As stated in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to meditate is “to engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.” But what exactly are the benefits of meditation?
Benefits Of Meditation
It is estimated that literally hundreds of millions of people practice meditation daily, in one form or another, and they firmly believe that meditation benefits their lives in various ways, both physically and emotionally. Some of these benefits are as follows:
There are a number of physical benefits reported by those who have participated in at least three months of dedicated meditation, in one form or another. These benefits range from lowered blood pressure to a decrease in physical pain, to little to no need for previously prescribed medications, and an improvement in their sleep.
There are also a number of emotional benefits reported by those who have adopted a daily practice of some form of meditation. These benefits include experiencing less and/or being able to deal better with stress and anxiety, and easing of symptoms of depression, and an increase in memory and focus.
Are There Different Types Of Meditation?
There are actually six different types of meditation that are currently popular. Not every style is going to be right for every person. Here is an overview of the different types, which do you think would be right for you?
• Mindfulness meditation – this type of meditation comes from Buddhist teachings and is the most popular in the West. With this type, you pay careful attention to your thoughts, taking note of any patterns. This requires concentration and awareness. This is a good form for anyone meditating on their own.
• Spiritual meditation – this type of meditation is widely used in Eastern religions; it is similar to prayer. With this type, you focus on the silence around you and look for a more intense connection with your God or the universe. This is a good form for those who appreciate silence and are looking for spiritual growth.
• Focused meditation – this type of meditation is exactly as it sounds; it requires you to “focus” on something using any of the five senses. You can try focusing on your breathing, maybe something more physical, like a candle flame or the ticking of a clock. And, again, as the name suggests, this form is good for those looking to increase their focus in life.
• Movement meditation – this type of meditation involves any type of “movement” that brings you peace. It can be as simple as going for a walk or gardening. This is good for those who prefer any type of relaxed action that allows you to let your mind wander.
• Mantra meditation – this type of meditation involves using a repetitive sound, such as the popular “Om”, to help to clear the mind. The volume of the sound is not important. It is the repetition that makes you more alert and aware of your environment. This is a good form for anyone who is not a fan of silence and finds comfort in repetition.
• Transcendental meditation – this type of meditation is the most popular worldwide, and therefore also the most scientifically studied. This form is best for those who like structure and are more serious about meditation.
Whether you choose to adopt a relatively mild form of meditation, where you simply sit quietly and let your mind wander, or a more physical form such as yoga, it doesn’t matter. Meditation can be done in a group or alone; it can be done in a class or on your own. Either way, it does not have to be done all at once to be effective. Taking a meditation break for a few minutes here and there throughout the day can be a big help. Just sit quietly for a few minutes, let your mind and body relax, then get back to your day more refreshed and ready to make a difference. You may see a benefit that will last longer than you expected.