Table of Contents
1. What Exactly Is Meditation?
Meditation is commonly used as an umbrella term covering a wide range of contemplative practices, many of which derive from Buddhist traditions but have often been adapted and secularized for use in Western society,” said neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp, Ph.D. Previously told SELF, scientific director of the Mind & Life Institute and visiting professor of contemplative sciences at the University of Virginia.
With this in mind, the questions of what meditation is and how to meditate are not accessible. It’s like asking how to exercise, says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA’s Mindfulness Study Center and author of The Little Book of Being, SELF. “Just like there are many sports, there are many types of meditation,” she says. And like different sports have essential things in common (like competition and physical activity), meditation has some fundamental principles. “I define meditation as any practice that cultivates inner exploration,” says Winston.
2. What Are The Benefits Of Meditation?
It remains where things get a bit tricky. The scientifically-proven benefits of mindfulness meditation are difficult to sum up (so much so that SELF has an entirely separate explainer). The TL; Dr. A significant number of meta-analyses have shown that mindfulness meditation can help moderately with the symptoms associated with these diseases (or at least with chronic pain, the way people deal with the symptoms. ). For a complete description of what we do and don’t know about the health benefits of mindfulness meditation, read this article.
3. Why Should You Try To Meditate?
Why not? No, I was kidding; aside from its many potential benefits, a why in your meditation practice may motivate you to stick with it, so that’s a good question. Some meditations work for you because they have a clear purpose (think of sleep meditations to help you fall asleep), but there are various reasons why you can choose to meditate. Some of them can be practical, and others can be personal.
4. What Does Meditation Look Like?
The good news is that people often imagine many rules for a good meditation, but should be flexible and individual. “Many people think you have to sit in a certain way, like sitting cross-legged on the floor, which is not true,” says Winston. “You can sit on a chair. You can sit on the sofa, and you can lie down. Still, you feel good. Winston points out that people also think they have to do it for a while, often for a long time, but that’s another misconception. A few minutes is good.
5. How Can I Start To Meditate?
As simple as the above example might sound, it’s understandable that many people find it challenging to do this independently without getting bored or fussing. It is where guided meditations come in. “It helps to have a guide because people get discouraged when they sit down to meditate,” says Winston. “A lot of people try to say, ‘Okay, what am I doing now?'”
6. How Can I Calm My Mind And Keep My Mind From Wandering?
Aaaand here we have the most common misconception about . Contrary to popular belief, the goal of meditation is not to completely clear the mind. “Meditation isn’t about turning off thoughts; it’s about learning to be aware and curious about them,” says Mattingly. It is the same with our wandering thoughts; You don’t have to maintain absolute focus. Either way, it’s essential to realize this.
It is the advantage of meditation: it doesn’t take long. Many guided meditations last five minutes or less. “Everyone has five minutes,” said Winston. “Meditation is adaptable and shouldn’t seem like a huge commitment.