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Meditation tips from Cornell Health

Group of young people practicing yoga

Ready to start a new practice or hone your existing meditation skills? See tips from Cornell Health, and watch these recorded guided meditations to bring a little extra stress relief to your days this season.

An introduction to basic meditation techniques:

  • Sit or lie comfortably, and close your eyes.
  • Take several deep breaths through your nose, releasing bodily tension on the out-breath.
  • Focus your attention on the breath, making no effort to control your breathing. Simply breathe naturally. Notice how the breath moves in and out of the body with each inhalation and exhalation. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, or belly. Keep focusing on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity.
  • If your mind wanders, observe without judgment the thoughts or emotions that have arisen and then release them, returning your focus back to your breath. When noticing thoughts or emotions, you might name them -- saying to yourself, “thinking” or “planning” or “worrying,” as this acknowledgement can help with letting them go.
  • Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Meditation is typically easier and more successful when you detach from trying to “get it right.” Instead, just be present to what is.
  • The benefits of meditation occur even when you are noticing the “chatter” of your mind.
  • Like any skill, mastering one’s mind takes practice. Enjoy any moments of pure silence or peace that arise amid the chatter, and build upon those.
  • Even a few minutes of meditation daily is better than none at all, and can result in real benefits.