Tips for Thought

The Healing Benefits of Meditation: How Meditation Can Improve Your Life

We live in a fast-paced society where everything must be created, submitted, or delivered immediately. With countless innovations and constant updates in our inventions, it’s easy to get swept away into the hustle and bustle of it all.

For some, this fast-paced lifestyle can be a burden. After all, humans aren’t built to automate every aspect of their lives, no matter how resourceful and innovative they are. This additional stress can leave many feeling stressed, cynical, and hopeless.

One way to help ease the pressures that a fast-paced life brings is meditation.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is an age-old practice where thousands of practitioners aim to deepen their understanding of various mystical forces of life. Many people from different religions and spiritual beliefs utilize meditation by sharing similar principles.

Nowadays, meditation is a commonly used tactic for relaxation and stress reduction. This practice also has different types, where anyone can practice in a safe place.

What Are the Types of Meditation?

There are different types of meditation available. While the principles and goals are similar, the techniques vary. Some of the most common ones include the following:

1. Mindfulness Meditation.

Mindful meditation involves being fully present at the moment. Mindfulness is necessary because grounding ourselves in the present helps pull us back from distractions.

For this type of meditation, we must be aware of our surroundings and actions while being unreactive to the things happening around us.

Mindful meditation is practical because it can be done anywhere peaceful. However, most people prefer doing this after waking up to start their day with a clear mind.

Mindful Meditation Steps:

To practice effective mindful meditation, do the following steps:

1. Find a peaceful and relaxing time to meditate.

2. Sit comfortably with your back straight.

3. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands in your lap.

4. Breathe through your nose. Close your eyes and shift your focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. If you notice any thoughts or sensations interrupting you, note the experience but return to focusing on your breath.

5. Suspend all judgments.  You are not your thoughts. Once you feel ready to get back to the present, slowly open your eyes and stretch your limbs.

2. Transcendental Meditation.

Transcendental meditation is a technique where users repeatedly repeat a phrase or word until they reach a state of inner peace.

This word or phrase is called a “mantra.” As you repeat the mantra, you’ll notice your body settling down into a state of restful alertness. This state means you are wide awake while your body is relaxed and your mind is quiet. This meditation is helpful because it helps reduce blood pressure and settles your mind until you transcend into a state of pure consciousness.

Transcendental Meditation Steps:

To practice effective transcendental meditation, do the following steps:

1. Sit comfortably. You can sit on a chair or the floor.

2. Place your hands in your lap.

3. Close your eyes for a few seconds and extend that to a minute.

4. Take a few deep breaths and relax your body.  Throughout the session, your eyes should remain closed for the 15–20-minute duration.

5. Recite the mantra in your mind. It can be any phrase or word that helps bring positive vibrations into your daily life. If you need to know which mantra to pick, here is a list of popular mantras used during meditation.

6. Focus on the mantra. If your concentration is slipping away, move back to the mantra and focus on it.

7. Slowly open your eyes after the session.  Sit for a few minutes until you’re ready to get up.

3. Guided Meditation.

Guided meditation, also known as guided imagery or visualization, is a different method of meditation where practitioners form mental pictures or situations. Many of these images are usually relaxing, which aims to help the person focus and collect themselves.

Typically, guided meditations are led by a guide or teacher. This type of meditation engages multiple senses to evoke calmness.

Guided Meditation Steps:

The great thing about guided meditation is that you’ll have someone to help “guide” you through the process.

However, suppose you’re unable to find a teacher. In that case, you can look for online resources like YouTube channels, podcasts, mindfulness websites, and apps.

Once you’ve found the right guided meditation, ensure you’re in a calm and peaceful environment. You can even light some incense or scented candles to your liking; just be careful of the fire hazards!

Physical Benefits of Meditation:

Meditation has been an age-old practice for centuries. Since then, its effects on the mind and body have been studied by experts everywhere.

Some of its physical benefits include the following:

  • Reduces physical symptoms of anxiety and stress;
  • Improves blood pressure
  • Improves focus and memory;
  • Improves sleep quality;
  • Improve productivity;
  • Aids in pain management;
  • Reduces risk of certain diseases; and
  • Reduces the severity of current health problems

Mental Benefits of Meditation:

Meditating also brings some mental health benefits. Some of them include the following:

  • Reduces psychological symptoms of anxiety and stress;
  • Improves self-esteem;
  • Increases awareness;
  • Increases patience and tolerance;
  • Increases imagination and creativity;
  • Increase feelings of empowerment and enlightenment;
  • Reduces negative emotions; and
  • Provides new perspective for problem-solving in stressful situations

Takeaway: Meditation is an age-old practice with multiple physical and psychological benefits. It also addresses spiritual needs by offering guidance, perspective, and mindfulness. When we take the time to meditate, we’ll find that we have the power to change our mindset and, ultimately, how we react to life’s obstacles. While meditation has spiritual roots, anyone can benefit from making it a habit.

Considering there are so many meditation types, it helps to experiment with each one and stick to the one that best suits you.

Nevertheless, while meditation certainly has its benefits, it should always be used with other treatment options like medication and counseling. Once you’ve prioritized giving yourself a holistic care plan, you’ll feel empowered as you take charge of your health. However, anyone can practice meditation regardless of age and health issues.