Most people would agree that there are good health reasons to learn how to meditate, yet not everyone has a regular practice of meditation. The benefits of mediation techniques are available the first time you do it. There are 33 good reasons for you to learn how to meditate and four easy ways to do it. Make meditation a part of your daily routine.
Meditation is a word that has become a common part of our everyday language in almost every modern culture. Learning to meditate will improve your mental and physical health. Once you experience the benefits, you will be a lifelong practitioner.
The Benefits of Meditation Techniques
The health benefits of meditation show how the regular practice of these methods has both immediate and long-term positive effects on the mind and body. Meditation is one of the mind hacks discovered by many ancient cultures. It is the core method for exploring consciousness. There are many ways to meditate, and we have collected some of the best to assist you in your spiritual journey.
Almost everyone can learn how to meditate, even children as young as two years old can learn to use the basic two-step method. Meditation does not require the belief in religious dogma. One way to think of mediation is that these methods are just like a recipe for baking a delicious cake. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions.
The Health Benefits
The US Department of Health and Human Services (1) has conducted a number of research projects on the benefits of meditation techniques. These clinical studies show simple meditation processes help with various conditions, from high blood pressure to PTSD. We are just beginning to understand how meditation affects the brain.
Improved Attention Span
Studies conducted at the US National Laboratory of Heath (USNLH) (2) indicate that meditation improves attention span, which is a critical skill needed for learning. Focusing attention for lengthy periods is vital in our knowledge-based culture. It contracts the programming of media advertising, which works to shorten our attention span using rapid changes and flash and even subliminal messaging.
Loss of memory is a major concern for everyone. Clinical studies conducted at NHLM (3) looked at the effect of easy-to-learn meditation techniques on memory and recall ability. Their tests showed people had improvement in all three major areas of memory after they began using simple meditation methods.
The three major areas of memory recall are immediate, short, and long-term. Our immediate memory is the ability to recall long lists of items after only viewing them for a few seconds. Short-term memory is the ability to recall information you obtained within 48 to 72 hours. Long-term memory is the ability to access and retrieve this data after 45 days.
Effective Remedy for Depression and Dementia
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (4) conducted research on meditation and mindfulness meditation techniques. Their research shows an increase in the effectiveness of treatments for clinical depression and dementia, especially in reducing the severity and number of episodes.
Treatment for Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Research (5) shows how meditation is one of the most effective ways to handle a variety of symptoms, such as anxiety, stress, negative mood, and sleep disturbance. It helps with these symptoms without interfering with the treatment or causing other side effects.
Improve the Quality of Sleep
Researchers at Oxford Academic Sleep Research Society (6) show how mindfulness meditation techniques like the one outlined below effectively treat insomnia. This technique is a viable treatment taking the place of medication.
Reduced Blood Pressure
The Journal of the American Heart Association has research to show meditation reduces cardiovascular risks. It is the most cost effective and less invasive way to lower blood pressure, which aggravates underlying heart conditions such as atherosclerosis. (7)
Immediate Improvement in Concentration and Focus
The Columbia School of Professional Studies on the effectiveness of meditation shows an increase in focusing and maintaining concentration after using the simple meditation processes we outline below. (8) Concentration was measured by the time a person could fix attention on a particular point, such as a word, task, or object. The time one can focus is a high predictor of performance and learning success.
The benefits of meditation techniques can affect life immediately. Increasing our ability to focus increases our ability to learn and problem-solve.
Increase Immune System Response
With the global pandemic stretching out into the future, keeping your immune system operating at maximum efficiency is essential. What if I told you that meditation for just five minutes a day could help boost your immune system? Well, studies at Harvard Medical School prove this is the case. (9)
33 Benefits of Meditation Techniques
Here’s a list of the things that meditation can you for you. Then we’ll show you four easy ways to meditate.
1. Promotes lower resting heart rate
2. Reduces anxiety and stress
3. Enhance immune system function
4. Lowers harmful LDL and increases good HDL cholesterol
5. Reduce the overall effects of aging
6. Increase healing functioning
7. Reduce muscle tension
8. Reducing the number and severity of headaches
9. Reduce high blood pressure
10. Increase in energy levels
11. Improving the quality of sleep
12. Reduce the effects of depression
13. Increases brain coherence and functioning
14. Reducing phobias and fears
15. Treatment to overcome PTSD
16. Cultivates attention and focus
17. Promotes presence
18. Improve your overall cognitive ability
19. Break habitual behavior and addictions
20. Stabilizes emotional fluctuations
21. Increases oxytocin levels
22. Reduces adrenalin and cortisol levels
23. Increases creativity and intuition
24. Promotes self-care
25. Enhances your will-power
26. Promotes emotional health and reduces negative emotions
27. Promotes inner peace
28. Reducing your overall stress level
29. Encourages a healthier lifestyle
30. Increases patience and tolerance
31. Improves attention span and concentration
32. Increases memory and recall ability
33. Develops new neural connections
Four Easy Ways to Meditate
1) One Minute and Two Steps
Here’s an easy, powerful meditation technique that children as young as two can practice. Even a two-year-old can sit still for one minute and count to two. So, you have no excuse. But just because it’s super easy doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful because this little gem is the foundation for many other types of meditation.
The steps to this process are easy. The hardest part is scheduling time to do it. Even though you can do it for short periods of time, we often forget.
“Mindfulness isn’t so difficult. We just need to remember to do it.” ― Sharon Salzberg
Step one. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Don’t close your eyes now. Keep your eyes open for now so you can read the next step.
Step two. Observe your body and your breathing. Start by bringing your attention to your hands, move up your arms to your body, then down. Try not to interfere with your breath; “just observe.”
That’s it. In only one minute, you’ll notice the difference. It’s a technique a lot of professional athletes, and speakers use. They take a minute before they perform or speak to “get centered” and calm the mind. Try it now.
We also have a more detailed beginning meditation process script at this link.
2) Mindfulness Meditation
What is mindfulness?
What is mindfulness? It’s about being present, being aware, and being attentive. You use a “script” to become more mindful.
What are scripts? A script is a formula, like the two-step mediation method above. They are mind hacks that access the hidden powers of the mind. Some people refer to it as a guided meditation because you “guide the mind” rather than the Ego taking control.
How do you do it? The most effective methods build on the two-step process outlined above.
Seated Mindfulness —
Step one. The easiest way to enter is to sit your eyes closed. So, sit comfortably and close your eyes, just like you did with the two-step meditation process above.
Step two. Bring your awareness away from your regular thought life and observe your body and breathing. Does this sound familiar?
Step three. Your Ego is like a wild horse that likes to be in control. It will bring up thoughts, emotions, and unpleasant sessions in the body. We know this will probably occur.
Since the mind is like a wild horse, we will “gently” guide it back to observing the body and the breath. Eventually, the mind will see how good it is when it discovers the pace and contentment of just “being.”
The goal is to find that calm space with the mind focusing on our body and breath rather than internal dialogue. Once you can do this, you are ready for phase two, mindfulness in motion with your eyes open.
Moving Mindfulness Meditation
Step four. Open the eyes, but maintain your focus on the body and breathing. Your eyes will naturally be unfocused. If they try to focus on one thing, engage your peripheral vision. Now, with the eyes unfocused, stand up and make sure you feel balanced. Keep your attention on the body and breath, and take a step.
Now maintain control of your awareness and expand it to the outer world. You keep control of the mind by keeping it busy focusing on three things all at once: the body, the breath, and the external world. You’ll be surprised to find that your awareness can expand to hold these three elements with only a little practice.
When you use this technique in the natural environment, it becomes Forest Bathing. It’s the basis for the Japanese system of emotional health care. You enter a unique sacred space when focusing on the body, breath, and environment. It puts you in touch not only with nature but your intuition.
Take your practice to the next level with the Tree Grounding exercise and Tai Chi.
3) Body Scan Technique
Most people are so focused on the outside world and tasks that they overlook the messages our bodies are trying to tell us. Most people are only aware of babies when they are in pain. The body scanning method is an excellent process to use to get in touch with ourselves. It can help us identify the places that need attention. The process of scanning is also relaxing and helps release stress.
The “body scan technique” is something you can use when you lay down to rest or as you are going to sleep at night.
Body Scan Procedure:
1) Lay down on your back and get comfortable. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your body.
2) Start by sensing your toes and then your feet. Slowly move your attention from your feet up the legs. Go slow with the scan if you need to wiggle to get comfortable or feel what’s going on.
3) Continue up your body, first on your stomach and then your lower back. Keep moving your attention slowly up the body to your neck and then your head. Then sense down your arms to your fingertips.
The key is to go slow. Feel or sense your skin and the underlying tissue if you can. If or when you come to a painful or tense place, you can linger there and massage the area if necessary.
Most people find this simple procedure relaxing and an excellent daily routine for sleeping
4) Guided Meditation or the Shamanic Journey
The subject of guided meditation is one of the most asked-about spiritual technologies. All methods that involve guided imagery, creative visualization, and imagination have their roots in humankind’s first consciousness exploration process, the Shamanic Journey.
This method uses the rhythm of a drum and your imagination. You can also purchase audio tracks of different lengths from 5 minutes to an hour. When you begin, it’s helpful to have someone guide you, but once you know how you make the journey your own by creating your script.
What meditation Won’t Do
Meditation won’t make your problems disappear or make life easier, but it will give you a more stable mind to handle the increasing pressures of our modern world. The pandemic only raises the intensity and complexity of daily life. Meditation won’t solve these directly, but having a calm mind will help you find solutions.
The benefits of meditation techniques are greater with regular use. The more accustomed your mind becomes, the more benefits you harvest. If you are using them to assist with treating a health condition, talk with your treating physician about using them in a holistic treatment plan. Don’t substitute meditation for medication or other medical treatment unless your physician says it is okay to do so.
(1) The health benefits of meditation studies at The US Department of Health and Human Services:
(2) A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study.
(3) National Health Laboratory of Medicine, the National Institute for Health Research on memory improvement.
(4) Mass General, Depression Clinical & Research Program.
(5) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health on Meditation and its use in treating the side effects of cancer treatment.
(7) Journal of the American Heart Association on the health benefits of Meditation.
(8) Columbia Education, How meditation can improve focus and concentration.
(9) Harvard Medical School research on mindfulness and its effects on the immune system response.