The frantic nature of modern life can mean it’s difficult to find time to escape the various stresses of life.
Increasingly, people are becoming constantly ‘switched-on’ which can affect concentration and distract minds. For example, research shows we check our mobile phones every 12 minutes a day on average!
That’s why it’s so important to calibrate the mind to improve focus, reduce stress and understand our feelings and emotions.
Meditation is a brilliant form of therapy for this. And contrary to belief, there are techniques out there that are easy to master and can be immensely beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Here we’ve sourced 5 popular meditation techniques that are also easy to learn and can help you take a step back, relax and take stock.
To get the most out of any meditative practice, we advise you visit a qualified practitioner for professional guidance.
How can meditation help sleep?
At Rest Assured, we’re big advocates of getting quality rest and sleep.
Too often, when we go to bed, we let our minds wander and worry about the things around us, whether that’s family, financial or professional problems.
Meditation can help us focus our minds elsewhere and distract us from invasive thoughts. It also lowers the heart rate and settles the nervous system, which can help prepare us for a deeper night’s sleep.
Yep, we know it’s very ‘in-vogue’ at the moment and everyone from your gran to your cat is doing it, but don’t let that put you off, because one of the big benefits of mindfulness is that it can be practiced anywhere and the basics are easy to learn.
Mindfulness is designed to teach us to be present in the moment without reacting judgmentally to our thoughts in a way we normally would.
It helps us be aware of our emotional state by focusing our breathing and allowing thoughts to pass-by while we take a step-back.
Lots of people have benefited from mindfulness for everything from overcoming addiction to beating depression. Has mindfulness worked for you? Let us know in the comments section below…
Millions practice transcendental meditation and is now referred to simply as ‘TM’ (it even has its own official website…).
The theory behind TM is that we live in a constant state of stress thanks to the disease of modern life. It’s also become a favourite of celebrities, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Scorsese and Ellen DeGeneres.
Many people practice TM for 40 minutes a day across 2 sessions, which can seem like quite the commitment, but many say it’s the inspiration behind their new, Zen-like demeanor.
TM requires more guidance than mindfulness and typically involves a one-to-one with a tutor for the first few sessions before you’re able to go and do it on your own.
The actual practice consists of sitting in silence and repeating a mantra – which can be anything at all – for 20 minutes until you begin to reach a feeling of total relaxation, according to its advocates.
TM has been credited with helping to instill a calm, warming feeling that allows practitioners to simply clock-out from modern life. For 40 minutes a day, at least.
One of the claims made by advocates of Zen meditation is that it allows you to understand the inner-workings of your mind.
What separates Zen from a lot of other forms of meditation is that’s it’s less about stress relief and more about proactively understanding the unconscious mind.
It encourages the practitioners to analyse their life, dissatisfactions and unhappiness, and can be practiced in a number of ways, from focusing on your breathing to simply sitting in silence and being aware of your surroundings.
Shavasana is a pose performed at the end of a yoga session, which involves lying on your back and breathing deeply with your eyes closed, and is associated with relaxation of both the body and the mind.
Perhaps bizarrely, the Shavasana is also referred to as the ‘corpse pose’ due to how it physically appears, but don’t worry, the results are far-less morbid!
Beginners are encouraged to adopt the Shavasana pose and perform the ‘body-scan’ technique which involves mentally scanning your body from head to toe, relaxing each part one step at a time.
By focusing on your body and slowly scanning downwards, you’ll eventually start feeling a relaxing sensation and a separation from the intrusions of modern life.
Visualization meditation involves thinking intently on something or someone, which then becomes your focus. Sportspeople in particular often use this method to reduce performance anxiety before a big event. In this instance, your mind has already done the hard work in the buildup to the event before your body does the rest.
By visualizing, for example, a goal or objective, it can help create a link between the mind and the body. Research has shown that people who visualized their gym workouts even managed to increase strength by 13.5%, without a lifting a single dumbbell.
Visualization can also successfully be applied to a wide array of life objectives, whether they be personal, such as a break-up, or professional, like a job interview or big presentation.