Which Type of Meditation is Best for You?

Research has shown that meditation is beneficial for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. While physical exercise is a good discipline for keeping your body in shape, meditation is a form of mental discipline for keeping your mind alert, calm, and relaxed. If you decided today that you wanted to run a 26-mile marathon, you wouldn’t immediately run 26 miles. You might walk a half-mile on your first day. It might take awhile before you worked up to walking a mile. Then you might add walking and running. Over time, you would increase the distance that you could go each day. It would be months before you even walked 26 miles, much less ran 26 miles. In the same way, as a beginner, you could not sit down and meditate for 30 minutes. At first, you might only be able to focus on meditation for a few seconds. However, with practice, you could gradually increase the time that you could meditate. The longer that you practice meditation, the more skilled you can become in making and keeping your mind alert, calm, and relaxed.

You can meditate while standing, sitting, or lying down. For best results, your spine should be straight during meditation. You might have random thoughts like “My elbow itches” or “What will I have for dinner?” while you meditate. Don’t worry, analyze, or judge any thoughts or feelings that might arise. There are several types of meditation: The Blank Screen Meditation, the Single Focus Meditation, and the Moving Meditation.

During the Blank Screen Meditation, imagine a large blank movie screen in front of you. Whenever thoughts or feelings enter your mind, be aware of them without judgment and clear the screen. Repeatedly clear the screen as needed while breathing deeply.

For the Single Focus Meditation, you can visually focus on an object across the room, such as a vase or lamp while breathing deeply. You can focus on a sound, such as “Om”, which is the sound of the Universe. You could inhale and think “Peace”, and exhale and think “Love”. Or you could mentally repeat a phrase, such as “When I breathe in, I relax; when I breathe out, I smile”. Whenever you get distracted, acknowledge it without judgment and redirect your mind back to your single focus.

The Moving Meditation involves moving your body while you are meditating. Some people walk, run, swim, wash dishes, pull weeds, build model airplanes, knit, or do tai chi. Each activity requires mental focus in order to be done successfully. Doing these meditative activities while breathing deeply does wonders for your wellbeing.

There are other variations of meditation.Experiment with several types, and find which one resonates with you.If you’d like to learn other ways in which to improve your wellbeing, call me at 512-687-3436 for an appointment.You can begin a better life starting today!

~Linda Eldredge, Ed.D., Psychologist

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