What is Meditation? You may have heard of meditation before, and even given it a try in the past. Meditation is gaining in popularity all over the world as a practice that helps us with our physical and mental health - notably in reducing stress. Many people initially dismiss meditation because they don’t truly understand the practice, or because they don’t see how it can benefit their lives.
But the truth is, meditation is a deeply healing practice that has been used for thousands of years in many forms. Anecdotally, people all over the world have known the value of meditative practice for years, and more recently, studies have proven that practising meditation greatly improves our physical, mental and emotional health.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the process of calming and stilling the mind, achieving a deep peace that is only present when we are free from worry and stress. When we meditate, we move toward achieving this state of calm in our minds, regardless of what surrounds us in the world.
Many people mistake meditation for an act of extreme concentration, self-reflection, or problem-solving. These are all important tasks that everyone engages in mentally, but in fact, meditation could be called the exact opposite. In its simplest form, meditation can be the absence of focus, of worry, or of planning - it is inner peace, pure and simple.
Mastering meditation allows us to quiet our minds, empty ourselves from stress, and relax amid chaos.
Though the concept of meditation may seem simple, it can be difficult for some to master, especially without instruction. A sense of being too busy, of racing thoughts, and of being overstimulated is completely normal, and it can be difficult to let these habits go.
To answer the question ‘what is meditation?’, you really need to try it, commit to the practice and discover the benefits for yourself. Give it a quick try now:
To begin, find yourself a quiet place, free from distraction. Sit comfortably, and give yourself ample time to become relaxed. Breathe naturally, and start to focus on your breath, the feeling of your body, and your presence in the current moment, and not thinking of anything else.
Your thoughts will inevitably begin to wander, be aware of this and bring your focus back to your mind, body, and specifically, your breathing. To begin, most people practice meditation for 2 to 3 minutes, but you can work up to much longer periods of time.
Many people initially struggle to really understand and achieve a meditative state. Don’t let this put you off, just stick with it. To make it easier you can take a course to aid you in truly clearing your mind and discover how to use meditation in other ways. And once you've really got used to it, you may even be able to teach meditation to others!
Benefits to Your Life
So, what is meditation? Meditation is one of the single most effective forms of stress relief that you can undertake. Meditating allows us to rest and relax, even when chaos surrounds us. Beyond the feeling of calm it may bring to your life in the moment, research has also proven that meditation has a positive impact on your mental health and even your physical health. Studies have shown that people who engage in regular meditation have lessened symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety, and meditation has also been an incredible tool in the treatment of addiction and chronic pain.
When you master the skill of meditation, you gain the ability to find moments of profound calm, inner peace, and stillness at any time. It is one of the most affordable, cost-effective, and simple ways to reduce stress and improve your health, and once mastered, is a skill that will serve you throughout your entire lifetime.
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