MEDITATION FOR WELLBEING
If you’ve ever heard that meditation reduces stress levels, then you heard right. But that’s not the half of it. Meditation can do much more than that, including combating anxiety, depression, and a whole lot of disorders. Although it does not replace conventional medications, meditation can contribute to your well-being.
Meditation has been in use for centuries. The objective was to unify the mind and body, resulting in a deeper understanding of the spiritual realm. It has since evolved into a technique used for achieving a tranquil mind and relaxation.
TYPES OF MEDITATION
There are many types of meditation, although the results are the same. Each of them employs different techniques ranging from visualization to focus on a specific object. Here are some of the most common types of meditation.
1. GUIDED MEDITATION
This type of meditation focuses on achieving calm, peace, and relaxation through the use of mental images. It involves imagining a specific scene, such as a place where you are happy and at peace. To get the most out of this meditation technique, you need to involve all your 5 senses. Say you are visualizing a beach-side scene, do you hear the lapping waves? Do you see the clear horizon seemingly terminating somewhere at sea? Can you feel the warm beach sand with the sole of your feet? What does the air smell like? Are you eating or drinking something? What does it taste like? You may need a teacher to guide you on this.
2. MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
This meditation technique is used to increase awareness of the present time. It helps you focus on you and your environment, right now, right here. To practice it, you need to focus on a singular object, such as your breath. As you inhale and exhale, watch your thoughts and feelings pass through like a third party, without being judgmental. You can practice this technique entirely on your own.
3. MANTRA MEDITATION
Where it is difficult to focus on your breath as is usually the case with mindfulness, you might find Mantra meditation an easier alternative. It uses repetitive sounds from a calming word or phrase (the most common being “OM”) to help you achieve a deeper level of awareness. This technique is popular among Hindus and Buddhists.
4. MOVEMENT MEDITATION
This is an active form of meditation. It uses the physical movement of the body, sometimes combined with breathing exercises, to achieve a calm and relaxed mind. The movements can be as spontaneous as walking or as deliberate as changing postures slowly and gracefully. Some examples of the latter include Tai Chi, Qi gong, Yoga and Pilates.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
The benefits of meditation are numerous. Some of them have been confirmed by research. They include:
- Weight loss. One research published by the National Library of Medicine showed that meditation is effective in weight reduction. It also improves obesity-related eating behaviors among obese or overweight individuals.
- Anxiety and Stress reduction. Out of a pool of 40 studies examined by the Educational Research Review, 22 out of 24 studies indicated that mindfulness meditation is effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
- Pain Reduction. A study involving 88 Chronic Low Back Pain patients found that meditation reduced their pain. It also improved their “physical and mental” quality of life.
Some other benefits of meditation include:
- Reduction of high blood pressure
- Improved quality of sleep
- Help with drug abuse
- Improvement of the body’s immune system
- Higher cognitive abilities etc.
If you are new to meditation, choosing a technique and determining how long to spend on it can be a daunting task. But don’t stress over it. You can try as many as you can until you find one that works for you or you could contact an expert for help. As for duration, it could be as long as an hour or as short as 5 minutes, it’s entirely up to you. What really matters is that you establish a daily routine.
It’s normal for your mind to wander when you are just starting out with meditation. When it happens, consciously drag your mind back to the object of focus. As time goes on, you’ll be able to maintain focus much longer. Eventually, you will see the positive impact of meditation on your overall well-being.
John us at the upcoming Wellness Retreat and immerse yourself in the revitalization of the body, mind and spirit.