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Monday, January 17, 2022

Is Meditation Something You Should Try?

Want to get into meditation but don't know much about it or where to begin? Check out this article. I've highlighted the different types as well as the health benefits of meditation.

Meditation has been used throughout history as a way to not only destress but to be able to connect your mind spiritually. Since it’s been around for so long, there are different types and proven health benefits for people who do meditate. If this is something that you want to try, read below and learn more about guided meditation, unguided meditation, the benefits, and the science behind this practice.

Guided Meditation

This type is great for beginners as it’s by a teacher. They are able to provide you with direction and how to begin the process of meditating. You’ll be asked to relax your muscles and you’ll be guided through mental images or visualizations. This can be broken into three parts that the teacher will guide you through.

  • Approach, explains to you how your mind may behave during meditation
  • Practice, explains different techniques that will help you 
  • Integration, explains how to incorporate those practices into your everyday life

There are many different tools at your disposal if you want to try guided meditation, such as YouTube videos, apps, and in-person classes.

Unguided Meditation

For example, this type of meditation is great for people who’ve already done guided meditation and are ready to switch things up. According to the Melbourne Meditation Centre, you can follow these steps to help you guide yourself through meditation.

  • Posture, focus on how you’re sitting and make sure your back is supported and relax the muscles
  • Rocking, slightly let your body sway side to side then decrease it until your torso comes to a point of balance
  • Sinking, focus on each part of your body and how it feels to touch whatever’s around you, feel the gravity pulling you down
  • Blue light, imagine a line through the central axis of your body, feel your breath flow through this line, visualize a blue light as your breath if that helps
  • Sounds, listen to the sounds around you and from your body like your heartbeat
  • Body scan, to bring yourself back focus on your scalp all the way down to your toes
  • Re emerge your body with your surroundings

Which One is Right For You?

Guided is great for beginners or anyone else that needs help to clear your mind and unguided gives you more freedom to explore with different techniques or focus points. However, it’s really up to you and what you think would be the right type. You can experiment with both to see which one you like more.

Benefits?

Overall, the benefits go way beyond just relieving your stress. In fact, over 3.000 studies have been conducted on it. 

Some of what this research has found is that consistent meditation has shown to alter the cellular activity in cancer survivors. In other words, if you’re consistent, your body may be able to fight off the cancer cells in your body. That’s mind-blowing!

Other research has shown that meditating can elevate your immune system. It can also reduce stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Two prominent figures in the science of meditation are Ellen Langer and Richard Davidson. 

Ellen Langer

Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard and was the first woman to be tenured in the department. In addition, she’s also the founder of The Langer Mindfulness Institute where she works to foster mindful leadership, innovation, strategy, and work/life integration. Langer has over 4 decades of research. Her research has revealed the many effects of meditation and gave hope to people suffering from different ailments.

Furthermore, her team is researching the interaction of meditation with business and education, and improving disease outcomes for people with arthritis, chronic pain, ALS, TBI, prostate cancer, and MS who have already shown improvement through meditating.

Richard Davidson

Davidson is the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a Ph.D. in psychology, psychopathology, and psychophysiology. Additionally, he is also friends with the Dalai Lama.

In particular, his research is based on neural bases of emotion and methods to promote human flourishing. Some of his published research includes how certain aspects of DNA can be altered for the better through meditation, like to prevent different diseases.

Angel Wings

Angel Wings is a great website that offers free meditation classes without having to leave the comfort of your home. These classes, teach you techniques that you can use during your daily routine. 

Their website also provides you with research articles based on meditation and its benefits. They also offer YouTube videos, podcasts, and other programs for you to try out and learn from.

“Meditation is a powerful tool to bring stability within one’s life. The positive impact of meditation is well researched and the Angel Wing program provides a platform to the general public to engage in diverse programs (without charge). The aim of Angel Wing, LLC is to promote self-mastery, personal transformation, and human upliftment. Transformation occurs from the inside and has impacts in all areas of one’s life.”

Since there are many health benefits to meditation, it doesn’t hurt to try it out. Then you can see if it’s the right choice for you. We could use more ways to de-stress and keep our bodies and minds healthy during the stress of everyday life. 

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