â€œMeditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit.â€ â€“ Jeremy TaylorThe popularity of the practice ofÂ meditationÂ is increasing day-by-day as more and more people are discovering the benefits of this powerful practice. Meditation is a practice where we train our attention and awareness and achieve a state of mental clarity and emotional calm and stability. We do this by using techniques such as mindfulness or focusing our mind on a particular object, activity, or thought.Â The practice of meditation has a huge history of being present as a tradition in various cultures around the world. In the earliest records of meditation, the practice was believed to be a part of the path to enlightenment and self-realization. Over the last few decades, extensive research has been done on meditation and its techniques. Meditation has found its application in non-spiritual contexts such as business and health and is widely undertaken as a practice for mindfulness to create a sense of calm and inner harmony. With the busy schedules and demanding lives that we lead today, there is a greater need to reduce stress, which is increasing the popularity of meditation far and wide.While there is no right or wrong way to practice meditation and mindfulness, finding a practice that complements your personality and meets your needs is vital. There are variousÂ types of meditationÂ practices, including:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Focused meditation
- Movement meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Transcendental meditation
Some other types of meditation practices may include some pleasant and softÂ meditation musicÂ into practice. Music is another powerful tool for relaxation and aids in deepening meditation practice. It also works very well for people who find practicing meditation difficult or frustrating.TheÂ benefits of meditationÂ practice are innumerable. Here a few such benefits of inculcating meditation in your everyday routine.
- Reduces stress
The most common reason people try meditation is for reducing their stress. Physical and mental stress causes increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This produces several harmful effects like releasing inflammation-promoting chemicals known as cytokines. Studies suggest thatÂ stress reduction meditationÂ practices reduce the inflammation response caused by stress. It also improves stress-related health conditions and problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.
- Controls anxiety
Less amount of stress translates to less anxiety experienced. Studies suggest that mindfulness practices such asÂ yoga and meditationÂ reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, paranoid thoughts, and panic attacks. It can also help in controlling work-related anxiety in high-pressure environments.
- Promotes emotional health
Some forms of meditation can also help in improving self-image and adopting a more positive outlook on life. Controlled studies comparing electrical activity between the brains of people who practiced meditation and mindfulness and the brains of others who did not have shown that those who meditated exhibited measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism.Â
- Enhances self-awareness
Certain forms of meditation can help in developing a stronger understanding of the self, helping a person in growing into the best version of themselves. Self-inquiry meditation is a good example. It aims to help a person develop a greater understanding of themselves and how they relate to the people around them. Other forms of meditation teach us to recognize our thoughts which may be self-defeating and harmful. It helps us gain greater awareness of our thoughts and habits.
- Lengthens attention span
Focus meditation practices are a great exercise for our attention span. They help in increasing the strength and endurance of our attention. Studies show that human resource workers who practiced meditation regularly stayed focused for a longer time on a task. Some studies also suggest that meditation may even reverse the patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, poor attention, and worrying.
- Makes us kinder and more compassionate
Meditation may increase our positive thoughts and feelings towards ourselves and others. Through practice, we learn to develop kind thoughts and feelings towards ourselves and then to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally to our friends, acquaintances, and enemies.Â
- Improves sleep
Regularly practicing meditation may help us in controlling or redirecting the racing thoughts that often lead to insomnia. Meditation can help in relaxing the body and mind, releasing any tension, and placing us in a peaceful state where we are more likely to sleep.Other significant benefits ofÂ mindfulness meditationÂ include reducing age-related memory loss, lowering blood pressure, helps in controlling pain, and may even help in fighting addictions. Even with all these benefits, the practice of meditation can be intimidating for a lot of people. Let me take you through a guide onÂ how to do meditation.
- Find a suitable place of your choice in a quiet and peaceful environment to do your meditation practice. The place should be devoid of any distractions. If you choose to play some music, it is suggested to play something that has a slow tempo and is soothing to you.
- Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes and are covering yourself up if practicing in a cool place to avoid any distractions during the practice.
- Get down on a cushion or blanket. Come into a cross-legged seat or any posture of your choice that allows you to sit with a balanced, tall, and straight posture and a straight spine.
- Now close your eyes and gently start focusing on your breath.Â
- Slowly start deepening your breath by taking longer inhales and exhales. Try to breathe into your diaphragm by drawing the breath down to your belly and then gently exhaling it.Â
- Keep focusing on your breath and the movement of air inside your body.
- Notice any thoughts that might come up. It is completely alright to have thoughts crop up into your brain.
- Acknowledge any thoughts that come up and gently let those thoughts go and bring your attention back to your breath.
- Keep bringing your attention back to your breath every time a thought comes to your mind and then breathe with intention.
You can begin by practicingÂ 5 minute meditationÂ exercises initially. And then slowly increase the length of your practice as you settle in. It is important to understand that when it comes to meditation, consistency is the key. Doing short meditation practices consistently is going to help you and give you more, long-term benefits than practicing for long hours inconsistently.Â The goal of meditation is not to magically wipe your mind clear of the countless and endless that constantly erupt in our brain. The practice of meditation works on practicing to bring our attention to our breath, and then constantly bringing our attention back to our breath every time we notice our attention has wandered somewhere. It is choosing what we would like to focus on.There is no reason to not go ahead and get on the mindfulness wagon and find a mindful minute for ourselves every day.Â Cult.fit is your prime healthcare provider that provides consultations, and health check-ups related to a variety of health conditions and diseases. Cult.fit operates with the best team of specialty doctors and medical and lifestyle coaches, providing the highest quality care to all patients.Â