Overview of Meditation Practices
By Lindsay Leimbach
Meditation is a skill that has been practiced for over 3000 years. From the beginning of time, humans had to deal with emotions such as worry, anxiety, rumination, being overwhelmed, and fear. People have found that meditation quiets these negative thoughts and fosters inner peace. Now science has shown that meditation actually promotes changes in the brain's ability to be calmer and have more awareness and focus.
During meditation, practice focusing your attention and reducing the barrage of thoughts that may be cluttering your mind and causing you stress. The Mayo Clinic states, “Practicing meditation may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being. Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.”
There are 3 main types of meditation practices that are often used to reduce stress and foster inner peace. All three meditations can assist you in clearing informational and emotional overload that builds up and may develop into chronic stress.
Guided meditation. With imagery or visualization method of meditation, you form mental images of places or situations you find peaceful. You use your senses, such as smells, sights, sounds, and textures, to bring forth a calm state in your mind. Often you are guided through this meditation by a teacher.
Mantra meditation. In this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought, or phrase as an anchor to hold your attention so your mind may enter a relaxed state.
Mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is based on being mindful of having an increased acceptance of living in the present moment without having a story or judgment imposed on the moment. In mindfulness meditation, you increase your conscious awareness. You focus your attention on an object, such as a candle, or experiences, such as the flow of your breath without judgment. You can observe that you have thoughts or bodily sensations, but you don’t become engaged with the thought or sensation; you let it pass.
Remember to be mindful of your meditations. Don't judge your practice, which may only increase your stress. The skill of meditation takes the 3 P’s: patience, practice, perseverance. Most of all, find enjoyment in meditation so that you will keep up your practice with a smile.