Meditation is a mental exercise that trains the mind to think, process and react differently. Meditation is most known for “silencing the mind”, however, there are many types of meditation and styles of meditation. Quieting the mind and thinking about “no thing” is only one style.
Meditation can also be done by refocusing the mind to think about one thing and send all of your energy and attention to that one thing.
Meditation can also be done by observing your thoughts and practicing nonattachment and non-judgment to them, allowing them to play through your mind like a movie reel.
Here are a few of the types of meditation:
Research Shows a Variety of Benefits from Meditation
Even two minutes of daily meditation shifts your life into a more positive, less stressed atmosphere. Research shows that 2-minutes a day of meditation can significantly reduce stress and anxiety and provide many health benefits. As you progress, you may find a 10-30-minute meditation equips you to be more present in the moment and less stressed.
Important Things to Note About Meditation
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. It is a practice that is meant for you. Thus, it should fit your lifestyle and integrate with who you are as a person.
There is no right or wrong amount of time to meditate. A two-minute meditation and a two-hour meditation is both right. If it’s right for you.
It is normal for the mind to wander, especially when one initially begins the practice of meditation. Be cognizant of this. Allow your mind to wander if needed. Be aware of when it wanders and what it wanders to. Practice the refocusing techniques learned in this program to return it to a state where you don’t wander as much.
Letting go is not an easy thing to do for most of us, in the beginning. Consistency and repetition makes it easier over time.
Allowing the body and mind time to relax and reboot is important for your health. Meditation is the reboot for the mind/body connection. During meditation the body is able to relax and the mind can calm racing thoughts, bringing it back into homeostasis.
Meditation is also a wonderful tool for rewiring the brain and reprogramming the mind. Meditation actually changes the structure of the brain; it also calms an overactive amygdala.
Through advances in science, meditation has been measured with EEGs and MRIs. The goal is to record brain activity before, during, and after meditative practices. These records have linked meditation to significant changes in brain structure and function. Within the first few hours of meditation, records have shown an increase in myelin – the sheath of proteins and phospholipids essential to operation of the nervous system. Improved connectivity has also been recorded during this period.
Meditation research also reports a decrease in Default Mode Network (DMN). This is the network implicated in self-related thinking and mind wandering.
Mind wandering tends to happen when a person thinks about the future or the past instead of the present moment. Research has tracked an increase in DMN activity to depression, anxiety, and higher rates of stress. Meditation reveals a decrease in DMN action. And this allows a person who practices meditation to minimize their anxiety and stress. It also displays benefits in treating depression and substance abuse.