How Meditation Can Improve Your Health

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How Meditation Can Improve Your Health

Meditation has been used as a tool for aiding the mind for thousands of years. The earliest known reference to meditation dates back to 1500 BCE when it was used by followers of an early form of Hinduism. Today, practitioners of meditation use the technique for a variety of reasons including but not limited to helping relieve stress, becoming more focused, and improving overall health.

What is Meditation

There are many different definitions of meditation. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “engagement in contemplation or reflection.” The Buddhist Centre describes meditation as a means of transforming the mind. Regardless of the exact definition, most people agree that meditation is a positive method of helping oneself feel more at ease with the world around them.

What Are the Benefits of Meditation?

Meditation has numerous, scientifically proven benefits. MayoClinic cites several positive mental improvements when participating in meditation. Some of these include:

  • Increasing one’s patience
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Gaining a new perspective on situations

Additionally, a meditation practice can offer physical health benefits. Research conducted by various organizations has indicated that certain conditions, such as asthma, anxiety, and high blood pressure, can be helped by meditation.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that meditation can help increase the quality of life for individuals living with cancer by reducing stress and mood disturbances. The American Heart Association has identified transcendental meditation as effective (when balanced with traditional treatment) for lowering blood pressure.

Types of Meditation

Nine different types of meditation are increasingly common around the world. Some of the most popular include mindfulness meditation, movement meditation, and visualization meditation.

  • Mindfulness meditation – This practice involves becoming aware of what thoughts and feelings you experience as you are meditating. By allowing thoughts to pass through your mind with ease, individuals using mindfulness meditation do not stop to dwell on specific thoughts. They do not seek to judge them and rather, simply take note to identify any patterns in their thinking or emotions.
  • Movement meditation – Movement meditation is helpful for people who have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. This practice combines the mental energies of meditation with physical movements. For example, yoga, walking, or even gardening can all be considered forms of movement meditation when one ponders their surroundings and internal experiences.
  • Visualization meditation – This technique benefits people who have difficulty imagining themselves accomplishing their goals. A visualization meditation session can help a person learn to visualize themselves succeeding. By creating mental images of a positive future, practitioners can accept the possibility and likelihood of them succeeding. This type of meditation can also be helpful for people who wish to seek ways to calm themselves and alleviate stress. They can conjure peaceful images to help relax their bodies.

While meditation is often portrayed in movies as a “bizarre” or comical quirk exhibited by characters, meditation in reality remains a common activity for people around the world, one that offers several benefits for the practitioner.


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