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By Cate Benson

Meditation for beginners: tips and tools to get your om on

Meditation is a time-honored method that promises to help you decompress, unplug and feel rejuvenated. But if it's so easy, why can it be so tricky to find your bliss? The keys to your own personal nirvana are within reach if you follow the tips below.

Turn off and tune in

We are so connected to our gadgets these days that the mere thought of putting them down and focusing on ourselves can turn us into an anxious, fidgety mess. Put your phone in a drawer – preferably out of arm's reach – and prepare yourself for some peaceful contemplation by taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. This will set the stage for a calm mind and prepare you to begin your practice.

Take a load off

Find a quiet, calm place to sit. Meditation is meant to be restorative, so don't lay down unless you plan on taking a catnap. Be mindful of your posture as you sit down. Once you're comfortable, sit still. This is the time to focus on your breath and your intentions, so be sure to work out all your wiggles beforehand. You can use a cushion or chair to ensure that you are sitting tall.

About face

Your facial expressions are equally as important as your posture when perfecting your meditation practice. Maintain a serene expression and close your eyes. The less you focus on your surroundings, the more in tune you will become with your mind and your breathing.

I think, therefore I can

Meditation offers us a respite from our hectic lives, so check your mental to-do list and negative thoughts at the door. If some thoughts keep nosing their way in, acknowledge them and tell yourself that you will address them when you are done. Remember, the word "practice" is especially fitting when it comes to meditating. It takes time to learn how to pull all of these steps together and reach a state of higher consciousness. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your meditation practice won't be either. Enjoy the journey and know that each time will get a little easier.

Let someone else be your guide

There is no one right way to meditate. If you are still unsure of how to get started, you can explore guided meditations. They are easy to follow and will help you keep your breathing and intentions in check. Best of all, you can listen to them from anywhere. So don't let a trip away from home or your usual meditation spot keep you from staying on track. A simple web search will provide you with online options and apps that have lots of cool trackers and tools.

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, you can also work with a teacher who will share techniques and help you choose a personal mantra. Depending on your budget, you can learn in a group setting or one-on-one.

With meditation, even the sky is not the limit. Following these tips will make the journey a little more enjoyable from the very beginning. Everyone can benefit from a daily dose of solitude and contemplation to become the best version of themselves.

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