Meditation is a practice of clearing your mind and improving your focus using both mental and physical techniques. It is an ancient practice to relax and reduce anxiety and stress and improve overall health.
The term “meditation” refers to a variety of practices that focus on mind and body integration and are used to calm the mind and enhance overall well-being.
Some types of meditation involve maintaining a mental focus on a particular sensation, such as breathing, a sound, a visual image, or a mantra, which is a repeated word or phrase. Other forms of meditation include the practice of mindfulness, which involves maintaining attention or awareness of the present moment without making judgments.
It is a practice of thousands of years old by many religions of the world. It can reduce pain, and stress while improving your mental health. The most common form of meditation is breath meditation, or mindfulness meditation, in which you bring your attention to your breathing.
Healing through meditation can take many forms. There are meditation practices that help manage daily stress and anxiety. Some meditations reduce pain; promote relaxation; and others enhance empathy and compassion. Other forms of meditation include the body scan, walking meditation, and loving-kindness, or metta meditation.
Set time for meditation from your busy schedule. People complain of not having enough time to meditate, but just a few minutes a day won’t affect your work but will bring a big difference. It is a tool with which you can bring yourself back to the present in a stressful situation.
“Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take action and your feelings will change.” ~Barbara Baron
How to Meditate
- Set aside some time for yourself when you will not be disturbed. Be it fifteen to twenty minutes Take a deep breath, and get ready to relax.
- Sit comfortably on a chair with both feets resting on the floor and hands on your lap.
- Start meditation by closing your eyes gently.
- Start taking slow and deep breaths through your nose and exhaling fully.
- Relax your body, using deep breaths to melt tension in any parts of your body that are stiff or tight. It is ok if your mind wanders. You may notice other sensations in the body, things happening around you, or just get lost in thought, daydreaming about the past or present, possibly judging yourself or others. But that is natural and nothing is wrong with it. You will gradually build your skill of coming back to meditation.
- Now focus on your breathing. Notice the movement of your chest and belly as you breath, notice the temperature and feel of the air as you inhale and exhale it. The direction of the air as it enters and exits your body.
- At the end of every inhalation notice a tiny pause and a longer pause at the end of exhalation. Shift your attention to these pauses and notice the stillness in these pauses. Amid these pauses, the mind comes to a standstill.
- Lie down for a few minutes and rest.
- Try to practice this two times a day, in the morning and before dinner.
- Better focus: There’s evidence to suggest that meditation may lengthen attention span by decreasing activity in the brain’s default mode network (DMN). The DMN orchestrates worrying thoughts. When people learn to quiet a wandering mind, they’re better equipped to focus on the task at hand.
- Better mood: Meditation may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety to the same degree as antidepressant medications for some people. With meditation, you’re actively training the mind to focus on what is, rather than on what was or what you hope will be.
- Better sleep: Since meditation plays a key role in your ability to quiet your mind, it can improve sleep. It can also help you learn to relax your body and release tension, making it easier to fall asleep
- Greater control over addictions: Research suggests that people who learn how to meditate may be better equipped to kick destructive habits. In one study of smokers, those who learned mindfulness were significantly more likely to stop smoking.
- Improved cognition: Meditation may also buffer the aging brain. When researchers compared normal aging adults and same-age serious meditators, they found that the shrinking of the brain as you get older is not “normal.” People who meditate regularly do not have shrinking brains.
- Less stress: Studies consistently show that meditation helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
- Reduced pain: Several studies confirm that people who meditate regularly experience less pain than those who don’t meditate.
Suggested Read: Mindfulness Meditation