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As a woman who learned how to start meditating later in life, I really wish I had discovered this beneficial practice much earlier! After experiencing immense stress relief during major transitions like menopause and caregiving challenges, I feel excited to share meditation’s gifts with you. 

The relief I’ve felt from being grounded in the present moment inspired me to create this beginner’s guide to meditating. While meditation springs from ancient spiritual traditions, its core remains timelessly helpful—guiding awareness to rest calmly in the present moment does wonders. 

I’ll cover everything you need to begin, including clarifying what meditation actually means and how to build your own sustainable routine. You’ll also get handy troubleshooting tips and recommendations on leveraging supportive communities specifically for women over 50.

My goal is to equip you with all the easy-to-apply building blocks so you can start meditating in a style that fits your lifestyle needs. By doing so, you, too, can experience the benefits of finding inner peace amidst life’s inevitable ups and downs.

What is Meditation in Simple Terms?

Plain and simple, meditation means focusing your attention – typically by resting awareness gently on an anchor point like the breath, a phrase, or bodily sensations without getting distracted. 

Our minds naturally wander all the time. But instead of judging this, we patiently return attention back to the chosen anchor point in the present moment, again and again. With regular practice, this trains stability and clarity of mind.

Some common motivations people have for starting meditation include:

By taking regular time-outs to intentionally guide our attention with care, we create the conditions to live with greater ease, purpose, and inner peace.

Why Bother Meditating? Here Are the Benefits

From my personal experience, meditation has become indispensable in skillfully navigating life’s inevitable ups and downs as an older woman.

Cultivating a mindful presence empowered me to work through menopause, caregiving challenges, and other major transitions with more wisdom, resilience, and compassion. Beyond coping better in adversity, there are benefits like:

Physical Perks

  • Lowers blood pressure 
  • Reduces inflammation 
  • Boosts immunity
  • Slows aging

Mental & Emotional Superpowers

  • Dissolves anxiety
  • Strengthens focus 
  • Balances emotions 
  • Deepens wisdom

Now that you understand why so many people meditate let’s cover the easy steps on how to start meditating.

How to Start Meditating as a Beginner

Learning meditation as a complete novice takes courage, patience, and self-compassion. But let me guide you through the basics to begin practicing.

Prepping to Start

Meditation isn’t about twisting into crazy yoga poses! Its chill essence simply involves guiding awareness to rest on something steady like the breath.

First, clarify your motivation. Do you want better sleep? More patience? This helps match methods to meet your needs. 

Next, commit to a reasonable routine – maybe 10 minutes after your walk. Baby steps! Then, set phone reminders so it becomes a habit. 

Some mind-wandering is normal. Greet challenges with humor and self-care, not judgment. With the right mindset, progress unfolds!

Picking Your Style

While many kinds exist, here are a few top techniques for beginners:

Breath Awareness – The classic style focuses attention on breathing sensations. Calming.

Body Scan – Slowly scan and relax different body parts from head to toe. Soothing. 

Walking Meditation – For busy bodies – move gently while staying aware of sensations.

I suggest breath or body awareness first for their chill factor before trying more advanced methods later. Choose what naturally fits this season of your life! 

How to Start Meditating in 10 Easy Steps

1. Find a quiet spot

Limit disruptions. Earplugs can help create silence to retreat into. 

2. Set a short 5-10 minute timer.

Gradually build session length over time. 

3 Speed sit comfortably, eyes closed

Support your back on a chair or cushion.

4. Bring a soft focus to your breathing.

Feel inhales and exhales flow.

5. When your mind wanders, gently return focus to breath.

Return your focus back to your breath.

6. Hone attention on subtle sensations.

Cool inhales, gentle chest rising. 

7. Keep re-centering attention patiently.

Distractions will come up; it’s no big deal.

8. For the last minutes, marinate in the stillness.

Soak up the clarity before transitioning.

9. Ease out mindfully.

Slowly reorient senses to sounds and body. 

10. Write your wins in a journal!

This builds momentum.

Stick with this sequence for a brain-training workout, lifting mental weights through the gym of life! 

Preparing Your Space

While not mandatory, consciously crafting space can help: 

  • Make a quiet, distraction-free zone 
  • Cushions = comfy 
  • Soft music/nature sounds encourage rhythm
  • Stash meditation goodies nearby – reminders, props, journals

Basically, it reduces disruption + adds comfort.

Getting Guided Support as a Meditation Beginner

For minds unused to long attentional focus, sitting silently often increases restlessness initially until concentration strengthens. This is where guided practices lend a helping hand for establishing regularity early on. 

Why Consider Guidance

Guided meditations involve a teacher directing your attention using visualization, body sensing or other techniques. Some nice elements include: 

  • A soothing voice anchors wandering attention 
  • Sessions start shorter for beginners needing to acclimate
  • Variety in scenarios keeps things interesting! From nature walks to self-healing.
  • Takes the guesswork out by offering clear direction

At first, I’ll admit I was too stubborn for guidance. But nearing menopause, having an encouraging voice gently remind me to meet mounting frustrations with care became a lifeline during the darkest periods. 

The structure kept me motivated until I could meditate solo without support or distraction, pulling me off track. If restless starting off, experiment with adding some guidance as training wheels before taking them off down the road!

Recommended Guided Resources

Luckily, tons of easily accessible guided meditations exist through apps, YouTube, podcasts and more:

  • Apps – Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace, Ten Percent Happier
  • YouTube Channels – TheHonestGuys, Jason Stephenson 
  • Podcasts – UCLA Mindful Awareness, TaraBrach 
  • Books – Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh have great programs

Start with any format you like, then spice things up! Just start with something, and don’t endlessly debate what’s best. Building consistency with support outpaces decision paralysis. 

Along with community lifelines, having practical solutions for struggles empowers you through the inevitable bumps as you pave new neural pathways.

Common Meditation Obstacles and Easy Solutions

Stuff comes up while practicing alongside real life. As a novice, you’ll likely encounter challenges like monkey mind or achy knees. But instead of quitting from frustration, creatively adapt! Here are some top hurdles with fixes:

Feeling Too Busy

  • Even 5 minutes daily can reduce stress

Forgetting

  • Phone reminders and post-it notes to the rescue!

Squirmy Discomfort

  • Props, alternate postures, and gentle stretches help aging joints 

Monkey Mind

  • Anchoring attention builds mental muscle 

Boredom

  • Mix up techniques guided practices 

Self-Judgment

  • Redirect attention like you would for a dear friend – with compassion, not criticism! 

Meditation works gradually, so whether you’re facing restlessness, pain, or distracted thoughts (all normal!), see obstacles as opportunities to try new solutions with care—not reasons to quit. 

Building Lasting Meditation Habits

Initially, sample types of meditation to see what resonates. Then, commit to a duration and frequency fitting your lifestyle for continuity amidst daily demands.

Try starting and ending days with short practices to align intentions and process events. Like watering a plant, consistently nourishing meditation habits allow roots to grow even in turbulent modern life. 

When I began prioritizing just brief recharging sessions amidst family and work obligations through my 40s and 50s by sticking to easy routines centered on self-care and consistency, the peace cultivated became an indispensable anchor through intense midlife growing pains. 

Trust the process. Don’t underestimate the power of patiently tending your meditation practice through ups and downs! 

Keep Evolving Your Practice

Once you establish regularity using basic techniques, here are tips for sustaining lifelong interest:

Level Up

  • Make sessions longer to build attention and stamina 
  • Learn advanced concentration skills 
  • Set intentions around cultivating patience, forgiveness, etc. 
  • Attend retreats accelerating progress!

Mix It Up

  • Complement classic seated meditation with movement methods like yoga or walking meditation. Variety prevents practice plateaus over decades. 

By continuing to tend the soil and explore new dimensions, your meditation garden will continue blossoming throughout the seasons of life!

Finding Community Support

In addition to solo sessions, consider joining a sangha – a circle of fellow practitioners also navigating the winding path of awakening. Options include: 

  • Local meditation groups 
  • Mindfulness circles at yoga studios, temples, wellness centers
  • Retreats unite communities temporarily to build lasting bonds
  • Online forums connect worldwide 

Having an uplifting circle, both in person and virtually, keeps you feeling held, not alone, along the journey. Community helps continuity. We’re all just doing our best out here! 

Wrapping Up

Meditation works gradually, so self-compassion and community mark the path as life unfolds amidst practice.

If you meet the inevitable bumps in the road with patience and adaptability, the peace and clarity you generate will start permeating outwards into all facets of life. So don’t hesitate to lean on supportive communities that want you to succeed! 

Choose an accessible, enjoyable style, then commit to regularity, even starting with brief windows carved into the busyness of modern schedules.

The time is now—you CAN nurture life-enriching skills to traverse life’s ups and downs with more grace.

Iva Ursano
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Iva Ursano is a solo female traveler originally from Canada and currently residing in Guatemala. After hitting rock bottom in 2013, she completely reinvented her life at 52 years old, packed up two suitcases, and bought a one-way ticket to Central America. She runs this website for women over 50 to help them make the rest of their lives the best of their lives while feeding street dogs and helping the less fortunate in the town she now calls home, Panajachel. You can follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram (Street Dogs of Guatemala)

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