Meditation Benefits & How to Get Started

The link between physical and mental health is often misunderstood.  They are not separate entities.  The two go hand in hand.  According to the World Health Organization, health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.

Meditation is a gateway to better mental, emotional, and physical health.  

Meditation is an effective way to reduce stress but, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can also reduce the areas of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure.  Start a meditation practice and you’ll also be able to experience several benefits in addition to those listed above.

With meditation you can:

  • Improve sleep
  • Increase attention span
  • Reduce age-related memory loss
  • Fight addictions
  • Control pain
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Ease symptoms of depression

The good news is that meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships. 

There are many meditation styles, each with different strengths and benefits. Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.

Here are just a few different types of meditation and how to get started.

1. Mindfulness meditation

In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge the thoughts or become involved with them. You simply observe and take note of any patterns. This practice combines concentration with awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.

This type of meditation is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily practiced alone.

2. Spiritual meditation

Spiritual meditation is similar to prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with your God or Universe.
Spiritual meditation can be practiced at home or in a place of worship.

This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.

3. Focused meditation

Focused meditation involves concentration using any of the five senses. For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention. Try counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle flame.
This practice may be simple in theory, but it can be difficult for beginners to hold their focus for longer than a few minutes at first. If your mind does wander, it’s important to come back to the practice and refocus.

As the name suggests, this practice is ideal for anyone who requires additional focus in their life.

4. Movement meditation

Although most people think of yoga when they hear movement meditation, this practice may include walking through the woods, gardening, qigong, and other gentle forms of motion. It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you.

Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.

5. Mantra meditation

Mantra meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “Om.”
It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, you will be more alert and in tune with your environment. This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness.
Some people enjoy mantra meditation because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath.

This is also a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.

The bottom line:
The easiest way to begin is to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Whether you’re looking to reduce stress or find spiritual enlightenment, find stillness or flow through movement, there’s a meditation practice for you. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try different types. It often takes a little trial and error until you find the one that fits.  Do it for you!