Have you been feeling stressed lately? Like you can’t stay focused and maybe it would be nice if the world just paused for a moment to let you catch your breath?
If so, did you know you can do just that through meditation?
Believed to be practiced as early as 1500 BCE, meditation has since become a worldwide practice to improve health, well-being, concentration, and memory all while working to find inner peace.
People practice meditation for a variety of reasons: to quiet the mind; to open the heart; to build internal energy; to listen deeply; to promote relaxation. And they practice it in a variety of ways too! While the thought of the practice usually conjures up images of old, bearded men sitting in lotus position for hours on end, it can be practiced sitting, kneeling, or even by walking.
Some things to keep in mind to prepare yourself as you begin practicing meditation:
It will teach you just how busy the mind is when you’re trying to concentrate, whether your focus is the breath, body, or your perceptions.
It will also teach you the qualities of attention, care, and self-compassion; before long, you’ll start acknowledging your own needs and taking time out of your hectic days to maintain your overall health and well-being.
One of the simplest positions to meditate in is to come to a seated position where you’re most relaxed and at peace; you can sit cross-legged or with legs extended, using a wall for support or not. Elongate the spine, rest your hands, relax the shoulders, and rest your gaze. From here, there are a few types of meditation you can practice:
Concentrative, which develops your mind’s capacity to remain calm, stabilized, and grounded by focusing your attention on one object, usually a sound, image (like a flame), or your breath.
Guided, many forms of which can be found online. Guided meditation brings you to your meditative state through auditory guidance from a teacher who will elicit certain images, affirmations, states, or imagined experiences.
Mindfulness, which is the combination of concentration and open awareness. Mindfulness teaches us to easily come back to our meditative state by enabling us to focus on one object (as in concentrative meditation) while performing other daily activities.
Meditation for the Mind and Body
Believe it or not, meditation has wonderful health benefits that extend beyond stress relief. Meditation’s been shown to help develop a stronger immune system, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and decrease pain. It also works to build concentration and focus, boost cognitive function, and enhance willpower. These health benefits can greatly help reduce depression and anxiety levels.
Meditation is a great wellness exercise because it’s something that can be done a few minutes each day, right from home. But if meditation at home doesn’t really seem like your thing, check out HealingRadius to find a mediation center near you!
Kat Wiseman is a content writer for Span Enterprises in Rock Hill, SC. She has a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Winthrop University and her RYT 200 from Yoga Alliance. When she's not writing or doing yoga, she enjoys Netflix marathons, mystery novels, and being at the beach.