The practice of meditation has been around for at least 5,000 years. From ancient Hindu priests and Buddhist monks to contemporary CEOs of multi-million dollar companies, meditation has been used to enhance a sense of inner peace, reduce stress and increase one’s overall sense of well-being. Meditation got its humble start as a way to increase spirituality and deepen religious beliefs. However, today it is used for a variety of different reasons and can be practiced by anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. And many swear by its life-changing benefits. Meditation, in simplest terms, is a state of deep relaxation in which your attention is very focused and the chatter of your mind is eliminated. While many assume it is part of prayer or a type of religious practice, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with either. It is often regarded it as a state of heightened consciousness, awareness or mindfulness. The goal is usually a deep sense of serenity, inner peace and clam. While there are many ways to meditate, there are several elements which are essential to most types of meditation. These are:
- Slow, deep breathing
- Focused attention – this may be on such things as a mantra, your breath, a repetitive movement, a mental image, a physical object. When you are new to meditation, you may find it difficult to focus your attention. Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated, just gently remind yourself to focus again whenever your mind begins to wander.
- A quiet place – While this is preferred as it enables you to empty and quiet your mind, with experience you may be able to meditate regardless of where you are.
- Physically comfortable position – while many people sit while meditating, you can also meditation while walking, doing a yoga pose, kneeling in prayer, etc. Regardless, it is important that your body is comfortable so you are not distracted by physical discomfort.
Meditation has multiple benefits, which is one of the reasons why many people who practice it swear by it. Not only can it create a wonderful sense of tranquility while you are doing it, the benefits of meditation don’t cease the moment you end your meditation session. Meditation can improve your life in many ways – emotionally, mentally, and physically. Following are some of the many wonderful benefits of meditation:
- Stress reduction
- Increase sense of calm
- Increase perspective
- Enhance problem-solving ability
- Decrease negative thoughts and feelings
- Increase self-awareness
- Enhance sense of inner peace
- Happier outlook on life
- Decrease in anxiety and worry
- Decrease in depressed feelings
- Improve creativity
- Increase self-discipline
- Greater self-confidence