Meditation is a type of mind-body medicine which has been practiced for thousands of years. It helps you focus and channel your mind by minimising random thoughts. It can help restore calmness and inner peace by instilling a sense of relaxation and tranquillity. Meditation can improve both your emotional well-being and your overall physical health!
Various Types of Meditation
Meditation is a broad term used to describe various practices to achieve a relaxed state of being. With all the different variations, it would be fair to say that there’s something for everyone:
1.Concentration Meditation: teaches you how to focus your mind and is perceived to be the foundation for other forms of meditation.
2.Guided Meditation: As the name suggests, in this form of meditation, you follow a guide who leads you through the meditation – it generally involves the forming of mental images of relaxing places or situations.
3.Mantra Meditation: involves repeating a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts.
4.Mindfulness Meditation: is based on being mindful or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment by broadening your conscious awareness. It encourages you to be fully aware of your surroundings and to accept living in the present, to enable you to achieve a state of calm.
5.Yoga/ Tai chi/ Qigong: They are moving forms of meditation which combine physical exercise with breathing exercises and focus.
There is also Transcendental Meditation, Heart-centred meditation, and Walking meditation.
Meditation is simple, inexpensive and you do not need any equipment for it! You can practice mediation anywhere, and all you need to practice it, is a few minutes of your day.
Emotional Benefits of Meditation
Practicing meditation is helpful in conditions that are triggered by stress. Meditation will aid you in relaxation, concentration, and overcoming fatigue. Meditation can also benefit you emotionally by allowing you to:
1.Gain new perspectives on stressful situations
2.Manage your stress
4.Focus on the present
5.Reduce negative emotions
6.Increase imagination and creativity
7.Increase patience and tolerance
Benefits of Meditation for Medical Conditions
Meditation can also be useful in medical conditions, especially those worsened by stress. Research suggests that meditation may help you manage symptoms for various illnesses such as:
1.Cancer: Meditation may help relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, sleep disturbances and uplift the general mood, thus improving the quality of life of people suffering from cancer symptoms and treatment side-effects.
2.High Blood Pressure: Scientific evidence suggests that Transcendental Meditation may be used as complementary therapy along with standard treatment to lower blood pressure.
3.Menopausal Symptoms: Yoga, Tai chi, and other meditation-based programs may help in lessening common menopausal symptoms such as stress, muscle and joint pain, sleep and mood disturbances and the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
4.Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Regular meditation practice can help reduce the severity of symptoms of IBS patients.
5.Anxiety/Depression: Mindful meditation is known to help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
6.Heart Disease: Calming your mind by practicing meditation can improve heart health and may help lower the risk of heart disease.
7.Asthma: Research provides some evidence that meditation is beneficial in improving quality of life in asthmatic patients.
8.Sleep Problems: Mindfulness meditation helps improve sleep.
Meditation has a long history of facilitating psychological balance and enhancing the overall health and well-being of a person. Don’t be discouraged if you have never practiced meditation before. Meditation is not a skill, it is a practice, and anybody can do it. Slowly but surely you will start to see its benefits. Get started today!
Reviewed by- Dr. N. Nayak, MBBS, MD