blocks, and digestive issues, for instance).

    There’s truly so much to talk about when it comes to chakras, so I’ve created this beginner’s guide to understanding and unblocking your chakras. And if you want to learn more, here’s some further reading from one of my go-to sites, the Chopra Center.

    Chakra meditation usually focuses on unblocking any blocked chakras so energy can flow freely. Some meditations will focus on increasing awareness and unblocking one specific chakra, while others do an overview of all the chakras. Below is a list of the chakras, their associated colors, and their locations within your body:

    • Root: Red, at the base of your spine.
    • Sacral: Orange, at your lower abdomen.
    • Solar Plexus: Yellow, above your belly button, below the chest.
    • Heart: Green, at your heart.
    • Throat: Blue, in your throat area.
    • Third-eye: Indigo, on your forehead, between your eyebrows.
    • Crown: Violet, at the top of your head.

    If this is your first introduction to chakras, I’d recommend starting with a meditation that guides you through all of the chakras and their different colors. Once you feel like you have a good foundational understanding of chakras, you can search for guided meditations that focus on unblocking a specific chakra.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners

    Dexter and Alessandrina’s Personal Transformation: Energy Centers Chakra Discovery is a 12-minute guided meditation that leads you through each chakra in your body and its associated color. It’s a really great one for beginners!

    Carrie Suwal, who I mentioned above in the Visualization Meditation section, has some beautiful chakra meditations that focus on trauma, depression, healing the heart, anxiety, and overall balancing. Note that most of these are a little longer than the others that I’ve listed, but if you’re drawn to gentle voices like I am, I think you’ll really love Carrie’s soft and tenderhearted guidance.

    Mantra Meditation

    Out of all the meditations I’ve listed here, I have the least amount of experience with mantra meditations. But I wanted to include it because it’s a great alternative to the standard mindfulness meditation. In a mantra meditation, you focus on a word or a single syllable (and sometimes a phrase) for the entirely of the meditation. If you focus on a word, this word has no meaning. You wouldn’t say something like love, kind, peace, or any other word you have a connection to. Often, this word may not even be in the same language you speak. Some common examples of syllables or words you may repeat include om and ram.

    (Okay, because I’m one that doesn’t like labeling anything in meditation as “right” or “wrong,” I concede that there are mantra meditations out there that will use a word that holds meaning to you, such as love or peace, and while you may receive a different type of experience, there is nothing inherently bad about this!)

    During your meditation, you’ll repeat your chosen mantra (or the one your instructor has provided for you) over and over again. There is no rush here. Keep a smooth, relaxed, even tone. Focus on the sound of the mantra, and when your mind wanders, bring yourself back to the sound, just as you would in a standard mindfulness meditation practice.

    As in all of the types of meditation listed here, you’ll likely find variations of this practice depending on the teacher. I’d recommend starting out with a guided meditation for this one, but after a couple times, this is one type of meditation that you may feel more comfortable trying without guidance.

    Insight Timer Guided Meditation Practices for Beginners:

    One of the first mantra meditations I ever tried was Dexter and Alessandrina’s Ganesha Mantra Meditation for Removing Obstacles (14 minutes). I’d recommend trying out some of the other meditation practices I’ve listed above before this one, but when you’re ready to try something different, this offers a really unique and powerful experience.

    Hannah Leatherbury’s Mantra of Peace is nine-minute meditation that uses a phrase in the Sanskrit language that translates to “Lead me from the unreal to the real; Lead me from darkness (ignorance) to light (wisdom); Lead me from death (limitation) to life everlasting (freedom).” She also has a beautiful five-minute Mantra of Wholeness.


    This is the first of several posts I’ll be releasing on meditation practices for beginners. If you have any specific questions or topics you’d like to see addressed, feel free to leave your requests in the comments below or send me a note through the Contact form. Also, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to get weekly updates on new blog posts and receive an uplifting message in your inbox every Monday morning.

    If you want to read about the health benefits of meditation, be sure to check out my post, 10 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Meditation. And if you’d like to know a little more about my story and what meditation has done for me, you can read my post, 10 Things I’ve Learned From Daily Meditation.

    Looking for more tips and tricks?

    The incredibly talented Liz from Liz in Lotus has put together an awesome in-depth and comprehensive guide to all the basics of meditation for beginners! Her post includes tips on how to start a meditation practice and links to guided meditations (and more!). Check out Meditation Basics For Beginners: Benefits And Ultimate How-To Guide at Liz in Lotus today!

    meditation practices for beginners
    7 Types of Meditation Practices for Beginners