Meditation has become very popular over the last decade or so. It has been used for thousands of years by people around the world to help them relax and unwind. Meditation has become a popular practice because of its benefits for both spiritual and secular purposes. Some people also say they meditate to improve their mental health or achieve greater clarity.
Many people swear by its benefits while others claim that it’s nothing but a waste of time. So, is meditation really worth it?
Is meditation bullshit?
No, meditation is not bullshit at all. Though some of the unrealistic claims that meditation is a ‘miracle cure’ or will change you completely are laughable, meditation has some real and substantial gains. Meditation is a practice where you focus on your breathing and try to clear your mind.
There are many types of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, yoga meditation, etc. So while it might not be a perfect cure, meditation does have its benefits. In addition, there are scientific studies on meditation that reinforce its benefits for people who do it consistently.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing on something (such as breathing) in order to achieve a state of relaxation. This is done through various techniques, such as mantra repetition, guided imagery, and visualization. There are various types of meditation techniques. Some involve focusing on a single object such as a candle flame, while others involve focusing on nothing at all.
Meditation has become very accepted and practiced over the last decade; individuals from different backgrounds practice it for various reasons. There are many ways to meditate. The method you choose depends on your goals and preferences. For example, you might want to meditate to relieve stress or manage anxiety, or you might prefer to meditate to increase creativity.
Meditation is viewed as a way to connect with your feelings and emotions and gain clarity. Meditation can also allow you to slow down and observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
Does science support meditation?
There have been multiple studies to show that meditation has an effect on the brain and that it can be used as an intervention technique for different physical and mental illnesses. Some studies show that meditation can be used to reduce high blood pressure, digestive issues, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Other research shows that meditation can cause physiological changes to the brain and body. These changes may possibly assist in enhancing your immunity and encourage a healthier lifestyle. One study shows that meditation is mostly seen as a safe practice for people without any chronic or profound illnesses.
Though people who are physically challenged may be unable to take part in some practices of meditation; they can participate in the mindfulness aspect of meditation from any position. Individuals with complex health conditions, or psychiatric conditions, should first speak to their health care provider before partaking in meditation.
In the face of all the extensive research and scientific evidence supporting meditation, it still does not replace medication and traditional health care. It is always advised, when facing any ailment, to consult a medical professional for treatment. Meditation can be a part of your regiment but cannot substitute medical care.
What is the purpose of meditation?
Meditation is an exercise in mindfulness and does not always have an end goal. The main objective can change every time you meditate because it is not the practice but the result that counts. Meditation can help with a plethora of symptoms and improve your life in many aspects; but the goal is to have a positive experience and overall calmness and unity between mind, body, and soul.
Generally, the ultimate goal of meditation is to have fun. It should not be something to cause you stress, or make you anxious. The purpose of mediation will differ from person to person depending on the reason they are meditating in the first place. Some people meditate for spiritual enlightenment, others as a way to relieve stress, to improve concentration when battling a mental illness, to help with insomnia, and so forth.
The list is endless but basically, the purposes of meditation are extensive and varied in nature.
How do I start meditating?
The thought of starting meditation may be tempting, but actually starting it may be a cause of stress. How do you start? What do you need? Are you doing it right? All these are questions that may put you off from the beginning and enjoy meditation. You can use different applications, or YouTube videos to guide you through meditation or find a class offering guided meditation (online or physical).
Additionally, here are some ways that you can use to start practicing meditation.
Before starting meditation, read about it and research first. Use the internet and different books and find out the different ways and techniques you can use to meditate. It is also important to find out if you have the physical, emotional, and mental capabilities to carry out meditation. Find out which form of meditation will work for you, and if there are any questions or concerns, ask a medical professional or psychologist beforehand.
Set the mood.
The environment you are meditating in is important. Create a comfortable space that you feel safe in, preferably a quiet place without interruptions. This zone will help you get into the proper mindset and relax and free up your body and mind to start ruminating.
Focus on your breathing.
When starting, focus on your breath. It may take a few tries to block out any distractions, but keep breathing in and out while focusing on the air moving through your body. It may seem simple but this is a good technique to encourage focus and gently ease you into the meditation.
Try being aware.
As you breathe and focus on your body, tune into everything that your body is feeling and acknowledge it. If you get distracted, return to focusing on your breathing. Simply become aware of how you feel; scan your body and check if there is any part of you that is in pain, tensed, relaxed, and so forth.
Create a rhythm.
It is always good to incorporate spirituality into meditation (though not a must at all). You can use any religious prayer you would like as a mantra, this helps generate a consistent flow. You can also recite an affirmation as a mantra if you prefer to not include religion or spirituality.
Create a pattern or schedule.
Consistency is very important when meditating. Start small and work your way up to a routine habit. Do not feel discouraged when you do not feel any difference immediately. Keep doing it consistently with enthusiasm.
Remember, you are new to this and you are trying your best so make sure to be kind to yourself. Have the right intentions and goal in mind and move forward regardless of the obstacles.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of meditation?
|Great way to unwind and relax.Can help reduce stress.Improves mental health.Boosts your immune system.Increases self-awareness.Enhances mindfulness.Can help with sleep-related issues.Accessible -can be done from anywhere.Improves concentration and focus.Helps with physical ailments such as digestive problems and body aches and pains.||Can be very physically and mentally draining.It requires a lot of practice and needs to be done regularly to see results.Meditation is time-consuming.It may cause past traumas and negative emotions to resurface. Can cause a sensory overload.May need someone to guide you through the process which can cost money.May cause religious or cultural conflicts.|
Meditation is very real and has been backed by scientific research. Meditation has its benefits and can be practiced in the right conditions. However, it is not an alternative to medication and proper health care. Before partaking in meditation, make sure you do proper research and are in the right midframe to participate.
Do people actually meditate?
Yes. Research has shown that people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions meditate globally. Research has shown that 200–500 million people meditate worldwide.
Who invented meditation?
Meditation is a prehistoric custom that has been proven to have stemmed from India many years ago.
Can meditation be harmful?
Though meditation is shown to have its benefits and is widely encouraged as a calming practice, it can have some negative effects on a person. Some of these are
- Aches and pains
- Body spasms and involuntary movements
- Headaches and fatigue
Black LI, Barnes PM, Clarke TC, Stussman BJ, Nahin RL. Use of yoga, meditation, and chiropractors among U.S. children aged 4–17 years.