All around us, people are worried, disturbed, anxious, and stressed out about a variety of issues like jobs, relationships, children, and their future. They go about their life with the world’s burdens weighing them down. The stress and strain of modern living affects their mental balance and physical health. Medical professionals are concerned about the epidemic of stress that is silently taking a toll on millions of apparently healthy people.
Is there a remedy for this global problem?
An ancient art form, meditation, is useful as a contemporary relaxation technique and is among the best stress busters available today. A simple yet powerful way to free the mind of harmful mental pressures, meditation doesn’t require expensive equipment or aids.
Once you learn simple methods of relaxing your mind, you can meditate anywhere – on a bus, while waiting in queue at the supermarket, in an airport lounge, or even in a high pressure meeting. All you need to do is close your eyes, breathe deeply and focus your mind on a calming word. It works wonders and helps you to apply your mental faculties on things that matter, tuning out distractions.
Our forefathers have used these techniques for centuries, to attain greater spiritual heights. They probed the meaning of life and our purpose on earth through meditation. Even if you are not spiritually inclined, meditation can be your aid to a balanced and composed life. As you meditate, your body and mind reach a state of tranquility which helps you focus on important things. Jumbled thoughts, pulls and pressures on your mind, and mental restlessness slowly seep away, leaving you in a state of physical and mental well-being. Information overload, the curse of modern humanity, can be managed through the practice of meditation.
How Does Meditation Help?
As you start meditating, you’ll gain a sense of deep calm in your day-to-day dealings. You won’t feel stressed out by minor irritations. The benefits of meditation last far beyond the 30 minute sessions, often continuing throughout the day.
Meditation helps you gain a new perspective on life. Previously stressful situations no longer seem forbidding. You gain skills to manage annoyance and stress better. You become aware of your inner strength. You can focus on the present. The negative feelings and energy-sapping thoughts are gradually driven away and eliminated.
Health benefits of meditation cannot be measured scientifically, but people suffering from severe or chronic illnesses have experienced relief from conditions like allergies, asthma, anxiety, overeating, cancer, depression, and chronic pain. Meditation may not be a cure or a replacement for medical treatment, but it can be a useful aid in tackling many medical problems.
Different Types of Meditation
Meditation is way to reach a calm, relaxed state of mind. You can achieve this state by using different styles and techniques of meditation. The method you follow is a personal choice and must help you towards the final goal of reaching a serene state.
- Meditation through chanting of mantras- In this method you reach a calm state by silently repeating a word, phrase, or thought. Constant repetition keeps your mind from getting distracted.
- Meditation through visualization- Try and imagine places and images that have relaxed you in the past. Then use all your senses to reproduce that imagery in your imagination.
- Meditation through mindfulness - In this technique, you are fully aware and mindful of all thoughts going through your mind. You are in a state of increased awareness and acceptance. Focus on living in the moment and your experience during the meditation process. As you meditate and the thoughts and emotions swirl in your head, let them pass through without passing judgement on any.
- Yoga - This is a gentle form of exercise that increases flexibility of your body. You go through a series of postures that require balance and concentration. As you stretch and hold different yoga poses, you are taught to focus on muscles that are being stretched. These elements force you to concentrate on your mind and body and less on your busy day. This automatically calms your mind while removing the stress from your body.
- Tai chi- In this ancient and gentle Chinese martial arts form, you perform a series of calming, slow-paced movements that are gentle and graceful. All the while, you focus your attention on deep breathing.
There are other forms of meditation including transcendental meditation and qi gong. Choose a form that suits you. In all the meditation techniques, there are some basics common elements. While meditating you need to:
- focus your attention on an image, prayer, mantra, word, object or your breathing
- concentrate on breathing deeply, and in a relaxed manner, using the muscles of your diaphragm and slowing down your breathing to take in more oxygen
- choose a setting free from distractions and noise, especially if you’re a beginner
- find a comfortable position - sitting, lying down, standing or even walking.
There are no right or wrong ways to meditate. Use a technique or method that works for you. Combine elements from different techniques or make up on your own. What matters is to relax and calm your body and mind. As you practice meditation you will get better at it.
Even if your mind wanders, don’t stress or panic about it. It happens to everyone, even those who have been meditating for years. The trick is to get your mind to focus on whatever you are using for concentration.
By Sharon Page; All Rights Reserved @2013