In today’s time, many people have a busy life with work, families, or kids. There is almost no time to relax and be mindful. Some therapists I have worked with have highly recommended meditation to help with stressful day-to-day living. You might be asking what meditation is? Meditation is a term for a wide range of techniques for self-calming. These techniques commonly involve training of attention and awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Let’s break down a few of these techniques.
Focus Meditation is when a person focuses on an object while staying in the present moment. And slowing down their thoughts and breathing. Focus meditation can be on anything like sensory stimuli like sounds, visual items, tactile sensations, tastes, smells, and even your own breathing.
is an active form of meditation where movements guide you into a deeper connection with your body and/or your immediate environment. Movement meditation is good for people who want to develop body awareness. How to do movement meditation is by walking or gardening and being aware of what happens to your body and/or your surroundings.
Visualization is another meditation technique that focuses on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes, images, or figures. Visualization often involves using all five senses to add as much detail as possible. This type of meditation along with movement meditation is often incorporated in Yoga practices. Where you perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. As you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment. The sessions are often finished in visualisation meditation. Where participants are invited to spend a time on focusing on an imagined scenery that is pleasant or peaceful.
In this type of meditation participants are focusing on the meaning of the words as they are silently repeating this a calming word. Thought or phrase to boost their emotional wellbeing and prevent distracting, negative thoughts.
Mindfulness is yet another meditation technique. Although many prefer to perceive it as being a standalone practice. Postulating that meditation is more formal than mindfulness. Since people who practice it, usually do it in a special environment, wearing meditation clothes. So it is a more formalised process. Whilst mindfulness can practiced anytime and anywhere.
Like with other types of meditation, mindfulness teaches us to refocus from racing thoughts. This is achieved by letting go of negativity. And calm both our mind and body by using our senses to refocus our attention on breathing, object, feeling, and sound smell or sensation to increase self-awareness. When we tune into our chosen object of attention. We are contemplating it from the point of observer without attempting to control anything. Mindfulness is defined by being fully focused on “the present” which lets us observe and accept our thoughts, feelings, and sensations without any judgment.
In a mindful state we are able to notice how our thoughts are coming and going as we are able to retune from them back to the object of our attention. Mindfulness meditation may involve an awareness of breath and sensations in the body and mind as well as thoughts, feelings, movements, and behaviours. It may also involve an awareness of the immediate environment that surrounds us.
HOW DOES MEDITATION AFFECT THE BRAIN?
Meditation changes the way your brain responds to certain things and is found to decreasein the volume of the amygdala. Which is the part of the brain that responsible to emotions such as stress, fear, and anxiety. Overtime you will feel it help with to relieve stress and improve memory and attention. Meditation also improves everyday focus and clarity. It also gives sense of more creativity and more compassion.
Ways to know, if meditation is working for you is that you notice small little changes as you go on to practice it. These little things could become more aware of your bod. And you’ll notice when you’re in a bad mood and be able to just drop it, Things that used to irritate you no longer irritate you.
WHAT HEALTH CONDITIONS BENEFIT FROM MEDITATION?
Many people found that meditation can be helpful as asupportive strategy for the management of a wide range of mental health conditions. Including stress, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Other health conditions which may also benefit from meditation are asthma, chronic pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep problems and tension headaches. People with a diagnosis of cancer and other serious health conditions also often use meditation as a way to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety related to the diagnosis of serious, terminal illness.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION / SUMMARY
- Meditation can help us to improve ourmemory
- It is likely to enhance ourattention and the ability to maintain focus for longer periods of time
- It may supportus on focusing on our goals and aspirations
- Assists in regulating our automatic bodily responses, hence supporting our overall health. Examples include lowering our heart rate and slowing our breathing rate, etc.
- It assists people to better manage chronic pain and a wide range of other physical and mental health conditions.
- It benefits emotional regulation, which we learn to respond to internal feelings. For example,meditation helps to reduce stress, anger, anxiety and depression.
- Many people report feeling less bothered by disturbance e.g. like a loud car alarm or the sounds of people arguing.
- Meditation helps people to regain a sense of control over their body and mind
- It helps us to refocus on self-care and enhances our creativity
- It enhances our general health and wellbeing.
HOW TO PRACTISE MEDITATION?
To started, all you need is a comfortable place to sit. Three to five minutes of free time, and a judgment-free mindset. Also a few other things to consider when you start is a timer with a gentle alarm. Which can help you focus on meditation and helps you forget about time. This also eliminates any excuses you have for stopping and doing something else.
Once you have this in place, become aware of your breath, attuning to the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall as the air enters your nostrils and leaves your nostrils. When thoughts come up in your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them. Simply note them, remain calm, and use your breathing as an anchor. Give Yourself a Break.
If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts observe where your mind went, without judgment, and just return to your breathing.
This blog was written by Krystal / Health to Lifestyle Coach; H-L Therapy