Have you ever felt anxious and worried? Stressed and tense? Well, you’re not alone. 19% of Americans have an anxiety disorder, and 31% of adults experience it at some point in their lives. No one wants to live in constant worry, and meditation practice may be the remedy you’ve been looking for.
What is Meditation?
The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that "Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being." You can practice meditation anywhere, at any time, making it highly accessible. Continue reading to learn how you can practice mindfulness meditation today.
The Benefits of Meditation
Scientific research suggests that there are extensive health benefits of meditation. Some of the physical and mental benefits include:
Reduces high blood pressure
Improves sleep quality and treats chronic insomnia
Treats chronic pain
Improves anxiety disorders
Supports acceptance of difficult emotions
People increasingly use meditation as an alternative medicine for certain mental and physical health conditions. For example, mindfulness-based interventions are often used as integrative therapies to support care for individuals being treated for breast cancer and other types of cancer.
A 2018 review found that practicing meditation reduces cognitive decline and perceived stress while increasing the brain's quality of life, connectivity, and blood flow. Further, a 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis found that mindfulness meditation is associated with a decrease in chronic pain. The benefits of meditation are extensive and are helpful as a way to support your overall wellness.
Get comfortable in a desirable position, either on the floor or on a chair.
You may wish to set a timer to indicate the end of your meditation practice or consider using guided meditation through an online recording.
Begin to practice deep breathing. Take a few deep breaths until you get into a rhythm and continue.
Notice thoughts as they come and let them float away. When your mind wanders, bring your focused attention back to your breath.
Although meditation will not come easy, you will progress quickly if you begin practicing for just a few minutes a day. You can carry the concept of mindfulness as a relaxation tool to help center your mind. When stressed, take a few moments to reflect and take a deep breath, ultimately reducing psychological stress. Although simple, these meditation techniques can go a long way.
Meditation centers provide mindfulness or meditation training if you prefer to learn the practice with a coach. These are called mindfulness meditation programs. There is also an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course, which is presently one of the most popular introductions to mindfulness meditation.
Types of Meditation
There are numerous types of mindfulness meditation practices, and it is essential to find one that you enjoy. Here are some meditative techniques that are beneficial for physical and mental ease while supporting spiritual growth:
During Transcendental Meditation, you silently repeat a mantra, such as a word, sound, or phrase, in a specific way. This formal meditation may allow your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation, allowing your mind to achieve a state of inner peace without needing to use concentration or effort.
This self-care meditation has the practitioner mentally send goodwill and kindness to themselves and their loved ones through the silent repetition of mantras.
Body scan meditation
Body scan meditation is a simple practice that involves focusing on each part of the body and the sensations that arise. You will practice it in a systemic sequence from feet to head. This brings self-awareness to each body part and exposes pains, tension, and other lingering feelings.
In Mantra meditation practice, the practitioner sits silently and repeats a calming word, thought, or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts. This style of meditation is prominent in religious traditions, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
During visualization meditation, you will focus on something visual, hold it in your mind, and imagine the outcome of this becoming your reality.
This introductory meditation helps create a foundation for beginners. A guide, teacher, or recording, will lead you through the meditative practice. It often has you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing.
Walking meditation involves drawing your attention inward as your physical body moves and your mind wanders. This meditative practice improves awareness of surroundings, helps one stay in the present moment, and can reduce stress.
Meditation techniques, or meditative practices, are each widely unique. Take time to research and practice different styles to determine which one best suits you.
Making time to meditate is something everyone can do to promote mental and emotional health. So what are you waiting for? Begin your journey to improving your well-being and try mindfulness practice today!
There have been some reports that meditation can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders in rare cases. If concerned, get medical expertise before moving forward.