Mindfulness Meditation is one of the most effective things you can do to cope with depression
What is Meditation?
By definition, meditation is a set of techniques aimed at increasing a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Meditation uses a combination of mental and physical practices to clear and calm your mind.
Though meditation has been recently gaining popularity, it has actually been around for thousands of years. Originally, meditation was used to understand the deeper meaning of life. Today, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction. Meditations have tremendous health benefits, especially for stress management. It can help While there are different types of meditations, each is effective and offers something unique.
Depending on the type of meditation, you can meditate to relax, reduce anxiety and stress, increase concentration, and more. Meditation can also help to improve health and cope with addiction. Meditation benefits include:
Decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health illnesses
Reduced stress and learn how to manage stress
Improved ability to think rationally and solve problems
Increased concentration, focus, and memory retention
Better ability to adapt to and overcome emotional problems
Manage high blood pressure, heart function, and other cardiovascular illnesses
Meditation has many health benefits and with practice, meditation can help you achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Types of Meditation
There are many different types of meditation. However, there is no “right” way of meditating. Some meditation techniques may feel more comfortable for you than others. You can try different meditation types before you find the one that works for you. The meditations that feel right for you are the ones to try and continue to practice. Some types of meditation are:
This is a type of meditation, in which you are guided throughout the process by a teacher or instructor. It is a great way for beginners to learn how to meditate. In this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. This is why it is also often called guided imagery or visualization.
In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word or phrase and focus your attention on it to prevent distracting thoughts.
In this type of meditation, you learn to be present in the moment. You focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. Your mind may waver but you simply observe your thoughts and emotions and let them pass, without judgment. It involves being mindful, having increased awareness, and accepting the present moment.
Love and Kindness Meditation
In this type of meditation, you think of others with feelings of love, compassion, and kindness. This can help increase how connected you feel to others.
This practice combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement, and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance.
In this practice, you perform a combination of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote flexibility in your body and restore peace of mind.
There are many more relaxation techniques such as body scan meditation, chakra meditation, transcendental meditation, Tai-chi, etc.
How to Meditate?
1. Find a Quiet Setting - Meditation should be practiced in a peaceful location so choose a spot where you can focus on your practice without being distracted or interrupted for the duration of your meditation.
2. Get into a Comfortable Position - It’s important to choose how you'll sit because you want to be able to completely relax while still staying awake.
3. Close Your Eyes Gently - Once you are in a comfortable position, have a soft gaze or slowly lower your lids. Also, notice your mouth muscles so that all of your facial muscles are relaxed.
4. Focused Attention - Try to focus your attention on something specific such as your breath, or a word. Focusing your attention can help prevent your mind from being distracted by stressful and worrying thoughts.
5. Put Thoughts Aside - While you can't control your thoughts, you can control how much power they have over you. While you do not have to ignore or suppress your thoughts, you don’t need to react to them either. Simply remain calm, note them, and then use your breathing to bring back your focus.
6. Open attitude - It is important to practice meditation with an open mind. Let thoughts pass through your mind without judgment. Meditation is different for different people so be open to the experience.
7. Relaxed breathing - By taking deep, even-paced breathes, you slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and calm your mind.
Ways to Practice Meditation
As we mentioned earlier, there is no "right" way to meditate. Don’t be intimated or stressed whether you are meditating correctly. Just try and see what feels right and works for you - your body and mind. Some easy ways to practice meditation and incorporate it into daily life include:
1. Guided meditation - One of the best ways for beginners to meditate is by attending a meditation class in person or online. You are guided by trained instructors to help you through the practice.
2. Walk and meditate - Consider combining a walk with meditation as a healthy way to relax. When you go for a walk out in the woods or park, you can meditate by being in the present moment and feeling connected with nature.
3. Deep breathing - This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function. Simply try to take slow, deep, and long breaths to calm your mind and relieve stress.
4. Mindfulness meditation- Concentrate on your breath as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. When your attention wanders, gently bring back your attention to your breath.
5. Read and reflect - Studies show that you can also relax by reading poems or sacred texts and then taking a few moments to quietly reflect on their meaning.
6. Repeat a mantra - This is a relaxation technique that involves repeating a word or phrase, either silently or out loud. You choose a religious or secular mantra, or simply create your mantra or phrase.
How to Build Meditation Skills?
Meditation takes practice. So give it time. A great way to improve your meditation skills is to make it a part of your daily routine so that it becomes a habit to do every day.
Moreso, it is important not to judge your meditation skills, because they will only increase your stress. Some meditation techniques may work better for you than others. Try different techniques to see what works for you. If a practice is frustrating for you, you may find more success with another type of meditation. But remember, each technique takes some time to show results so have patience and give it time until you notice a change.
Meditation can initially seem overwhelming. Start small and your way work up. You can start with short 5-minute sessions and then move to 15 or 30-minute sessions, once you are comfortable. The key is consistency. It’s crucial to stay consistent with a meditation routine so your body gets used to it and your mind improves concentration without distraction.
It can be hard to meditate without direction. Try using a meditation app or joining a meditation class to guide you through the practice.