Meditation is a mental exercise that helps you reach a higher level of awareness. Forms of meditation include deep breathing, repeating a mantra, and mindfulness.
While meditation is very common among Eastern religions, it isn’t inherently religious. It’s simply the act of quieting your mind to reach new levels of awareness.
A growing body of research supports the role of meditation in improving your health. According to Mayo Clinic, studies suggest that meditation can help with symptom management in the following conditions:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Sleep Problems
In addition, meditation is proven to reduce stress, which in turn boosts the immune system.
Types of Meditation
There are a few different types of meditation, which all share the same end result of inner peace and awareness.
Here are some common forms:
- Qi gong is part of Chinese medicine, combining relaxation, breathing exercises, and physical movement.
- Tai chi is a series of slow and focused movements, performed together with deep breathing.
- Guided imagery uses a variety of techniques to create relaxing mental images. You can do this in a guided imagery class or with recorded tracks.
- Mantra meditation uses repetition of a word or phrase to redirect intrusive thoughts.
- Mindfulness involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing and physical sensations.
- Yoga is a series of postures and breathing exercises to calm your mind. Another benefit of yoga is adding flexibility to your body.
The main features of each type of meditation are relaxed breathing, focusing your attention inward, and quieting your mind.
For all exercises, you should find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Get into a comfortable position to get the most benefit out of the exercise.
The main thing is to enjoy yourself. The goal is to relax and release stress, so if you find yourself getting stressed out, you may want to try relaxing another way.