One popular relaxation strategy that you could try within the comfort of your home is meditation. In this article, you will find out about different ways to meditate and find the best one for you.
Living in a fast-paced world with so much societal pressure and expectations on one’s shoulders, it can be really challenging for most people to pause and stay in the present. Our minds are continually preoccupied with the things that are needed to be done without realizing that we are living life in auto-pilot mode. This often results in unwanted physical and psychological illnesses. Since our minds are always full, we forget to be mindful. Fortunately, there are practical and helpful ways to slow down which could help improve one’s mental and physical health.
What is meditation?
Meditation has been widely used to cultivate awareness of the present moment. In a stressful world where our nerves are often numbed, meditation provides time for relaxation and increased consciousness. Furthermore, this practice has the ability to provide people with more than just temporary stress relief according to recent studies. It has been shown to provide a variety of physical and psychological benefits, including tension reduction and improved immune function.
Meditation includes a variety of exercises to improve attention and focus, relate to the body and breath, acknowledge difficult feelings, and even modify awareness. Meditation entails sitting in a comfortable position and emptying your mind, or concentrating on one thought and emptying your mind of all others. You can either concentrate on your breathing, counting, a catchword, a sound such as a bell, or even nothing.
Even though there is no right or wrong way to meditate, it is significant and critical to find a practice that works for you best. If you are a beginner, the best time for meditation would be either in the morning before you start your day, or at night before you go to sleep. It may be beneficial to schedule your practice time each day. After establishing a regular practice, you may discover that you can meditate anywhere, at any time.
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5 Best Ways to Meditate
If you are planning to incorporate meditation into your lifestyle, you can use this comprehensive list as a guide to finding the best way to meditate:
1. Breathing Meditations
One of the best ways to meditate is through mindful breathing. Did you know that a simple breath-focused meditation can offer many cognitive benefits? Some of its benefits are more positive emotions, less emotion dysregulation, increased focus, less restless mind, improved levels of arousal, and many more. This practice simply entails focusing on one’s breath. It is undoubtedly an amazing technique that anyone can learn easily. Breathing strategies help a person to focus on the present time and make breathing an object of focus because each moment you invest choosing to focus on anything positive is one less moment you spend fixating on something negative about your life.
The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique developed by Dr. Andrew Weil
● Begin by completely clearing your lungs
● Inhale for four (4) seconds through your nose. Try to visualize that what you are inhaling is peaceful, soothing air
● Then allot seven (7) seconds to hold your breath
● For eight (8) seconds, exhale steadfastly through your mouth while pursing your lips. Create a picture in your head that you are exhaling all the stress and tension from your mind and body.
This breathing cycle can be repeated up to four times. The goal is to concentrate solely on breathing and try to ignore any other thoughts that arise.
2. Mindful Walking Meditations
Walking meditation is a Zen Buddhist practice in which a person walks around the room with both their hands in ‘shashu’. This means that one hand is closed in a fist behind the back and the other hand closed within the fist. Mindful walking involves taking a step after each full breath is done. The beginning of this practice is made known by ringing a bell twice.
3. Mantra Meditations
Mantra meditations entail repeating a word or phrase, referred to as a mantra, with the goal of obtaining focus or clarity. You can use a simple word such as safe, peace, strength, and love. You may opt to recite the mantra aloud or repeat it quietly. Mantras are used by many cultures such as in Hinduism, but the Buddhist may be the most well-known. Chanting, or reciting a mantra in a monotonous repetitive tone, is an ancient practice that has been carried out for thousands of years. You will be more alert and in tune with your surroundings after chanting the mantra for a while. This allows you to reach increased levels of consciousness and focus. Several people enjoy mantra meditation because it is more convenient for them to focus on a word rather than on their breath while others enjoy the sensation of sound vibration in their bodies.
A mantra is usually repeated for a period of 40 days, but this is not required for beginners. Merely sit in silence and ground yourself while repeating your mantra 108 times to practice mantra meditation.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditations
Progressive Muscle Relaxation, sometimes called body scan meditation, is a very traditional type of meditation that involves the stiffening and loosening of various muscles throughout the body. This entails that people scan their bodies to look for areas of tension.
You may do progressive muscle relaxation by tensing and releasing your large muscles. You have the option to either begin at the top of the head or the bottoms of your feet and throughout your body as a whole. Another form of this meditation is imagining a wave flowing over one’s body to relieve tension.
This type of meditation, especially if done before bedtime, can help you stay calm and relaxed.
5. Loving-Kindness Meditations
Compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward oneself and others are intensified through loving-kindness meditation. It usually requires opening one’s heart to accept loving-kindness from others by breathing deeply and then sending loving-kindness wishes to loved ones such as families and friends, members of the community, and to all living beings. In most forms of this meditation, the key is to repeat the message many times, until the meditator feels an attitude of loving-kindness. Because this meditation is created to encourage compassion and kindness, it may be best suited for those who are feeling extreme resentment or anger.
There is a meditation practice for everyone, whether you want to look for ways to alleviate your stress or even find spiritual awakening. Do not be afraid to venture outside of your usual routine and experiment with different types of meditation. It often takes some trial and error to find the best way to meditate that is a perfect fit for you.
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Written by MC Sanchez