If your mind is constantly racing and you’re always feeling stressed, worried, and overwhelmed, then you may want to consider meditation. Meditation can be used to achieve peace of mind and help you deal with stress in your everyday life.
Here’s what you need to know about this incredible practice and how you can incorporate it into your routine:
What Is Meditation?
Meditation involves a set of different techniques that are used to encourage a heightened state of awareness about the self and the world around you. It allows you to change your consciousness to benefit both your mind and your body.
These techniques have been used for thousands of years for religious or spiritual purposes. That being said, meditation has legitimate and proven mental and medical benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation?
Meditation is popular for a reason -- it offers a whole host of benefits to the mind and body. Here are some of the specific benefits that you can expect to gain from regular meditation:
Meditation can help improve your ability to focus and concentrate when going about your daily life. Instead of feeling distracted and unfocused, you can practice mindfulness and make the right decisions in a timely manner.
Manage Negative Thoughts
Meditation teaches you to focus on the present rather than on anxious thoughts.
Meditation can help you reduce stress and feel more relaxed. This is because meditation has been proven to lower cortisol levels in the body -- the hormone that contributes to stress.
Meditation can boost your self-esteem and self-awareness. It teaches you to think more positively about yourself by focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. It also forces you to slow everything down and reflect on your decisions.
Meditation is also thought to be an effective management technique that doesn’t involve strong and potentially addictive medications. It won’t get rid of discomfort completely, but it can help you cope.
What Are the Seven Best Types of Meditation?
There are seven different types of meditation that you may want to consider trying:
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular types of meditation in the West as it does not require a teacher and can be easily practiced on your own. This meditation technique effectively combines concentration with awareness, during which you are simply mindful of any thoughts as they pass through your mind.
You just let the thoughts happen, observe them, and move on. You accept your thoughts without judgment or negativity. The overall goal of mindfulness meditation is to slow down your thoughts, understand them, and let go of any negative emotions.
Spiritual meditation is similar to prayer practices used in various religions in both the East and West, including Hinduism, Daoism, and Christianity. Rather than simply relaxing or reducing stress, the goal of spiritual meditation goes beyond that.
This type of meditation is practiced with the desire to connect with a higher power, whether it be the Universe, God, your Highest Self, etc.
Everyone experiences spiritual meditation differently, and no one should feel pressured to experience something specific or expect certain results. Instead, you should go into it with an open mind and no real expectations.
Some common qualities of spiritual meditation include hearing voices, seeing visions, feeling a spiritual “presence,” a sense of transcendence, or a sense of awe.
Focused meditation involves focusing on one of the five senses -- touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell.
This practice helps you focus without letting your mind wander, but it can be difficult for beginners. If the mind does wander, it’s important to come back to focus without letting your slip-up ruin your entire practice.
Some examples of focused meditation include staring at a candle flame (sight), listening to a gong (sound), or counting mala beads (touch).
On the other hand, if you want to let your mind wander, then you may want to consider movement meditation. Movement meditation involves gentle forms of movement -- preferably outside.
For instance, you can practice yoga, walk through the woods, or tend to your garden. All of these practices will help you move around while connecting with nature and finding peace at the same time.
Mantra meditation is frequently used in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. It uses a repetitive sound to help clear the mind from stress, distractions, and anxieties. The repetitive sound can be anything from a word to a phrase or a sound.
The popular “Om” sound is a form of mantra meditation.
Mantra meditation is one of the easier types for beginners since you’re focusing on a sound rather than your breath. Using a sound can also help break the silence that may seem daunting to meditation beginners.
Visualization meditation can be used to promote feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness to boost your mood and reduce stress levels. This type of meditation involves visualizing positive scenes of images.
However, this type of meditation needs to go just beyond sight and involve as many senses as possible to make it seem like reality. For instance, you can visualize yourself completing goals that you have set for yourself to boost levels of motivation and focus.
Loving-kindness meditation can be used to feel more compassionate, kind, and accepting of others. This type of meditation may work well for those dealing with frequent and deep feelings of resentment and anger.
You need to open your mind to receive love from others while also giving love to friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and all living beings.
How To Meditate for Beginners Step-by-Step
Learning to meditate can be an intimidating process, but it’s truly possible for anyone to practice. It may take time to master, so remain patient and hopeful along the way.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to meditate for beginners:
Step 1: Find the Right Space
The first step to meditation involves finding the right space. You need to find a distraction-free space away from other people, sounds, and technology. Put your phone away and go into a room completely by yourself.
Step: 2 Get in the Right Position
The second step to meditation involves finding the right position. You need to be sitting in a comfortable and natural position. Some people prefer to meditate on the floor while others prefer to meditate in a chair. No matter which position you choose, make sure that you’re sitting in a relaxed position and not tensing up.
Step 3: Close Your Eyes
The third step to meditation involves closing your eyes to employ maximum focus and eliminate all distractions. If you’re unable to keep your eyes closed on your own, you may want to consider using something to cover your eyes.
Step 4: Focus on Breath
The fourth step to meditation involves breathing gently and naturally. Focus all of your attention on inhaling and exhaling. If you find that this is too hard to do without your mind wandering, you can try scanning your body -- focusing on each part from head to toe.
Step 5: Focus
While the entire point of meditation is to focus without letting your mind wander, you shouldn’t let distractions completely throw you off track. Instead, acknowledge them but move on and try to focus on your breathing again. Over time, you will learn how to effectively manage your distractions and not let them ruin an otherwise successful meditation session.
In terms of length, for beginners, it’s best to start off with short lengths of time -- one to two minutes of meditation.
From there, you can increase your time to around five to ten minutes for incredible effects on your mind and body.
As a meditation beginner, there are some meditation essentials that you’re going to need to practice successfully:
- Meditation chair or cushion: A comfortable meditation chair or cushion can help you find the right position to relax your body.
- Eye covering: A soft and silky eye covering can help you remove visual distractions without having to worry about keeping your eyes shut.
- Candles: Candles provide a peaceful aroma, and the flames can be used for focused meditation.
- Essential oils: Essential oils used in a diffuser or topically can have positive effects on the mind and body. Using calming essential oils like frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver, lavender, ylang-ylang, and sage can help you relax and achieve peace of mind.
Final Thoughts on Meditation
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7 Benefits of Meditation, and How It Can Affect Your Brain | Insider
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