5 Meditations to Try
| 4 min read
Have you ever run into a friend who wants to tell you all about their new morning meditation routine and how much it’s helped them feel more relaxed and ready for the day ahead? Or maybe you’ve peeked into one of the regular yoga classes held at your gym and you’ve seen the group quietly ending their workout with a moment of meditation. How do you dip your toe into the practice of meditation? Or if you already do it, when is the last time you’ve tried a different way to meditate? We’re sharing five different meditations to try the next time you’re seeking a little inner peace.
When you meditate, you’re joining a centuries-old practice that is used by millions of people all over the world. Some do it as part of their faith. Others make time for it as a form of self-care for their mental health. Still others embrace it because it reduces their stress level and makes them feel better. Whatever your reason for doing it, pat yourself on the back because there are lots of health benefits that go along with it.
Meditation is becoming more popular, too. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that people who said they meditated increased from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017.
Benefits of meditation
Not surprisingly, mind-centered practices like meditation have a long list of health benefits. It’s a mood-booster that can reduce anxiety levels and also leave you feeling more focused and ready to make intentional choices during the day. But mediation has some other perks, too. These include:
- A better attention span. One study found that even brief periods of meditation, when done daily, improved focus and concentration for people who regularly meditated for eight weeks.
- Better sleep. Practicing meditation can help people feel more relaxed. Some people will find they fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, too. It’s also been shown to help people with chronic sleep conditions like insomnia, studies show.
5 types of meditations to try
There are lots of different types of meditations. Some people who meditate may stick to a traditional or very regimented type of meditation. They may do it in silence, or put their earbuds in and do an audio, guided meditation. Some prefer to practice meditation solo, while others like the group aspect. Still others take pieces of what they like from a handful of meditation practices and make up their own style that works for them. Here are some types of meditation to try.
- Focused: This one is great for beginners, or for those who feel like their mind is wandering too much during their quiet time. Focused meditation allows you to bring your attention back to just one thing for the duration of your session. This could be someone’s photo, the flame of a candle, or a flower or plant in your home. Some people like to use beads or an object they can hold in their hands. Others stick to counting their deep, slow breaths as a way to focus their attention on their body.
- Kindness meditation: The emotional cues in this kind of meditation really connect with some people. The goal is to use this time to think about some of the people you know - family, friends, co-workers, neighbors - and mentally send them love and kindness. You can approach these as prayers, or simply sending good thoughts. By sending feelings of love out into the world, you’re preparing yourself to receive it as well.
- Pick a mantra: If you don’t love sitting in silence, this might be for you. Select a word or a short phrase and repeat it continuously to get yourself into a meditative mind frame. Some people enjoy the feeling or vibration that talking creates in their bodies.
- Talk a walk: Most people think about yoga when exercise and meditation are paired, but walking and other low-impact exercises like swimming slow laps or gardening also fit the bill. If you’re taking a walk, you can count your steps, or focus on a big tree in the distance to keep your mind centered on one thing.
- Guided: If you don’t like meditating alone, or if you’d rather have some help to get started, try a guided meditation session. Your local fitness club may offer them, or possibly a bookstore or shop in your area. If not, there are plenty of guided audio meditations you can access online on your phone or computer. Typically, these audio versions feature calm, soothing voices that help keep you focused on your body and your mind.
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