What is meditation?
Meditation is a learned skill that has long been used for increasing overall conscious awareness, relaxation, reducing stress, and improving your psychological state of being. Many religions incorporate some form of meditation, but a lot of people also practice this skill separate from any spiritual beliefs.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is extremely effective and provides countless benefits to your body and mind. Meditation is often utilized in mental health treatment and therapy to help with depression, anxiety, and more. Meditation is extremely versatile and will help whether you’re waking up and starting your day with it or ending a long workday with it to help you sleep. Here are just a few of the benefits.
Helps reduce stress and inflammation
When your body is stressed, it releases a stress hormone (cortisol) that increases inflammation in your body. Meditation helps calm the mind and therefore, the body. Stress and inflammation can also cause physical damage to the body over prolonged periods of time. Meditation interrupts this process and allows your body to rest and heal itself.
Not only does meditation improve your mood and help you think more positively, but it also increases your creativity. It increases the hormones that make you feel better, like serotonin and endorphins. Some people use meditation as part of their treatment for depression and anxiety.
Supports sleep and restfulness
Maybe you’re someone who has difficulty falling asleep at night because of racing thoughts, stress about work in the morning, or you just can’t stay off your phone. It happens to all of us. According to Healthline, “about 35 to 50 percent of adults worldwide regularly experience insomnia symptoms.”
A lot of people meditate to sleep better at night (and feel rested the next day). After all, meditation is meant to be relaxing and used to quiet your mind from our everyday distractions and busyness. It can also increase our body’s natural production of melatonin.
Improves attention span and focus
If you’re like most people, then you frequently multitask to get everything done that you need to. However, it’s unlikely that you’re in the 2.5% of people that are actually able to multi-task well. In reality, we are really just shifting our focus a bunch of times to different tasks instead of doing them all at once, and this diminishes our concentration significantly.
The goal of meditation is to focus on one thing. This trains your mind to slow down and get comfortable with being still. Meditation has proven to help with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Aids in chronic pain relief and can lower blood pressure
Through meditation, you can reshape and reframe your thoughts surrounding your chronic pain. It breaks the cycle of repetitive thinking and instead involves and uses the parts of your brain that process pain.
Typically, someone suffering from chronic pain also has other symptoms like stress, or even a mental illness like depression or anxiety. Because meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, it also reduces pain.
Meditation affects both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system plays a role in our fight-or-flight response. Our breathing and heart rate increase as our body alerts us to possible danger (or in some cases, it’s simply stress-related). However, when meditating, your parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body to rest and relax, kicks in helps maintain your blood pressure.
Types of meditation
There are a lot of different kinds of meditation, so if one doesn’t work for you, you can always try another one. The most popular methods of meditation are guided, sleep, mindfulness, and concentrative.
Guided meditation is also referred to as “visualization.” And as the name implies, it’s usually led or “guided” by a teacher, or audio/video. The aim is to focus on the person’s voice or what they are “guiding” you to focus on. It’s a great option for beginners since you don’t have to come up with your own techniques and you can learn useful skills and tips on how to meditate from an expert.
If you suffer from insomnia or poor sleep in general, then sleep meditation is a great option. Since meditation helps lower blood pressure and heart rate, your body is ready to settle in for the night. It can also be a form of guided meditation if you like using an app, and typically the voice will be low and soothing.
Mindful (or mindfulness) meditation is when you try to focus on everything you’re feeling and release negative thoughts from your mind. This technique is a combination of meditation and mindfulness. The goal is to not judge yourself on whatever thoughts or feelings you have during this time.
Concentrative meditation is exactly that, concentrating specifically on something such as your breathing, a phrase or mantra, or an object in the room. The goal of this technique is to achieve a higher state of consciousness. This is the most common spiritual form of meditation.
Best morning and sleep meditation music on Youtube
Below are my favorite meditation protocols on Youtube!.
For the mornings: