Meditation can reduce our stress and calm our thoughts.
Meditation is to our minds what exercising is to our bodies. Just like our bodies benefit from regular fitness exercises, our brain benefits from mental exercises.
Through various techniques that encourage focused attention towards our bodies, meditation helps us stay in the present instead of worrying about the future or making us sad about our past. Various health tips and benefits of meditation are like a detox for our brain. It helps calm our thoughts and reduces our stress levels.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. What works best for you will entirely depend on your lifestyle, energy, and schedule. You might want to try different techniques to find something that works for you and suits you. Here, we are discussing 10 major kinds of effective meditation practices, how they work, and their health tips and benefits:
10 Types of Meditative Practices
Involving various asanas (postural exercises) and yogic breathing techniques, Yoga originated from Hinduism. The meditative form of exercise helps us stretch our joints and our muscles. Various health tips and benefits recommend Yoga for increasing focus, intense concentration, and helping us empty our minds of random thoughts.
2. Mantra Meditation
Also originating from Hinduism and Buddhism, mantra meditation involves chanting simple phrases/mantras like “I am happy” or just “Om” while one is deep breathing. The practice involves observing thoughts that come in and out of their minds without reacting to them while performing mantra meditation.
3. Guided Meditation
This meditative practice requires one to sit still, close their eyes and imagine various situations and places that one will find relaxing. Usually, a teacher or a meditation application guides a person by using certain sounds and smells, like the sound of whales or sea waves or the smell of scented candles or incense sticks. All of this combined helps one achieve a deep meditative state of mind. This is pretty similar to the Japanese meditative practice, Reiki. Reiki also involves guided meditation techniques with a Reiki master. All such guided meditation techniques help us harness the power of our subconscious mind to curb our bodily functions like hormone fluctuations, blood pressure, and anxiety.
3. Tai Chi
A Chinese form of martial arts, Tai Chi, involves various health tips and benefits for us. It includes the performance of a self-paced series of movements and postures in a controlled manner while one also practices deep breathing. Tai Chi helps keep our muscles limber and controls our reaction to stress.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The practice of progressive muscle relaxation is based on an age-old belief that physical relaxation can result in mental relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation involves various methods to alternate relaxation and tension of our body’s muscle groups in a specific order. This form of meditation is often done before one goes to sleep. This is, therefore, especially useful when one has anxiety issues, insomnia, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The meditative technique also helps people with tension headaches, blood pressure, and migraines.
When performing this form of meditation, a mobile app or a guide will prompt you to picture something in your mind. It might be a pleasant memory from your childhood, scenery, or your happy place. By visualizing a positive image and focusing on the same, you can begin to slowly let go of all the stress in your body.
6. Reflective Meditation
Reflective Meditation is a technique that invites a person to ask a question and think deeply about the same. It is one of the best health tips recommended to people with anxiety and irritability syndrome. Questions like “What are you most grateful for?” helps people focus on the positive aspects of their lives and emotions and can drive feelings of gratitude in people.
7. Zen Meditation
Zen meditation is an ancient Buddhist technique that involves sitting in an upright position and observing one’s breath. The way your breath can move in and out of your body is something one needs to focus on instead of any other object. One is encouraged to just “be” and not think of focusing on anything around them or anything else in particular.
8. Movement Meditation
If you often find that sitting in one place can be pretty tedious, movement meditation can help you out! This form of meditation has various health tips and benefits for our daily mental and physical health. Movement meditation practices are helpful for us since they help us connect with our true, inner self. So, everything that we do on a daily basis, like walking alone to gather our thoughts, squishing a stress ball, kneading dough, sitting at a beach listening to the ocean waves crashing on the shore, watching sand sift through our fingers, are practices that are meditative in nature. They help us connect our outer and inner selves and rid us of all the stress.
9. Contemplative Meditation
For some of us, movement meditation alone might not work. For such people, simple activities like gardening, dancing, and writing a journal/diary are powerful tools. They are great meditative practices to help integrate your body and mind. This helps burn off a large amount of nervous mental energy for us.
Health Tips and Benefits of Regular Meditation
- It helps relieve anxiety and stress
- It helps improve work productivity
- Improves one’s outlook on psychosomatic diseases, which tends to flare up because of stress. Examples of such diseases include diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis.
- It helps us cope and uncover any repressed memories and past trauma
- It helps improve our posture
- It helps reduce our muscle aches and muscle tension
- It helps improve our quality of life and sleep
- It helps improve our memory power
- It helps lower your blood pressure and heart rate
Health Tips for Good Meditative Practices
- You must choose a fixed place and time to meditate
- One should select a comfortable and relaxing position that helps you focus better. However, the position should not be such that it makes you fall asleep.
- You should begin your meditation journey with trained experts.
- Some Yoga and Tai Chi postures might not be suitable for you, especially if you are suffering from back issues and arthritis or if you are pregnant.
- Meditation is not a one-stop solution to all problems in your life. Being patient with your journey will go a long way.
- Baby steps are the key here. Small steps in the beginning and gradually increasing the intensity of meditative practices is the way to go.
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