Meditation has been used in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. It can be defined as a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a higher level of awareness and focused attention. It is often used for religious purposes and it can be found in nearly every religion including Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism. But as it has been proven to have many benefits on our psychological well-being it is commonly used as a psychotherapeutic technique as well.
So, what benefits does meditation have?
It controls stress and even reduces anxiety levels. It promotes emotional health, as some techniques lead to a more optimistic outlook on life and an improved self-image. Meditation also enhances self- awareness by helping you get a deeper and greater understanding of yourself. Several types of meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention. The improved focus you can gain through regularly practicing meditation can boost your mental clarity and memory. Meditation increases positivity, empathy, and compassionate behaviour toward others. If you are having trouble with falling asleep, meditation can help increase the quality of your sleep, as well as shorten the time it takes you to fall asleep.
It can also improve our physical health by reducing strain on our heart and reducing the risk of a heart disease. By meditating we can also control pain, because our perception of pain is connected to our state of mind. It has been proven that meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain when compared to non-meditators.
There are many different types and techniques of meditation, but we can roughly divide it into two categories.
The first type is called concentrative meditation. It involves focusing all your attention on a specific object while tuning out everything else surrounding you. The goal is to really experience what you are focusing on, whether it is your breath, a specific word, or a mantra to achieve a higher state of being.
The second type is mindfulness meditation, which also includes mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. It can target different issues, such as anxiety, depression, etc. That means it can be different from practice to practice.
Today the internet is full of useful tips on meditation, you can even find videos of guided meditations or download different apps that help you with meditating. Considering all that, meditation should not be a difficult habit to take on.