Meditation involves deliberately holding your attention on a subject, object or process, and involves the clearing of the mind. Meditation encompasses a variety of practices that can be somewhat different, while holding to the basic principles of consideration and quiet thought to bring about a state of rumination or reflection. There are various types of meditation including transcendental meditation, prayer, Zen meditation, Taoist meditation, mindfulness meditation, and Buddhist meditation. Some methods of meditation may require the body being absolutely still or to be moved with controlled deliberation, while other types allow for free movement of the body. While the methods are different, the end goal of all types of meditation is to lead to a mind that is quieted and free from stress by the use of quiet contemplation and reflection.
How does it work?
There are a variety of benefits that have been linked with the regular practice of meditation. Meditation can bring about healing of both the body and the mind by using deliberation of thought and consideration. There are various physical benefits that can be experienced when meditation is made to be a part of daily life. Some physical benefits of meditation include a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in breathing due to the increase of air flow that gets to the lungs. Those who use meditation regularly also find that their resting heart rate is lower as well, which takes some of the stress off the heart. Chemicals in the body that are associated with stress are lower as well.
Meditation is a practice that brings about not only physical benefits, but psychological benefits as well. Bringing oneself to a state of rumination through meditation has amazing effects on the psych of a person. Relaxation and a decrease in stress are rather obvious benefits, but many people do not realize that meditation may also improve moods and memory and decrease moodiness and depression.
How is it practiced?
There are many different techniques to choose from. Some examples are:
- Concentrating on the breath – consciously noticing the movement of air in and out of your nose, or counting breaths in various ways
- Grounding and mindfulness – being aware of inner experiences (such as bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts and memories) and simply observing them without judgement
- Emptying your mind – allowing your mind to clear and ‘float’, gently pushing aside any stray thoughts, or allowing thoughts to float in and out of awareness
- Movement – using a physical technique such as yoga, qi gong or tai chi to still your mind by coordinating your breath and body with gentle movement
- Using a mantra – repeating a word or phrase over and over, either aloud or silently, sometimes timed with a breath, to focus your attention and brighten your consciousness