Meditation can be defined as a set of techniques intended to boost a heightened state of awareness and derive focused attention. It can also be described as a consciousness-changing technique that has proven to have immense benefits on the psychological and physical well-being of an individual. There are many different types of meditation that have been practised in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. This article discusses the types, benefits, and importance of meditation.
Here are some types of the exercise that you can practise in your daily life to de-stress :
As the name suggests, focused meditation involves focusing your entire attention on the object of your meditation. This could be your breath or any external force such as a gong that helps anchor your mind. The aim of Focused meditation is to ignore other thoughts that allow your mind to wander. This type of meditation helps you maintain awareness and improves concentration.
Loving-kindness meditation encourages to send goodwill to others and yourself by opening your mind. This method helps direct positive energy to your loved ones and release unhappy feelings that you may harbour. Loving-kindness meditation enables you to relieve anger or frustration while promoting compassion and kindness. To perform this technique, you can simply repeat some positive and reassuring sentences to yourself as you meditate in a relaxed position.
Body Scan is a meditation technique that alleviates tension in your body and makes you relax. It is also known as progressive relaxation where you mentally scan your body for tension and relieve it by loosening the muscles. Body Scan meditation can be performed by visualising a wave moving down your body, focusing your attention on areas of discomfort, stress and pain.
Mindfulness meditation is an exercise based on the principle of being aware and accepting the present moment. This technique encourages increased awareness of your surroundings, instead of dwelling in the past. You simply pay attention to your emotions and thoughts and allow them to pass without getting involved. Practising Mindfulness meditation helps lessen impulsive reactions, negative emotions and improves focus.
Zen meditation, also known as Zazen, is a technique that is part of the Buddhist practice. For this, you need to sit in a comfortable position and focus your attention either by following your breath or by counting. The method urges you to eliminate thoughts from your mind and think about nothing. With Zen meditation, you can control your mind from wandering and become more alert. By honing this technique, you can seek relaxation and gain access to your subconscious mind.
Similar to the method of focusing on your breath, Mantra meditation technique requires you to repeatedly chant a word or a phrase to relax the mind. The continuous chanting while breathing in and out promotes alertness and a peaceful state of mind. Many practitioners find it easier to focus by repeating a word instead of paying attention to your breath.
Transcendental meditation is a method of rising above your present state of mind by repeating a certain word or phrase. Unlike Mantra meditation, the practitioner can choose the series of words they want to chant while meditating. The late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced the Transcendental meditation method from the ancient yoga tradition in India. This technique makes your body relax and helps your mind attain peace, stability, with the absence of any mental boundaries. Practising transcendental meditation improves the quality of life.
To begin Visualisation meditation, you must picture someone or something in your mind to feel relaxed and calm. The object of focus in this method is a mental image where visualising a positive picture gives you an escape from the world, encouraging mindfulness. By practising Visualisation meditation, you can gain inner peace and reduce the stress you feel from everyday chores.
Most meditation techniques involve sitting down in a comfortable position and focusing completely on an object. Whereas, Movement meditation encourages you to carry out a mindful activity, such as walking, to centre your attention. This method also includes yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong that enable you to meditate as the movement guides you. On getting well-versed with Movement meditation, you can do any activity such as gardening, walking, washing up, or any other, involving quiet forms of motions for relaxation.
Meditation begins with sitting down, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. By doing this, you stop your mind from wandering and cultivate the habit of being in the present moment. So, let’s understand how you can easily begin meditating by following these simple steps:
Step 1: Choose a Quiet Place
Pick a spot that is free of distraction and allows you to focus. You can play soothing music to help you meditate.
Step 2: Decide a Time Limit
As a beginner, you can start with a small meditation session consisting of 5 to 10 minutes. You can gradually increase this time limit to find a comfortable amount of time that is effective for you.
Step 3: Sit in a Relaxed Position
You can choose a comfortable position that you can maintain for several minutes. This could involve sitting with your legs crossed, arms resting by your side or in your lap and keeping your back upright.
Step 4: Pay Attention to Your Breath
Focus on your breathing as it goes in and out and try taking deep and slow breaths.
Step 5: Observe Your Thoughts
As you start with meditation, you shall notice your mind wandering after some time. Without engaging with your thoughts and emotions, you can observe them and bring your focus back to your breathing.
Practising meditation in your daily life can have a tremendous impact on your mental as well as physical well-being. Scientific research has proven the power of meditation in alleviating stress, anxiety and gaining inner peace. Take a look at some benefits of meditation:
Helps develop skills to better manage stress and anxiety
Increases mindfulness and self-awareness
Improves sleep and helps control random thoughts racing through one’s mind
Promotes a positive outlook on life and improves emotional health
Improves patience and lessens impulsive reactions
Helps focus on the present moment
Helps control addiction due to increased awareness and willpower
Promotes kindness towards oneself and others
Here are some useful tips to help you inculcate meditation techniques into your daily routine:
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the length of a meditation session. So, it is advised to take your time and understand what suits you best. You can start your first session by meditating for 5 to 10 minutes or less, based on what works for you. Later, you can work your way up and set a time limit that helps you relax and rejuvenate.
Experiment with Time
Many practitioners may recommend an early morning meditation but it can vary from one person to another. Some might find meditating before bed helpful for better sleep while others might prefer to finish it first thing in the morning. You can experiment with the time of the day that suits your schedule and relieves stress.
Choose a Comfortable Position
It is not compulsory to sit crossed-legged on the floor while meditating. Pick a relaxed position that does not distract you and helps focus without any trouble. If sitting on a chair with your arms by your side is the way to go for you, then we highly encourage it!
Use your breath as an anchor and the object of your focus without changing it. You can pay attention to the movement of your breath and how it makes you feel as you breathe in and out.
As a beginner, you may find discomfort in sitting still and feel restless as you meditate. Instead of resisting the negative thoughts or getting caught up in them, let them pass. This method will not only help you perform meditation in a better way but also benefit you in everyday life.
Anyone can experience the power of meditation by carrying out short sessions irrespective of age. Understand the importance of adding meditation to your routine:
Benefits of Meditation for Children
Due to the fast-paced world, children are exposed to various gadgets and advanced technology early in life. They are constantly consuming a lot of information from numerous sources online, be it a game or a social media platform. This led the human attention span to reduce to 8 seconds from 12 seconds in the year 2000, due to the availability of too much information.
One way to help children focus and allow their creativity to flow is by inculcating the habit of meditation. As meditation promotes mindfulness, it can also help children de-stress from increased academic pressures and improve their emotional health.
Benefits of Meditation for Adults
Adding meditation to an already busy life can be worrisome with zero work-life balance for some. With stressful schedules and packed days, sitting down in a quiet place may seem impossible but it is not.
The physical and mental benefits of meditating even for a little while can have a profound impact on your life. Right from helping you sleep well without a million things racing through your head to managing your health, a meditation session can go a long way.
There is enough research available to prove the advantages of meditation for a healthy heart and mind. However, our health begins to deteriorate over time due to age-related ailments. For this, health insurance is a must. By getting sufficient insurance coverage, you can be worry-free about healthcare expenses and get access to the best treatment!