8 Benefits Of Meditation For Brain, Body Mind And Soul… Effective Way To Do Meditation
The hustle and bustle of modern life keeps us on our feet and leaves little or no room for adequate rest. People are constantly on the move and seek for several avenues to relieve everyday tension.
Some opt for vacation, others sleep, yet others exercise to shake it off. While these require a considerable amount of money, time and even physical exhaustion, there is yet another way that requires even less and may even be more effective than the rest since it can even transcend the physical to the spiritual.
What then is this method? Meditation. This largely unknown area (in Nigeria) is as ancient as many therapeutic remedies such as Yoga. This article would therefore shed light on this age-old measure that has been tried and tested.
How To Meditate
There are basic procedures to observe when meditating:
- You could decide to sit or lie on a mat or rug. Whichever one you choose, be sure to be comfortable.
- Close your eyes. This is paramount as it helps you shut out the outside world. You could use an eye mask to make it work better.
- Try to breathe normally. Now this is the hard part. Focus on your breath and how your body moves when you take in and take out air. Notice some body parts keenly involved such as belly, chest, ribs, shoulders etc. Whatever you do, just focus.
Your mind is sure to wander every now and then (especially for beginners) but when it does, shift your focus back on your breathing.
For a start, 2-3 minutes should be adequate. With time, you could begin to increase it. Remember, there is no too short or too long time spent on meditating. Choose what works for you and go right ahead.
Types of Meditation
There are several types of meditation. Therefore, depending on your personality and routine, there is bound to be one for you!
For the sake of this article, attention would be on the seven (7) best known ways to meditate:
- a) Body Scan/Progressive Relaxation: This type encourages individuals to search out for areas of tension in their bodies and work on relieving them. Practitioners in a session usually start from the feet and work it all up. If this is done well, it helps to promote calmness and relaxation ana can even serve as a catalyst for sleep.
- b) Loving Kindness Meditation: As the name implies, it is done to arouse the feelings of love and kindness towards everyone and everything. While taking deep breaths, observers open their minds to all the warm feelings- love, kindness, compassion etc which in turn is sent out to the world and loved ones. This is also known as “Metta Meditation” and can help relieve resentments, strife , anger, depression etc.
- c) Breath Awareness Meditation: This type encourages ‘aware breathing’. The while focus is on the breathing while shutting out other thoughts. It also held in reducing anxiety, improved concentration and greater emotional fluidity.
- d) Mindfulness Meditation: Like the aforementioned, it encourages its observers to be in the ‘now’ and be present in their environment. This type can be done anywhere. It could be at the store, observe the environment, notice the sounds and smells. This would help relax the nerves while waiting for your turn. The benefits of this type is tat it inculcates patience, improves focus and reduces impulsive and emotional outbursts.
- e) Zen Meditation (Zazen): This is a more calculated type and may require studying under a teacher. It involves specific steps and postures. It involves assuming a comfortable position and observing the environment. Although related to mindfulness meditation, this requires more discipline and patience to pull off.
- f) Kundalini Yoga: This type blends movements with deep breaths. It requires a lot of physical activity. This type increases physical strength and reduces pain. It has also been discovered that Yoga is a great way to reduce pain and even improve mental health.
- g) Transcendental Meditation: This is more spiritual in nature as observers are required to sit and breathe slowly. The aim is to rise above the current state of mind. To make for better performance, a teacher decides a mantra to be used as this helps heighten attention and concentration.
Meditation and Its Health Benefits
The health benefits accrued are usually in the areas of the brain, mind and body.
Prevents the Brain From Aging:
Aging is usually associated with old age. However, has been shown to help reduce brain aging. The gray matter present in the brain increases in those who meditate than in those who do not.
- The brain regions involved in thoughts, intentions and desires are better improved through the secretion of cerebral matter .
- It has been proven to ‘rewire’ brain circuits to boost the mind and body health.
- It helps to quieten the brain. Continuous meditation not only induces calm, but also produces positive brain changes especially in the areas responsible for stress regulation, empathy and memory.
The mind and body are intricately connected hence, what affects one affects the other. Here are some of the benefits if meditation on them:
It reduces the risk of heart diseases by lowering blood pressure, cortisol and heart rate. This is because when meditating, emotions that are wont to cause high blood pressure, are flushed out.
It helps with sleep. The American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that meditating can be a great way to help people sleep better for proper immune functions.
It can help fight stress. Stress is one of the worries of modern life, especially that of adults. Meditation helps relieve it by working on the stress nerves.
It releases toxic emotions. Through unburdening such thoughts, the observer opens up to new and positive ones such as renewal, energy and contentment. This helps fight anxiety.
It makes the body flexible. This is because some of the meditation types involve stretches and other postures.
Meditation not only works in the physical but also spiritual. Perhaps chief among what it does besides the aforementioned is that it empowers the individual to achieve a higher consciousness. A level where by one realizes that there is more to the body. The soul and spirit all make up this whole.
Having seen the great benefits of meditation, one must try to indulge in it at least thrice a week. This would definitely help relieve stress and help you to achieve such inner peace as never before in a fast paced world.