What is Meditation?
“Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.”
This is the clearest definition, I can find, describing meditation. There’s a bunch of misinformation and misconception “out there,” so I like to stick to the facts. The only RULE is that it works for you.
Types of Meditation
There are several, but below are the ones I consistently use. Each have been helpful to me & my clients, during the High Performance Detox. See which ones speak to you.
Metta Meditation – receiving & sending love to self and others
Mindful Body Meditation – doing a body scan and becoming aware of self
Breath Awareness Meditation – focusing on breath to calm and find peace
Zen/Zazen Meditation – using movement & breath for awareness
Mantra Meditation – focusing on a specific word or phrase, repetitively, while breathing
Nature Meditation – being in nature, focused on what you presently see
Guided Meditation – using a guide to gain specific awareness
There are literally hundreds of proven physical & psychological benefits to meditation, so keep researching on your own, but here are my favorites:
Meditation literally grows your brain… both in volume and thickness. This doesn’t just make you smarter; it increases your memory, attention, self-awareness and self-control alongside a whole list of other desirable qualities.
Meditation increases blood flow to your brain… the brain can’t function without a strong steady flow of blood to it. The stronger and steadier the flow, the better the brain functions.
Meditation reduces cortisol production, a stress-induced hormone that suppresses the immune system and can make you feel anxious nervous and unsettled for no real reason (other than having too much cortisol in your system).
Meditation reduces blood pressure and heart rate, which alleviates unnecessary pressure on your heart and arteries.
Meditation increases neuroplasticity. This is the brains ability to organize itself, adapt to demands and enables you to become more efficient in the learning process.
Meditation increases the production of good neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, both of which play a huge role in controlling our moods. It’s understood that low levels of serotonin cause depression.
Meditation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which enables us to rest and recover from stress.
Meditation boosts the immune system. As we reduce our stress, the immune system is boosted and so is our general wellbeing.
Meditation causes muscle relaxation. Muscle tension is generally caused by stress and when left unchecked can cause all kinds of problems such as vertebrae displacement, spinal issues and lack of mobility in the body.
Meditation slows the aging process. Meditation significantly increases melatonin and DHEA and decreases cortisol, which has a significant impact on slowing the ageing process down.
Meditation reduces stress related conditions such as anxiety and depression. When we meditate, the brain and nervous system undergo radical changes that cause the reduction and prevention of these conditions.
Meditation increases positive emotions. There are a few reasons why this happens. The simplest reason is the reduction of stress. When we reduce the stress in our system, we return to our natural state of feeling calm, connected to ourselves and confident in meeting the challenges of life. When we experience this, it feels good and it shows!
Meditation increases emotional stability and intelligence. When we meditate regularly, and reduce our stress levels, our hormones balance out and we feel less reactive, less defensive and effortlessly balanced more of the time.
Meditation increases a sense of connection to yourself and others. The more you meditate the more you become aware of who you are. When we allow the mind to go beyond those everyday levels of thinking we may get stuck in and experience deeper more expansive states of ourselves, this experience begins to inform us of our deep subtler nature. After a short while, we experience a more quiet, calmer and dynamic sense of who we are. Our relationships become deeper and more meaningful based on the simple principle, ‘the more you know yourself the more you can know another.’