Self-care comes in many forms, and BeautyDel is excited to embark on a wellness journey with you! Meditation has been long known to have numerous benefits for the body and mind, with scores of scientific studies mapping out the wide range of improvements meditation can create for practitioners. With the many types of meditation to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin. We have gathered the different types of meditation and their benefits to help you find the best practice for you!
Benefits of Meditation
1. Aids Stress and Its Physical Manifestation
Stress permeates our days and has unfortunately become a ubiquitous concern for us all. Many have heard about meditation being a great tool to combat stress, but why? The stress hormone, cortisol, can release cytokines- mean little chemicals that can cause inflammation, increased blood pressure, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and a whole host of unpleasant things.
Studies explored the effects of meditation on stress-induced inflammatory conditions, and in 8 weeks of practice, there was a marked reduction in stress-related inflammation among participants.
2. Reduces Anxiety and Improves Mental Well Being
Another highly lauded benefit of meditation is to those experiencing depression and anxiety by improving both self-image and outlook. A broad range study of 1300 adults with anxiety showed a remarkable decrease in anxiety after just 8 weeks of practice. The more severe anxiety experienced, the more significant the improvement was in participants!
Multiple studies focused on meditation and its effects on depression found that regular meditation improved symptoms of depression compared to that of a control group.
Even our outlook and processing of outside information are positively improved with meditation practice! One study focused on the direct effects of a single meditation; participants reported fewer negative thoughts associated with negative images shown directly after a meditation session.
3. Enhances Attention and Self Awareness
Regular meditation practice can improve both attention span, focus, and cognition. With regular meditation, participants of several studies noted improvement in both attention span and accuracy when completing a task. It has also been reported that regular meditation can rewire the brain and mitigate mind wandering and poor attention spans.
With regular practice of mindfulness meditation, practitioners report clarity when it comes to awareness of their thoughts and self-image and were able to then guide and correct negative thought patterns and damaging self-talk.
4. Promotes Kindness
Along with self-awareness, certain meditation practices direct the focus outside the self and improve greater awareness of the space around you. With this tuning to the world and people around us, in combination with a kinder self-image, practitioners reported a greater awareness of others' feelings and a greater motivation to act altruistically. What greater motivator is there than knowing you have the power to be more kind to yourself and those around you?
Different Types of Meditation
Let's now explore the different types of meditation and their benefits to find the ideal one for you! Many types of meditation can be practiced and explored alone, and it can take trying out a few to find the perfect one for your particular needs.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
This meditation centres on our focus and awareness and is today's most studied and practiced form of meditation. It is also one of the easiest to begin practising alone!
In mindfulness meditation practice, you are invited to focus on your breath and observe your thoughts as they come to you. View your thought patterns objectively, distantly and allow them to pass by. This objectivity helps assess thought patterns and creates a sense of control over these thoughts. With regular practice, mindfulness meditation can create an automatic response to managing our reactions to stressful situations in a healthy way.
2. Body Scan
Body scan meditation focuses on body and pain awareness and relief, which can be done almost anywhere. It is highly recommended for those who suffer from difficulty sleeping or experience any chronic pain.
In a relaxed position, take note of each part of your body, beginning at the toes and working your way up. Notice if there is any pain or tension in that area of your body. Take deep, even breaths and visualize sending your breath to that area and relieving that tension.
3. Breath Awareness Meditation
Breath awareness is a simple form of meditation and is great for times of overwhelm.
In a quiet space and comfortable position, slow and place focus only on your breathing. You can try different breath counts; the most common is breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding your breath at the top, and then breathing out through your mouth for a count of four.
There is also the option of in four, hold, out eight. When we breathe out for a longer count, there is a physical response, and many reports feel clear-minded and at peace. There is no set and special count. This practice can be modified in several different ways and you are able to explore different breath counts to find the best for you!
4. Mantra Meditation