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No anxiety, no fear, no insomnia, feel your calm

What is meditation? What are some of the misunderstandings people have about meditation

What is meditation? What are some of the misunderstandings people have about meditation

By Jack Wilson | 2021/10/25

What is meditation? What are some of the misunderstandings people have about meditation?

Modern people have more complicated diseases caused by various psychological factors, so they start to accept a new way of health — meditation. What benefits can meditation bring us?

  • Reduce anxiety and depression

Meditation is known as the “antidote” to anxiety. A group of 15 volunteers with normal anxiety levels were recruited for the study, none of whom had previously received meditation training. Volunteers then participated in a 20-minute meditation session in which they were asked to focus on their breathing and body perception and to remain objective about the intrusive thoughts and emotions that came to their minds during the session. The results showed that the volunteers' anxiety levels were significantly reduced after the meditation practice. Brain imaging showed that meditation could be a stress reliever because it directly connects to the part of the brain that controls executive power and apprehension.

  • Improve immunity

An Ohio State University study showed that a regular meditation muscle relaxation connection can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Another study from Ohio State University found that older patients who underwent a month of meditation and relaxation exercises significantly increased their lymphocytes (natural killer cells that boost a person's immune system).

Image source : Pixabay

Some forms of meditation can even help people improve their self-image and create a more positive self-perception, and studies have shown that meditation has a beneficial effect on a person's optimism and ability to think.

Of course, misconceptions will inevitably arise for many people who have not been introduced to meditation exercises, and the following is an overview and analysis of the concerns :

Misconception 1: You need to keep your brain quiet to have a successful meditation.

Truth: This is probably the most common misconception. But the truth is that meditation does not allow you to empty your mind; instead, this idea can make your stress and inner noise more and more uncontrollable. We often have no way to stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much energy we can put into it.

Meditation is not thinking, it is not daydreaming, it is not dawdling, and it is thinking about nothing. Emptying the mind may be a meditation exercise, but not all meditation is practicing emptying the mind.

Misconception 2: You need to practice for many years to benefit from meditation

Truth: The benefits of meditation can be immediate or long-term. You can already experience the benefits of meditation as soon as you sit down and begin to practice it. A study by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital showed that in just eight weeks of the meditation experience, practitioners experienced a decrease in anxiety and an increase in their overall sense of calm; the study also found that meditation promotes growth in the brain related to memory, empathy, self-perception and stress control.

Misconception 3: Meditation is time-consuming

Truth: Busy people like you may always have a million reasons to put off your meditation practice over and over again. However, when we take time to meditate, we are saving time. This sounds contradictory, but think about it another way:

  • When we meditate, our breathing and heart rate slow down.
  • Our blood pressure decreases.
  • Our body's production of stress-producing hormones and other substances that accelerate the aging process is lowered.

After meditation, we are more focused and likely to be more productive. Even though your schedule is full again, doing even just a few minutes of meditation practice each day is much better than not doing it at all.

Misconception 4: Meditation is a “metaphysics”

Truth: Many people may think that meditation is a spiritual or religious ritual. It cannot be denied that they are indeed related in some ways, but not everyone who practices meditation is religious. There is no conflict between this practice and any faith.

Image source : Pixabay

What is meditation?

Two types of meditation are common: one is the focused attention meditation and the other is the open monitoring meditation.

Let's start with the attention focus technique. This widely spread Buddhist practice requires practitioners to focus their attention consistently on a target, which can be either external or internal, either sensing your breath or the beat of a metronome. This practice can help to improve three small skills that regulate attention:

  1. Monitoring awareness so that you can quickly become aware of the source of the disturbance and not get lost in it.
  2. The ability to separate yourself from the source of the disturbance or to divert your attention from thoughts, emotions, or perceptions that may be causing the disturbance.
  3. The ability to refocus back on a specific goal. Just as we drive on the highway, whenever we notice that our car is off the middle of the road, we maneuver the steering wheel to bring the car back to the middle of the road.

Another open monitoring meditation focuses on the fact that there is no specific target for attention, and the practitioner's awareness can follow anything, without asking why or where it came from. This openness extends to the practitioner's thoughts — although we don't try to think actively, there are times when thoughts come up uncontrollably. At this point, the open-monitoring meditation does not try to stop the thoughts from arising, but rather to observe them floating objectively - without reacting, without judging, without repressing, without attaching attention to any one object. The ideas are treated like a friend who comes in and out of the house, whose presence we know but can do nothing about, just like an observer.

Finally, a very simple introductory meditation exercise is given to you. If you are interested in practicing meditation, you can start with these simplest ones. Of course, there are very different forms of meditation, and the following small exercises are just a reference for you:

Image source : Pexels

Stage 1: Keep your attention on your breathing by counting. Take a deep breath in, relax your shoulders and expand your stomach. Exhale and count one before the next inhale. Repeat this one step for a count of two. Keep counting until you reach ten and then proceed to the next round of the cycle. If you forget where you counted during this process, count directly from one.

Stage 2: Breathe as above, but place the count before the inhale and consciously anticipate the next breath. Count to ten and then proceed to the next round of the cycle.

Stage 3: The breathing pattern remains the same, but this stage starts to eliminate the need for counting. In this stage, focus on your chest, stomach, and nose breathing. If you are distracted by the perception of other parts of your body, slowly bring your attention out of the place of distraction and shift it back to your breathing.

Stage 4: In the last stage, your attention becomes more narrow — perceiving an exhalation at the tip of your nose, perceiving how the inhaled breath enters and leaves your body.

Finally, I hope that all of you can get sufficient rest during meditation and bring health and pleasure to your body and mind.

 

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