In the fast-paced, digital age, finding moments of stillness and calm can seem like a luxury. However, amidst the chaos, meditation is an accessible way to get closer to serenity, offering a pathway to inner peace and overall well-being.
Whether the aim is stress relief, improved focus, or a deeper connection with the self, meditation provides a holistic approach to cultivating a balanced and harmonious life. This guide will explore the art of meditation, its various forms, and the numerous benefits it brings to those who embrace its practice.
What is meditation?
Meditation is an ancient practice that many cultures have embraced for centuries. Meditation involves training the mind to achieve a state of heightened awareness and mindfulness. Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not about completely emptying the mind of thoughts but instead observing them without attachment or judgment.
Meditation is not only an incredible way to connect with the self and settle the mind, but it is also highly accessible and budget-friendly. It is a practice that is easy for youth to engage with at home, at school, or on breaks at work.
Keep reading to learn about some essentials to help you get started with mediation.
Create a quiet space
Choose a quiet and comfortable space where you will not be disturbed. This could be a corner of your room, a serene garden, or any place that allows you to disconnect from external distractions.
Sit comfortably, either on a chair or cushion, with your back straight. Relax your shoulders and rest your hands on your lap. Find a position that allows you to be alert and at ease.
Focus on breath
Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the natural rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. Focus on the sensation of each breath, whether the rise and fall of your chest or the feeling of air passing through your nostrils.
As thoughts arise, acknowledge them without judgment and gently redirect your focus back to your breath. Observing your thoughts without getting entangled in them is a fundamental aspect of meditation.
Different kinds of meditation
There are several different kinds of meditation, each with different techniques and benefits. Depending on the individual’s goals, they may be drawn to a particular variety of meditation.
Here are a few of the different types of meditation to try out and explore.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on being present in the moment, observing thoughts and sensations without attachment.
Loving-Kindness Meditation cultivates feelings of compassion and love, starting with oneself and extending to others.
Transcendental Meditation involves repeating a mantra to achieve a state of deep relaxation and heightened awareness.
Body scan meditation
Body Scan Meditation focuses on bringing attention to different parts of the body, promoting relaxation and awareness.
Health benefits of meditation
Meditation has several health benefits. The world can be incredibly overwhelming with the constant pressure of work and school. Additionally, we often experience information overload due to social media, the news, and the digital age in general.
There are many benefits to quieting the mind and detaching from all external stimuli and distractions. Here are some of the benefits of meditation.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels and promoting a sense of calm.
Improved focus and concentration
Regular meditation enhances cognitive function, improving attention span and the ability to concentrate on tasks.
Meditation fosters emotional resilience, helping individuals manage and regulate emotions more effectively.
By observing thoughts without judgment, meditation facilitates a deeper understanding of oneself, leading to personal growth.
Meditation can alleviate insomnia and promote restful sleep by calming the mind and relaxing the body.
Physical health benefits
Meditation has been associated with lower blood pressure, improved immune function, reduced inflammation, and improved mental health.
Beginning a journey of meditation is an investment in your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Individuals can experience the various benefits of meditation through patience and consistent practice.
Whether seasoned in meditation or a beginner, the path to inner peace begins with sitting down and focusing on breathing. From there, a commitment to inner peace and a consistent routine is all one needs to sustain a meditation practice that facilitates a more balanced life.
About the author
Dru Gary (she/they) is a journalist for Youth Mind. She is a queer BIPOC poet and writer and a recent graduate from OCADU with a BFA in Creative Writing. She loves words and the act of stringing them together to create arrangements that are both beautiful and meaningful. They find inspiration in the intangible and attempt to create images out of abstract thought to understand and ground themselves. She ultimately seeks truth and healing through her practice.