A Step-By-Step Guide To Practicing Meditation For Concentration
Are you having trouble focusing?
Whether you’re writing a book, designing a logo, or programming software, the ability to focus is essential in getting things done on time and delivering quality work.
However, more often than not, multiple things in life are always vying for your attention: notifications, emails, news, social media, and ads—whether you’re aware of it or not.
They are draining your attention like a siphon sucking water out of your attention bucket.
If all water has been siphoned out before you get to the critical tasks, you will most likely find it difficult to focus and concentrate, leading to a loss of productivity.
This is where meditation for concentration comes in. A study by the University of Washington showed that meditation could help you stay on tasks longer, switch between tasks less often, and enjoy what you’re doing more.
Think of meditation as a form of exercise for your brain muscles.
The more consistent you meditate, the stronger your mind becomes. It will have the strength to be ‘indistractable’ and steer your attention to where important tasks are.
Just as there are many types of exercises, each enhancing different parts of the body, there are many types of meditation serving different purposes: to relieve stress, to improve concentration, or to gain insights.
Below, you will learn the three best meditation techniques to increase concentration suitable for beginners.
3 Types of Meditation For Concentration
1. Mindfulness Meditation
The antidote to the distracting mind is mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation that trains you to pay attention to everything happening in the present—including the moments your mind wanders off—and return to observing the breath. This meditation guides you to be aware of your bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, and breath.
By practicing being mindful of the present, you can focus better, suppress distractions, remember information better, and adapt to changing situations faster.
How to practice mindfulness meditation to improve focus?
This is the simplest form of meditation that requires no equipment: just you and a quiet space.
Here’s how to get started in 4 steps:
Set aside 5 to 10 minutes of distraction-free space for yourself. Consider using a timer.
Sit on a chair, couch, or cushion where you can sit upright comfortably.
Take a deeper inhale through your nose and exhale longer and slower than usual through the mouth. Start being aware of your breath.
Pay attention to the bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions flowing through you. Feel your rib cage expand and contract as you breathe. Imagine your thoughts as clouds coursing freely and observe them as if you’re a third person.
The point of mindfulness meditation is not to clear your mind but to be aware of the moment your mind wanders off and returns to the breath.
Tip: If you caught yourself kept on thinking about an event, a task, or a person, observe the thought as it passes and return to observing your breath.
2. Focused Attention Meditation
As the name implies, focused attention meditation guides you to focus on one object to train your concentration muscles. The object can be a candle, a flower, a word, a picture, or a sound.
In this focused meditation, you will observe every corner of the object like a child seeing something bizarre for the first time.
Let’s say you’re observing a lit candle. The way the fire moves, the way the candle melts, its changing size and shape, its smell, its color, and your skin sensations as you draw your hands closer to the fire. All this tiny information that our brain usually would omit is now becoming the focal point of attention.
If you’re looking to increase your attention span, focused attention meditation is the best meditation for focus and concentration. Several studies found that people who practiced focused-attention meditation have a better and longer attention span, higher work accuracy, and better memory.
How to practice focused attention meditation?
Set aside a fixed duration. For beginners, 3 to 5 minutes of focused meditation is a good start.
Choose a target of focus. It can be a candle, picture, sound, or flower.
Sit in a comfortable position where you can sit upright.
Do a body scan starting from the forehead and relax each part of the body from top to toe.
Zero in on the object, including the sensations, sound, smell, and sight. Observe every part and corner of the object.
In the beginning, it can be challenging to focus on one thing wholly, but as you practice consistently, focused attention meditation will become easier.
Tip: If you begin thinking about something else—which is normal—tell yourself it’s okay and divert your attention back to the object.
3. Moving Meditation
The word ‘meditation’ usually conjures up images of a person sitting in a cross-legged position, both wrists on the knees and eyes closed.
But did you know you can also meditate while moving?
In fact, meditation is not about the position but rather the state of mind.
If you can enter the meditative state of mind, whether you’re sitting or running, you’re already meditating. A perfect example of this is yoga; it’s a combination of meditation and movement.
This is especially useful for those who can’t sit still no matter how hard they try. If you are one of them, we have good news for you.
You can meditate while moving, given the right techniques.
Moving meditation typically synchronizes each movement with your breath and guides you to focus entirely on your body sensations as it moves.
For beginners, let’s start with walking meditation. Here’s how to practice it.
Set aside 5 - 10 minutes. Consider a timer.
Find a space where you can walk 10 - 15 steps back and forth. Preferably a place where you won’t be disturbed or observed. The lane can be indoors or outdoors and short or long.
Start walking the lane for 10 - 15 steps, and then pause and breathe for as long as you like. When you’re ready, turn around, walk back to the opposite direction again, and then pause and breathe. Repeat this for several rounds.
While walking, pay attention to each walking component: the sensations of lifting the right foot, moving the right foot forward, placing the foot on the ground, and feeling your weight shift from right to left. Focus on the sensation in the soles of the feet as it touches the ground, the flow of air coursing through your nose and mouth, and other body sensations.
Repeat going back and forth until times up.
Tip: Like other types of meditation, get into a comfortable posture when you’re practicing walking meditation. Place and move your arms and legs in natural positions; walk at a slower speed but not exaggerated or stylized.