Guest post by Katie Pierce
It can be easy to get swept up in the continuous rush of the on-the-go way of life around you. External and internal pressures can force you to be on auto-pilot or live life at lightning speed.
But that shouldn’t be the case.
Each individual has their own pace and it should be respected to keep a balanced mind and body. This is where meditation can help. You can regularly practice slowing down and taking the time to develop a deeper connection and awareness of your body and mind.
Meditation and its Benefits
Meditation is a habitual practice that allows one to develop awareness and focus. It’s also about being in tune with your thoughts and feelings instead of denying them. Meditation is also known to improve one’s overall well-being, including mental, spiritual, and physical health. Practicing meditation regularly can help people:
Five Types of Meditation for Your Mind and Body
There are many meditation techniques or types that one can practice and incorporate into their self-care ritual. Here are five types of meditation you can practice to achieve a balanced body and mind.
1.) Mindfulness Meditation
This type of meditation is a combination of concentration and awareness. It can be done anywhere where one is able to close their eyes and focus on their breathing. During the practice of meditation, you allow yourself to simply observe your thoughts and feelings as they pass through the moment. It’s important to focus on your thoughts and feelings without judgment or efforts to escape them, regardless of whether they’re negative, positive, or neutral. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to be present in the here and now.
2.) Focused Meditation
Focused or concentrative meditation is a meditation technique that requires one to direct their attention towards a single object with any of the five senses. Examples include moon gazing, counting your breaths, or simply staring at a single object.
This technique aids in improving concentration and increasing attention span. This may seem simple, but it does require practice to be able to hold their focus without their minds going through other thoughts or worries. It also takes practice to be able to gently turn one’s focus back onto their chosen target or object after being directed elsewhere. So it’s best to give yourself time and start with shorter sessions first. Feelings of frustration may prevent you from achieving its effects.
3.) Movement Meditation
If you’re the type of person who prefers a more active form of meditation, then you may want to try movement meditation. This technique is not simply moving for the sake of it; it involves building a deep connection and awareness with your body. Movement meditation also requires you to focus on the thoughts and feelings that arise as you practice your preferred type of movement meditation. Movement meditation comes in different forms, including:
4.) Loving-kindness Meditation
Also known as Metta meditation, loving-kindness meditation is the practice of directing well wishes to others and opening your mind to receive them as well. This practice will help you strengthen feelings of compassion and kindness towards yourself, loved ones, and other people or living beings. Practicing loving-kindness meditation can be done while in a comfortable sitting position and reciting a mantra that evokes positive and warm feelings. This practice can be great for individuals who are experiencing feelings of anger or bitterness towards themselves or others.
5.) Progressive relaxation
People’s stress and negative feelings tend to manifest physically, and this includes muscle tension in one or more areas of the body. Progressive relaxation is great if you’re someone who experiences any tension in your body due to mental or emotional stress. This type of meditation is a technique that can help you release the tension in your body. An easy way to start practicing this technique is to focus on one area of your body at a time. You concentrate on relaxing that part of your body before you move on to another area until your whole body feels relieved of any tension. You can include progressive relaxation practices in your evening ritual to relieve stress and relax your mind and body before going to bed.
A Gentle Reminder
Remember that meditation is a practice, or something one should do regularly to improve. Be patient with yourself, especially when you’re trying a meditation technique for the first few times. It’s a practice and not a competition. You can go through this journey of developing self-awareness, focus, and balance at your own pace. You are also free to try out any of the meditation types listed above (or others not listed here!) to see which one your mind and body respond best to.
If you’re having difficulty getting started, you can consider seeking help from a professional. You can also try guided meditations to help you maximize the experience.
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.
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