Meditation Benefits and Tips for Beginners

I have always been intrigued by meditation, but until recently, didn't know how to go about it. There are so many different types of meditation and learning how to do them "right" seemed like too much effort. Whenever I tried to meditate, I ended up criticizing myself for going on tangents in my mind, for not focusing on my breath or whatever visualization I was supposed to do. The experience was more frustrating that it was helpful.

This year, I started becoming more interested in meditation when I learned on a podcast that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. This kind of baffled me...aren't you supposed to completely clear your mind? Prevent any unwanted thoughts? The answer is no -- you cannot control the thoughts that pop into your mind, but you can choose which thoughts you want to hold onto in the moment. In other words, when you're in the middle of meditating and realize that you forgot to get a present for your friend's birthday, you can choose to table that thought for later. Acknowledge, but do not judge the thought. Just let it pass by, leaving room for other space in your mind.

With this explanation, meditation seemed so much more accessible, so I decided to give it a try! Before long, I was in the habit of meditating, and loving it. Adding a simple meditation practice to my life has benefited me in many ways, including:
Below are some tips for other newbie meditators like me:
I am still new to meditating, and I know that meditation is like a sport -- my mind is a muscle, and meditating is working it out! The great thing about meditating is that you can work at it in a way that's unique to you. There is no right or wrong way.

Meditating by a stream

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