Experience with meditation is a journey, and it often takes time to perfect it. It is absolutely normal to not experience immediate pain relief and tranquility after one session, but turning your meditation sessions into a habit and practicing a variety of techniques will eventually get you to a place of calm and comfort.
By: Elizabeth Rivera
Since I first learned about meditation in a stress management course in college years ago, my life has completely changed for the better. I am happier, less stressed, have a better relationship with myself and others, and have a much stronger appreciation for the world around me. While I began my journey by meditating every day, I find myself only having time to meditate about once a week now, and that’s just enough to make a huge difference in my life.
What is meditation?
Meditation is an ancient tradition that continues to be practiced all over the world today. It is not specifically a religious practice, but rather the practice of focusing on your breathing, grounding yourself, and becoming mindful of your surroundings.
What are the health benefits of meditation?
Meditation can boost your mood, according to a study, reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, and even chronic pain. It can improve your attention and focus and lower your stress. There is evidence that meditation can also reduce inflammation, which can limit risk of a variety of deadly health concerns like heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and kidney disease. Meditation can prevent premature aging and getting infected with a cold by strengthening the immune system.
What types of meditation are there?
There are nine types of meditation. To find out which ones may be right for you, read the descriptions below:
- Mindfulness meditation: Meditating to understand patterns in thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
- Spiritual meditation: Meditating for spiritual or religious connection, often with the use of essential oils or incense.
- Focused meditation: Good for learning how to focus on your senses and practicing to prevent your mind wandering.
- Movement meditation: Meditation that allows your thoughts to wander while you are physically moving, often doing an activity such as gardening or jogging.
- Mantra meditation: Meditation for people who don’t feel comfortable in silence and who want to focus their energy on repeating one specific word or phrase.
- Transcendental meditation: For the more determined meditators who prefer structure and silence, and repeat a specific mantra in their thoughts relevant to the practitioner.
- Progressive relaxation: Good for people who wish to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, who heavily focus on bodily sensations by tightening their muscles individually or in sections and then letting them loosen.
- Loving-kindness meditation: Involving opening the mind to releasing and receiving feelings of love and compassion to and from others, good for those with strained relationships.
- Visualization meditation: Visualizing or staring at comfortable scenery and attempting to place yourself in the environment in which you are looking at, and practicing to experience all your senses in those surroundings.
How do I begin practicing meditation?
Firstly, figure out which meditation is right for you. You may find that you would like to experience multiple different types of meditation and that’s great too. There are plenty of meditation classes, guided videos on Youtube, and even ways you can start practicing on your own at home to get started. Some therapists like to use meditation in their practice as well, so don’t be afraid to ask your counselor if you are curious about it. Remember that your experience with meditation is a journey, and it often takes time to perfect it. It is absolutely normal to not experience immediate pain relief and tranquility after one session, but turning your meditation sessions into a habit and practicing a variety of techniques will eventually get you to a place of calm and comfort.