Breathe in… breathe out… Meditation, an age-old practice that can be traced back to ancient times, is known for its profound impact on both physical and mental health. The roots of meditation lie in the spiritual traditions of various cultures, such as Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism. However, it’s not confined to spirituality or religion. Today, people from all different backgrounds incorporate meditation into their daily routines to manage stress, improve concentration, promote relaxation, and enhance overall well-being. But does it actually work?
Meditation has its roots in spiritual traditions and it was meant deepen your connection and understanding of yourself and the forces of life. It would connect you to your higher self or a higher being and reach enlightenment.
However, nowadays modern meditation is meant to relieve you from work or personal stress and focus on what is most important in the present moment. The most popular form of meditation in the modern world is called mindfulness meditation. You pay attention to your breathing and notice if your mind starts wandering to other thoughts. When your mind wanders, you bring your focus back to your breathing and try to focus on remaining in the present moment.
This form of meditation seems boring and very simple to many. But when you start yourself, you notice how many times your mind wanders and starts thinking about things in the past or worries in the future. Meditation takes a lot of time and patience to master, but once mastered you can be mindful about what goes in and out of your mind, which is a great benefit for many people who suffer from overthinking or chronic stress.
The benefits of meditation
Like already mentioned above, meditation is a great exercise for people who suffer from overthinking. It reduces your stress levels, brings you back to the present and grounds yourself. Furthermore it improves your focus and helps you understand yourself and become more aware of your surroundings.
Studies have shown that by doing mindfulness meditation it reduced the inflammation chemicals that are released when being stressed. These inflammation chemicals are the cause of increasing blood pressure, disruptive sleep and anxiety.
Meditation has so many mental benefits, but did you know it also has physical impact on your body? Research has shown that meditation also helps with physical pain. In a study of meditation, it was shown that it help manage pain by altering pain perception in the brain. People who practice meditation regularly are less sensitive to pain and more tolerant. Mindfulness meditation has been used as a supplement to medication for various conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and eating disorders. The mind to body connection is very real!
How to practice mindfulness meditation
So are you interested in practicing mindfulness mediation too? It is a great step to a more conscious and healthy lifestyle and the benefits that you reap from it are undeniably amazing for both your mental and physical health.
When this is your first time practicing mindfulness meditation, you can always use a guided meditation which can be found easily on the internet for free. These guided meditation are easy to follow and most of them are around 5 to 10 minutes long. It is better to start with a short meditation and build it up along the way.
Besides mindfulness meditation, there are many other different forms of meditation. There are passive and active meditations, passive are the ones you are sitting still and active are the ones where you are using your body and move around. Either way, meditation is a lifestyle habit that can benefit everyone, young and old, spiritual and non-spiritual.
So how do you practice mindfulness meditation?
- You start with finding a comfortable spot to sit up straight or to lay down on.
- Close your eyes and start with taking deep breaths in and out.
- Notice your surroundings, listen to the noises outside, in your room, the carpet, bed or chair you are sitting on.
- After that, you can start meditating. Simply breath in and out and try to keep your focus on your breathing.
- The challenge here is to keep focusing on your breathing and not wander off into different thoughts.
- It is okay when you mind wanders and it is very natural and normal in the beginning. When that happens, simply bring your focus back to your breathing.
- After 5 or 10 minutes of focusing on your breathing, you can come back and finish it up. Stop focusing on the breath but keep your eyes closed for a couple of minutes and become aware of your surroundings and your body.
- You can ask yourself: how do you feel now?
- When you are ready, you can open you eyes and start your day with a fresh and calm state of mind.
Good luck on your meditation journey!