Meditation conjures up images of people sitting with their legs crossed on a yoga mat. It is often equated to emptying the mind of all thoughts.
But what is meditation really? And why do we meditate?
First of all, let’s look at what meditation isn’t:
- Meditation isn’t about reaching a blank mind.Meditation is about letting thoughts pop into your mind but without giving them any attention. When meditating, if a thought comes into your mind, just tell it “I will deal with this later.”
- You don’t need to have your eyes closed to meditate. Meditating with the eyes closed can be easier as it reduces the number of stimuli reaching your brain, but it is perfectly possible to meditate with your eyes open. This enables you to meditate while commuting or going for a walk.
- You don’t need to be in a special place or wear special clothes do meditate.Meditation can be done everywhere at any time. Some people find it easier to always meditate in the same place and at the same time as it created a habit in the body and the mind which can facilitate meditation, but it isn’t a requirement.
And why do we meditate?
- Meditation practice reduces depression.Studies have shown that students who followed a meditation program reported a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general.A study from the University of Wisconsin has shown that the practice of “open monitoring meditation”, during which you closely observe your thoughts, helped the participants to be better able to deal with what happens in their daily life.
- Meditation reduces blood pressure. Clinical research has demonstrated that the practice of meditation reduces stress and high blood pressure. Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine
- Meditation helps you recharge your batteries.Your brain works a little bit like a mobile phone. You regularly need to plug in your phone to recharge its battery. This is what meditation does for you. It helps you recharge your batteries, gives your brain a boost and leaves you ready to face up to life’s challenges.
So by now, you know a little bit more about meditation, what it is and isn’t and why it is such a good thing to do for your body and mind.
Next week, we’ll look at how we meditate.