Meditation 101

Meditation has been around for centuries but continues to gain popularity as more praise of meditation benefits in the health and wellness community appear. 

Meditation is the process of learning how to train your mind to focus as well as redirect your thoughts. It offers a way to increase awareness of yourself as well as your surroundings. It supports stress relief, a reduction in inflammation, and support to many illnesses throughout your body. If you’re searching for incredible natural remedies for your health or wellness concerns, meditation may be for you. Let's discover some of the fantastic benefits it has to offer and how you can get started on your journey.

Learning how to meditate takes patience and practice, like any other skill. It's essential to be consistent in your efforts to achieve the most benefits. So, what are some of the significant meditation benefits that people are raving about?

A World of Meditation Benefits

While some people turn to meditation to relax, others are searching for powerful healing meditation benefits. There is no right or wrong reason, be it stress relief or heart health. Some unique meditation benefits include:

  •       Lower heart rate
  •       Lower blood pressure
  •       Improvements to blood circulation
  •       Slows respiratory rate
  •       Supports stress relief and lowers anxiety levels
  •       Lowers blood cortisol levels
  •       Supports wellbeing
  •       Supports sleep

Let's take a more in-depth look into some of the more common meditation benefits people are seeking:

Meditation for Stress Relief

Stress relief may be one of the top reasons people turn to meditation. Meditation benefits for stress relief include both mental and physical healing. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, increases the likelihood of various illnesses, disease, and mental health concerns. Without stress relief measures, high cortisol levels can promote an influx of inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation-producing chemicals are known as cytokines, and can wreak havoc on:

  •   Healthy sleeping patterns
  •   Energy levels
  •   Cognitive processes

Meditation benefits for stress relief can help clear brain fog, battle chronic fatigue, and boost your mood. One eight-week study reports stress inflammation reduction by implementing mindfulness meditation. Stress relief from meditation benefits may also support the healing of fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Helps Control Anxiety

Stress relief directly relates to less anxiety, adding to the long list of incredible meditation benefits. Meditation helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders, including:

  •       Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  •       Phobias
  •       Social anxiety
  •       Panic attacks
  •       Paranoid thoughts

Yoga helps provide stress relief and meditation benefits to help significantly reduce anxiety levels. So, if you’re experiencing additional anxiety at work, socially, or due to health concerns, meditation may provide the stress relief you are looking for.

Meditation Promotes and Supports Emotional Health

Meditation benefits may also increase your self-image while supporting a more positive outlook on your life. Through various meditating techniques, a reduction in stress and depression levels were of significance, including long-term relief reports.

For those of you wondering how meditation benefits self-image in such a tremendous way, think of it in terms of what we know about inflammation throughout the body. We release cytokines in response to our stress levels, affecting our mood, and leading many of us to depression. But studies have shown the adoption of various meditating techniques has shown significant reductions in depression by decreasing the harmful inflammatory chemicals. Ultimately, we see a boost in spirits, self-image, self-worth, and outlook on life. We become more positive and optimistic through these meditation benefits.

Enhance Your Self-Awareness through Meditation

Along the same lines, meditation benefits include a variety of meditating techniques that may help you appreciate yourself, understand yourself, and strive to be better. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love these improvements? Through self-inquiry meditation, you can learn to develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you may be able to relate to the people around you. Other meditating techniques teach you how to recognize harmful thoughts and how you can change these thought processes.

Improves Attention Span

Focused attention meditation is a meditating technique that supports improvements in your attention span. Sounds pretty intriguing, right? Think of it as a mini workout for your brain. This meditating technique can help increase stress relief and the endurance and strength of your attention, keeping your focus in tune with tasks at hand for a longer period of time. It even reduces daydreaming and mind-wandering at inopportune times, worry, and brain fog. Studies have shown that you may experience the meditation benefits of improving attention span after your first several days! You’re pulling out that yoga mat now, aren’t you?
 

Medication can Assist in Reduction in Age-Related Memory Loss

Meditation benefits may also include improvements in cognitive thinking, clarity of thought, keeping your mind healthy and young.

Kirtan Kriya, a meditating technique that combines a mantra, practices a repetitive motion with your fingers to help focus your thoughts. It has shown improvements in:

  •       Attention
  •       Mental quickness
  •       Memory
  •       Coping skills 

Improves Sleep

Are you one of the millions who suffer from insomnia or have at one point? It's a horrible struggle that affects all aspects of our health and lives. Through stress relief, you may achieve better sleep, making meditation an ideal choice. One significant meditation benefit is sleep improvement. Various meditating techniques support falling asleep more easily, staying asleep longer, and experiencing more restful sleep.

While racing thoughts and the inability to turn off thoughts are often a complaint, many studies found that participants were able to control or significantly reduce these issues through meditating techniques. It helps the body and mind relax, provides stress relief, and removes tension so you may rest more comfortably. Great news for many of us searching for remedies!

Decrease Blood Pressure through Meditation

Meditation benefits include reducing strain on your heart, supporting your health. This may also be in relation to stress relief from meditation techniques you commit to.

High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder when pumping blood, leading to poor heart function. Meditation seems to help control your blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate your heart function. It also relieves the tension in your blood vessels and your "fight-or-flight" response that tends to increase in stressful situations. As always, talk with your healthcare provider if you are considering meditation for heart health concerns.

Meditating Techniques

There is a variety of meditating techniques to try, and experimenting is strongly encouraged. Not all meditating techniques suit everyone equally, so it's vital you find the right fit for your goals and needs. While all techniques can help with stress relief, one may be more effective for you than others.

Meditate Anywhere

One highlight is the ability to practice different forms of meditation anywhere with ease. Time, space, and level depend on your comfort level and what you are hoping to accomplish.

If you are just starting out, choose a meditation technique according to your goals.

There are two major styles of meditation: 

Focused-attention meditation:

This meditating technique puts attention on one single object, thought, or sound. It emphasizes getting rid of your distractions. You’ll learn to focus on breathing, using a chant or calming sound. It's terrific to achieve stress relief.

Open-monitoring meditation:

This technique encourages you to broaden your awareness of your environment. You’ll focus on your sense of self, your thoughts, impulses, or those feelings you usually suppress. Stress relief is also an enormous benefit.

The Many Ways to Meditate

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation allows you to be fully present with your feelings and thoughts. Being mindful helps you become aware of where you are and what you do. Relax and sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on the sound of your breathing. Eventually, you will be able to achieve a level of mindfulness meditation throughout the day, even while working on tasks. It promotes observing your thoughts and emotions, taking them in, then releasing them for peace.

Chakra Meditation

Chakra meditation is an ancient Sanskrit word that means “wheel.” It refers to the centers of energy and the spiritual power that resides within your body. Each chakra, thought to be seven, is found in a different part of your body and has a corresponding color.

Chakra meditation includes relaxation techniques that help you focus on bringing or restoring balance and wellbeing to all your chakras. These meditating techniques may consist of visualizing each chakra in the body and its color. Some even incorporate light,  incense, or crystals.

outline of human body with location of chakras

Yoga Meditation

Utilizing yoga meditation is a popular choice among many. With a variety of styles of yoga, they incorporate performing a series of postures, controlling breathing exercises, meditating to help promote:

  • Flexibility
  • Stress relief
  • Self-awareness

Yoga poses require practice in balance as well as concentration. It encourages you to focus, free yourself of judgment, and distractions while opening your mind and senses. 

Concentration Meditation

Concentration meditation helps you learn to focus on a single point. This may mean following your breath, repetition of a single word or a mantra, listening to a repetitive sound, or counting the beads on a mala. It takes patience and practice, so remember to practice and remain consistent.

Concentration meditation refocuses your awareness. It turns your attention to your chosen object, and when you notice your mind wandering., you return to your selected object to regain focus. It encourages you to let go of all other thoughts and worries. This method conditions your mind to improve concentration, lifting brain fog, and relieving additional stress throughout your body.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is excellent for beginners because it is one of the more simple techniques. After choosing a mantra, which may be a word, a particular sound, or a short phrase, you will repeat it in a certain way as you relax. This meditating technique is typically meant for periods of twenty minutes a day, twice a day, preferably as you sit with your eyes closed.

This relaxing and easy to learn technique allows you to focus inward, find yourself in a state of relaxation, and learn to relax, breathe, and rest your mind. Your goal is to open your mind to levels of consciousness while focusing on your wellbeing.

 

How to Meditate

Beginning Meditation at Home

Find a quiet place to practice your meditation daily. Make sure you are free from distractions and choose a time that is usually free every day. Relax and open your mind to new possibilities as you begin.

Focus on Your Breathing Technique

Your breathing should be slow and natural. Don’t force what doesn’t feel right.  The goal is to be consistent with your breaths while calming all thoughts in your mind. As your thoughts slow, your breath will naturally follow, so just be patient.  Take this time to observe your breathing patterns. What does your natural rhythm sound like? How does this make you feel?

Continue to focus on your breathing, allowing your mind to open. If you find your thoughts wandering, it's healthy and will stop over time. Allow thoughts to pass, bringing your focus back to your breath, the feeling of your body, and the calm that has come over you.

Be Consistent in your Meditation

Being consistent is the key. As you adapt to finding peace, begin to experiment with various meditation techniques until you find most beneficial to your goals and needs. Adopt the habit of practicing in the same place, at the same time each day for consistency. Your body and mind will soon begin to anticipate this precious time you have set aside. Remember to be present in each moment and take note of how each technique allows you to feel and grow.  

Meditation Guidance

What is the Ziva Technique?

Meditation guidance can be found through many forums, including self-help books, streaming videos, and classes. One method I love to share is Ziva Meditation. After realizing that meditation was not enough to help her students perform at the top of their personal and professional game, creator Emily began to develop The Ziva Technique in 2017. The Ziva Technique is an incredibly powerful trifecta of:

  •   Mindfulness
  •   Meditation
  •   Manifesting to unlock one’s full potential

The multitude of proven meditation benefits from practicing The Ziva Technique includes a reduction in stress levels, reduction in anxiety, an increase in sleep quality, improvements in your immune function, increases in your productivity, and support in performance.

 

If you’re ready to introduce yourself to the incredible meditation benefits, there is a world of health and benefits awaiting you. Find out how you can start your journey to a healthier you, both inside and out, today.

Keep positive and stay healthy.
Dr. Kellyann