Meditation - Healing Powers, Benefits, And How To Get Started
There are many forms of meditation and, although it has its origins in the Eastern cultures, the West is quickly learning the benefits of this relaxing practice. A lot of people think of meditation as some guy sitting on a pillow, legs crossed, eyes closed, humming. However, meditation can be done while sitting on a chair, lying down, sitting at your desk, or just about anywhere. While the many different forms of meditation are as diverse as their types, there is one thing that they all have in common: they focus on calming and quietening a chaotic, busy mind. With as chaotic as our lives today can get, no wonder why more and more are finding the health benefits of meditation.
The goal of meditation is not to end or remove the stimulation. It is more a training of the mind to direct focus and concentration to one element. This single element may be a single sound, a single word or thought, a single image or even the person's own breathing. This is designed to bring calm and peace to the mind by making it focus so that stress, worry and depression are pushed outside of the mind. The mind does not have room to dwell on these things if the calm and peace is successfully brought to the forefront of the consciousness, in the present moment.
There are basically two types or styles of meditation. All of the techniques, both Eastern and Western, can be grouped into one or the other. The first of these styles of meditation is concentrative. This means that the attention is focused on the breath, an image or a sound such as a mantra to still the mind and heighten awareness and carity. Certain types of music can do this.
Concentrative meditation is probably the type of meditation that is familiar to most people. The person sits quietly and focuses their attention on the breath, known as "conscious breathing." This type of meditation is very good for relieving anxiety, stress and distraction because it causes the person to focus and relax.
To perform conscious breathing, sit in a chair or on a pillow on the floor. Close your eyes and breath in deeply through your mouth while saying to yourself, "I am breathing in." When you exhale through your nose (or mouth), say to yourself, "I am breathing out." Picture positivity being breathed in with each breath you take and negativity being expelled each time you exhale. Absorb yourself in the act of breathing in and out, think of nothing else.
The other type of meditation is mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation involves raising your awareness of all the sensations, feelings, images, thoughts, sounds and smells that you encounter each day. However, you do not dwell on them or become involved in thinking about them. The person simply sits quietly and observes the activity of the mind without being drawn into reacting to it or becoming involved in negative reactions to it such as depression or worry. Through this exploration, the person gains a clearer, calmer state of mind that is non-reactive as opposed to bogged down in worry and depression.
Benefits of Meditation:
There are numerous physical and psychological benefits to meditation. As the body rests, the heart rate lowers, as does the metabolic rate and stress is dramatically decreased. Many negative physical and physiological reactions related to stress are decreased or eradicated altogether. Concentration is increased and memory is improved. Additionally, anxiety, depression, moodiness and irritability are decreased while feelings of vitality, happiness, rejuvenation and emotional stability are improved.
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