Meditation has taken over the entire world in an unimaginable way. While until a few years back, meditation was seen as something only a particular section of society practised, today it is something seen as a necessity for all. This is especially true when stress has crept into everyone's lives, irrespective of what you do or who you are. Meditation promises to alleviate anxiety and tension. People who practice meditation will tell you how it has changed their lives. While you cannot get rid of stress, regularly practising meditation can help you manage it better. On World Meditation Day, let's explore the various benefits of meditation and a few easy techniques.

Benefits of meditation

1. Meditation lets you focus on the present. It aims to help you focus on the now and here and that this is what matters. 

2. It helps you imbibe skills and methods to manage stress better. This could be a breathing technique or practising mindfulness to focus on the present.

3. People who meditate regularly, experience lesser negative emotions.

4. Meditation also makes you more self-aware since it makes you focus on your breathing, how you feel in a particular part of your body, the thoughts going through your mind, etc.

5. You also start to become more patient and tolerant since you are now getting a grasp of how to respond to situations in a better way.

6. Meditation is also good for your heart health as it lowers the resting heart rate.

7. Similarly, it also helps control your blood pressure.

8. Meditation is a great way to get a good night's sleep. 


5 easy meditation techniques 

If you have been thinking about taking up this life-altering practice but are confused about where to start, don't stress. Meditation has evolved over time and there are a bunch of options you can explore. Here are some of them.

1. Breathing Meditation: This is the most commonly practised form of meditation and one highly recommended for those just venturing into it. It is great for your mind as it helps sharpen it. Research says that breath-focused meditation is linked to attention span and brain health. In this method, you must focus on your breathing in several patterns. When you feel stressed, your breathing often becomes shallow. Deep breathing helps you calm down and be at peace. The ideal method is the 4-7-8 technique. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven and exhale for eight. Repeat 5-7 times.

2. Mindfulness Meditation: Cambridge dictionary describes it as the art of being aware of your mind, body, and thoughts in the present moment. Mindfulness pushes you to focus on the present. As part of this practice, you need to be mindful of everything that is happening around you. The way something smells, how an action makes you feel, how a food tastes and how it feels on your tongue, etc. You can practice mindfulness at any time, during a meal, while working out, while working, etc. You need to set an intention for an act and then focus on that particular aspect.

3. Guided Meditation: This is again best for beginners or those who need help focusing and keeping out unnecessary thoughts while meditating. Guided meditation relies on the power of images and visualisation to help one become self-aware. It takes you on a journey through a physical place or an abstract place and asks you to focus on certain things. Sit in the corner of a quiet room, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a serene setting, such as a beach or a garden. Think about the place and everything you see or hear. 

4. Mantra Meditation: Sounds hold immense power to help us delve inside ourselves. Mantras comprise certain words that can profoundly affect one or more parts of your body. There are special mantras to focus on your heart region, your brain and even your gut. Mantras are sacred sounds that lead to specific psychological states. This practice involves saying or hearing the same mantra over and over. Eventually, your mind begins to block out negative thoughts and you start to feel one with the mantra, even if it is in a language that you do not understand. This technique is good for those looking for focus and clarity.

5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation: As part of this practice, you need to focus on a group of muscles in your body and tighten and loosen them one by one. Start from the head and move down slowly. Identify a group of muscles in one region and tighten them for a few seconds. Then release them slowly. Now move to the next set of muscles and repeat the process. This technique can help you calm down after a long and tiring day. Progressive muscle relaxation is best practised just before bedtime as it calms down your mind and body to help you sleep better.

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