Now that yoga and meditation are among the most popular physical and mental practices worldwide, many people think about starting to engage in them but are still in doubt. For some, it is still unclear what the goal of meditation is and whether it is worth trying. The answer to these questions will depend on the preferences and goals a person pursuits. Yet, beyond the shadow of a doubt, meditation does not harm anyone. So if you want the lowdown on different meditation practices and their goals, continue reading and find the answers to your questions.
The Effects of Meditation
Meditation has not become widely popular for no reason. It is not just a trend that comes and goes. There is much more behind the goal of meditation than making you fashionable. In particular, you might want to engage in it because of the myriad of health benefits it offers. Among these are:
People who go in for meditation are less likely to suffer from anxiety and stress. Furthermore, it can reduce perfectionistic thoughts that are often the triggers of a depressive mood. Scientific evidence shows that those who meditate indulge in rumination and self-compassion less than those who do not.
Better cardiovascular health
Regular meditation works miracles for your blood vessels and heart. It facilitates the reduction in heart rate and systolic/diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive people.
Meditation increases the cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which is responsible for the memory.
Mindfulness contributes to a person’s ability to focus on a particular thing or action for a longer time. People with the ability to sustain memory for long periods tend to succeed in their study and work.
Symptom reduction in cancer treatment
Some evidence shows that meditation can improve the physical wellbeing of people with cancer. Likewise, it can be recommended to those who have overcome cancer, since it can also help reduce stress levels.
Better immune system for the HIV-positive
Mindful practices are said to suspend the declination of CD4+T lymphocytes, thus boosting the immune system.
Alzheimer’s disease prevention
Meditation can improve the blood flow to the brain, inhibiting neurodegeneration and, subsequently, Alzheimer’s disease.
Those who meditate tend to live longer due to several health benefits it offers.
What is the goal of mindfulness meditation?
You must have heard yoga and meditation experts talking about mindfulness along with meditation. Some even use these words interchangeably. However, meditation and mindfulness are not synonyms. Mindfulness is rather a quality of meditation, which focuses on self-awareness and living at the present moment. In other words, mindfulness is a type of meditation, which is geared towards the prevention of unwanted thoughts and releasing what no longer serves you.
Throughout the day, people go through a lot of thinking, problem-solving, decision making, brainstorming, and other stuff going on in their minds. These have a propensity to exhaust the brain, eventually inducing stress and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation is exactly what you need after a busy day to relax and let go of the annoying thoughts. The goal of mindfulness meditation is to draw your attention to the wonderful world around you and redirect your attention from your worries
How to stay mindful?
Instead of rushing through your meal, you should try enjoying every bit of it. Your task here is to feel the taste, texture, and flavor of your food in detail, to the extent you would be able to write a descriptive essay about it. Mindful eating is useful for not only your mind but also your body, as it prevents overeating.
Try out a mindful workout
Rather than jogging or lifting weights in a rapid motion, work out slowly, engaging each of your muscles. As you are lifting the weights, feel how heavy they are. After you have become aware of this, you will notice how exercising is becoming easier for you, and the weights – lighter. Similar to mindful eating, the mindful workout is beneficial for your body: the slower you exercise, the faster you will build the muscles.
Take a mindful bath
Just run a bath and sink into it, relaxing each muscle and letting the water embrace you. Enjoy the experience and, if it feels good, turn on some soft music.
Go for a mindful walk
You can meditate during your walk by paying attention to the surroundings. Of course, a park or a forest is a perfect place for a mindful stroll, but you can still do it in other locations. The key point here consists not in the destination but in the way you organize your thoughts. Hence, you might want to focus on inhaling and exhaling, feeling the air circulating in your lungs. Similarly, you can observe the interaction between the wind and leaves on the trees or listen carefully to the sound of the busy traffic. Therefore, what is important here is to throw away your busy thoughts and pay attention to each detail of the environment.