Is your life full of stress? Do you have a hard time quieting your mind at the end of the day? Do you just wish you had a little more peace and quiet in your life? If you can relate to any of these questions, you may be the perfect candidate for learning more about meditation.
While the people have been meditating for centuries, the practice has gained in popularity within the last few decades. We will discuss everything you need to know about this unique art of mindful thinking so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.
What Is Meditation?
As we already mentioned, the art of meditating is nothing new as its origins go back thousands of years. Depending on who you talk to, they might describe meditation differently than someone else, particularly since various techniques exist.
In short, when you meditate, it can help you understand your own mind and learn how to transform negative thoughts into positive ones. It can also make you feel more purposeful, balanced, and have a sense of calm and inner peace.
Some describe meditating as a way to train the mind like a fitness trainer might help someone transform their body into a healthier and stronger state. People who meditate usually have different goals and may describe their experience differently than another person meditating in the same space.
While many beginners struggle with meditating, anyone can do it as long as they are patient, open to the idea of the practice, and allow themselves to get comfortable with the process.
Benefits Of Practicing Meditation
Many say that meditating on a daily basis may improve one’s quality of life. Studies have shown that it has a lot of benefits and while it’s a gentle and safe practice, meditating should not replace medical care if you’re in need of it or would benefit from your health professional’s expertise.
Here are some of the mental and physical health benefits that you may experience when you begin to meditate.
Reducing Stress and Less Anxiety
People decide to meditate for a number of reasons, but one of the most common ones is to reduce stress. If you visit your health professional and talk about eliminating stress from your life, he or she may even suggest meditating.
People who encounter high levels of stress are more likely to be anxious as well so meditating can help people manage their anxiety.
A Positive Outlook and Health Mental State
While some chemical imbalances in the brain are best managed with medications, you may improve your outlook on life when you meditate. Stress, anxiety, and other personal issues in your life can leave you feeling negative and low. Allowing yourself to clear your mind of negative thoughts can improve your overall outlook on life.
Gaining A Better Sense of Self
Some people spend years trying to find themselves and developing a stronger sense of self. Sometimes people put the needs of others before themselves and busy schedules, and other stressors can make it hard to practice “me” time or self-reflection.
The more you meditate, it becomes easier to make a connection with yourself and gain a better understanding of who you are and who you might want to be in the future.
Some other benefits of meditating include lower blood pressure, less chronic pain, the ability to fight addiction issues more easily, and have better sleep at night.
Different Types of Meditation
When exploring the idea of calming the mind, many people are unsure where to start or how to start meditating, especially since there are different techniques. Want to know which one is best for you? We’ll give you a brief overview of some of the most common techniques.
Many people wonder how long they should spend meditating. While many experts recommend meditating about 20 minutes, twice a day, this may not be feasible for you, and it might be hard to do when first learning your technique. Don’t get too caught up in the amount of time you spend meditating; even ten minutes can be beneficial.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique from the ancient Vedic tradition of India, which was modernized and introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The primary goal behind TM is to avoid distracting thoughts and to develop a state of relaxed awareness.
During TM, an individual will sit still in a comfortable position with their eyes closed and repeats a mantra in their head, which helps to focus concentration and “transcend” one’s current thoughts.
As the everyday, distracting thoughts disappear, they are replaced by a state of pure consciousness which allows the individual to experience stability, order, stillness, and an absence of all mental blocks.
Out of all the techniques, TM requires that individuals follow a multi-step course led by a certified teacher. TM courses are typically not free, and there are rules and steps that people who practice TM are expected to follow.
While guided meditation like TM might help you focus easier and be a preferred learning style, you can learn how to meditate without instruction. Here are a few simple techniques that you can try on your own.
This technique is great for beginners who want to focus on becoming more relaxed. Learning to control your breath is essential in many techniques, so this is a great way to practice. Once you get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin by paying close attention to your breathing.
As you focus all of your thoughts on how the air flows through your nose, into your lungs, and out your mouth, unrelated thoughts should slowly disappear.
With this technique, you are fully present and “in the moment.” Like the breathing technique, you start by focusing on your breath and then slowly pay attention to and focus on other feelings throughout your body. Rather than trying to control or fix any feelings you have, the goal is to observe how you feel.
Many people hesitate or struggle with meditating because they have a hard time sitting still or don’t find the practice to be comfortable or relaxing. The walking technique is a good option for individuals who always feel like they need to be on the move.
The purpose of this technique is to focus all of your attention on how your body moves as you walk.
Tips For Meditation
There are several techniques that we didn’t mention but if there is one that you are interested in, check to see if there are places in your area (such as a yoga center) that offer a special place for people to meditate.
If there aren’t any classes or places nearby, you can read publications or watch videos on the Internet that do a nice job of explaining the differences and can help you do a little more in-depth research on a technique.
One of the main things to remember when you are trying to meditate is to go easy on yourself. Regardless of what type of technique you try, you’re likely to experience distractions, and it’s natural to want to analyze or judge your thoughts and feelings.
While it can be difficult to “quiet” these thoughts, do your best to bring your attention back to the main movement of the technique. When you meditate, you won’t perfect the practice overnight, and you may hit some frustrating mental blocks. Be patient and kind to yourself. Be open to allowing yourself to experience thoughts and feelings.
Once you commit to a technique, it’s important to treat it as though it’s any other form of exercise. You deserve to exercise and clear your mind just as you deserve to go on a daily run.
Creating A Space For Meditation
While you can meditate anywhere, you may enjoy the practice more and feel the benefits if you create a space for your meditation. When creating a place in your home to meditate, choose a space that makes you feel good. Ideally, this would be a quiet room with no distractions. If you don’t have a spare room for peace and quiet, dedicate a corner or even a space in your garden.
It’s best to keep the space uncluttered, but it’s okay to bring things into the room that make you feel calm and happy like plants, blankets, water features, or candles. Incense or a diffuser with your favorite essential oil can also help you stay focused while you meditate.
While the space should be free of distracting noises, meditation music might help in blocking out unwanted and unavoidable sounds. Your space for meditating sound feel safe, calm, and happy and should motivate you to practice your technique as often as you wish.