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Health Benefits of Meditation

woman meditating during a break

People who practice meditation have known for years that it gives them tremendous benefits for both their physical and mental health and wellbeing. It has now also been proven scientifically that these benefits exist, meaning it really is time for everybody to start meditating. If you feel anxious, worried, stressed or tense, meditation may just be the solution.

Even if you just spend a few minutes a day focusing on meditation for health, you can find inner peace and calmness, getting rid of the negative side effects of stress. It is easy, it is free and it doesn’t require any specialist tools. You can even meditate on the go, in the middle of a meeting or during a sports activity.

What Is Meditation?
Meditation is something that has been done for millennia. It was developed to give people a better understanding of the mystical and sacred forces of life. Now, however, it is mainly a tool for relaxation and reducing stress. It is a complimentary medicine that is holistic: incorporating mind, body and soul. Your mind will be tranquil and you will induce a deep state of relaxation. You learn to stop the constant stream of thoughts that crow your mind, giving you real emotional and physical wellbeing.

Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits of meditation, most of which have now been scientifically proven. Some of these include medical conditions, which is very important. Since scientists have proven that meditation helps, more and more medical practitioners recommend it to patients.
In terms of emotional wellbeing, meditation benefits include:
• Learning how to deal with stress
• Focusing on the now
• Increasing self-awareness
• Reducing negativity

In terms of illness, meditation can reduce or even remove the symptoms of:
• Anxiety disorders
• Allergies
• Binge eating
• Asthma
• Depression
• Cancer
• Heart disease
• Fatigue
• Pain
• High blood pressure
• Substance abuse
• Sleep problems

Types of Meditation
There are many different types of meditation and it is important to try as many as possible to see which one best suits you and gives you the most benefits. Don’t worry about doing things wrong, as there are no rights and wrongs in meditation. Some of the things you could try include:
• Guided meditation, where you follow the instructions of someone else
• Mantra meditation, where you repeat a certain sentence again and again (Ohm mani padme ohm being the most famous one)
• Mindfulness meditation, where you teach yourself to experience everything in the now
• Qi gong, which is a type of exercise
• Tai chi, a martial art
• Transcendental meditation, similar to mantra meditation but deeper, also known as deep meditation
• Yoga, a form of physical exercise

The Different Elements of Meditation
Each of the different types of meditation uses different specific features. However, there are a number of features you are likely to come across again and again. These include:
• Focused attention, concentrating on nothing but the here and now
• Relaxed breathing, through your diaphragm
• Quiet settings, so that you do not get distracted
• Comfortable positions, so you can last as long as you need to

How to Practice Meditation Every Day
It is said that everybody should practice meditation for at least 20 minutes per day, unless you feel you don’t have time to do this. In that case, it would be recommended to meditate for one hour per day. There are many things you can do to reach your 20 minutes (or one hour for that matter), which can be incorporated in your everyday activities, meaning you don’t have to go and sit under a tree in the lotus position. Some ideas include:
• Deep breathing, in through your nose collecting positive energy, out through your mouth expelling negative energy.
• Scanning your body, focusing one part of your body and noticing where you are feeling tense, then breathing that stress away
• Repeating a mantra, which you can create yourself if you do not want to use an existing one
• Meditating whilst walking, using that opportunity to think of nothing but the movement you are experiencing, which is a type of mindfulness meditation
• Engaging in prayer, which is a type of meditation in which you focus your mind on nothing but a higher purpose
• Reading and reflecting, for instance through poetry or songs
• Focusing love and gratitude, which has to do with the laws of attraction (positive thinking attracts positive results)

How to Meditate and Learning the Techniques
Some people fear that their meditation skills aren’t good enough. However, as stated earlier, there are no rights and wrongs. Even those who meditate daily will come across occasions where they find they simply cannot switch off. Rather than getting stressed about that – the opposite goal of meditation – they accept it and move on, just to try again later. It can also be very difficult to stop the constant flow of thoughts, but rather than sitting there forcing yourself to think of nothing, dismiss any thought that comes into your mind, letting it fly by rather than hanging on to it and analyzing the thought itself. As you practice, you will notice that you get better and better at doing it and you will experience more and more of the fantastic benefits meditation offers. Make sure you experiment with the various meditation techniques and try to find a few that work for you, so you always have different options available.

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