What is Meditation?
It is the self-practice to be calm and be aware of one’s own self. It is a practice where an individual focuses their mind on a specific object, thought or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. It is also known as mindfulness. It helps to reduce anxiety, depression, pain, and stress.
Many types of research show that meditation leads to various positive outcomes. It may give the feeling of self-liberation, self-regulation, and self-exploration. It helps to enhance self-awareness and self-understanding. It involves various cognitive procedures, for example, planning something, acquiring rules, attending to relevant stimuli and finally initiating appropriate behavior while inhibiting inappropriate behavior.
How did it start?
It has been practiced since antiquity in various religious traditions and beliefs. Since the 19th century, it spreads from its origins to the other cultures where it is commonly practiced in private and business life.
What are the techniques of meditation?
There are two common techniques of meditation that are being practiced:
- Transcendental Meditation
It is the non-religious method for relaxation, to reduce stress and self-development. It involves the use of sounds, images or on one's own breathing. It is practiced for 20-30 minutes twice per day. There is a standard course of instructions taught by certified teachers.
- Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
It is a method of handling emotions by paying attention to them. It does not focus on a single purpose. You are aware of all thoughts, feelings, and sounds that pass through your mind.
What are the benefits of meditation?
It helps to cure various physical, mental and psychological problems. These include:
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Addiction-related behaviors like the use of alcohol or drugs
- Management of hot flashes in menopausal females
- Anxieties related to chronic diseases like cancer, HIV, etc.
- It improves executive functioning
- Regulation of emotions
What are the reasons to commence mindfulness?
Researchers have shown that there are following reasons to commence meditation by people:
- Qualitative Analysis
- Quantitative Analysis
Qualitative analysis is an initial step followed by the quantitative analysis. Spirituality is considered in both the procedures.
What are the effects of meditation?
Meditation has many effects on the meditation trainer and the trainee itself. These are given as follows:
- It promotes empathy.
- It increases compassion.
- Counseling skills are improved of the trainer.
- Increased positivity both in the trainer and the trainee itself.
What is the relation between meditation and psychotherapy?
Meditation is a devotional exercise leading to contemplation while psychotherapy is the treatment of mental and psychological problems. There is a close relationship between these two measures. The one is a relaxation method, and the other is a treatment method.
These are the ways meditation may be integrated into psychotherapy:
- Therapist mindfulness
- Mindfulness-informed psychotherapy
- Mindfulness-based psychotherapy
Is meditation considered safe?
Meditation is safe by the researchers and trainers as well as by the general population who practice it. It gives a lot of benefits which medication cannot provide. It can decrease the span of chronic diseases.
Despite its benefits, it has some physical limitations. Meditation trainer must be aware of the physical condition of their trainees. Because sometimes it may worsen the condition. Do not replace meditation with the conventional treatment because it can be dangerous. The trainee must share their meditation experience with their trainer daily. There must be coordination between the trainer and the trainee to ensure care and safety.
What are the prospects of meditation?
Researchers are investigating meditation for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and severe depression. They are also investigating its role in post-traumatic conditions like hypertension and migraine.