Celebrated on May 21, World Meditation Day aims to create awareness about meditation and the various ways we can benefit from the practice and serves as a call to the world to clear its collective mind and spend a moment in peace. Evidence of meditation can be found in multiple cultures throughout history dating as far back as 5000 BCE (if not further) and incorporates the use of mindfulness, or focusing on an object, thought or activity. Derived from the Latin word meditatum, meditation is a technique or set of techniques used to attain a heightened sense of awareness and focus on reaching a calm and peaceful state on emotional, mental and physical levels.
It is estimated that between 200 and 500 million people worldwide practice meditation, no doubt due to the myriad of holistic benefits. Studies have shown that meditation is effective in reducing stress, anxiety and risk of heart attack, improving energy, memory and concentration. Meditation is thought to reduce insomnia by as much as 50%. Many of these benefits can be seen over time by practicing meditation every 1-3 days for about 10-20 minutes.
Whether you are brand new to meditation, dabble in it from time to time or incorporate it into your regular routine, here are 5 types of meditation practice that you can use to explore the concept, enhance your own practice and spread awareness to others:
Loving-kindness meditation This type of meditation focuses on cultivating feelings of loving-kindness to people, even a person’s enemies. Click here for a guided meditation on loving-kindness.
Body scan or progressive relaxation During this process, a person is encouraged to scan their body for tension areas and then release that tension. Click here for a guided body scan meditation.
Mindfulness meditation This type of meditation allows people to focus solely on the present instead of thinking about past or future occurrences. Click here for a mindfulness meditation.
Breath awareness meditation This meditation type allows people to focus on their breathing, counting their breaths while breathing in slowly and deeply. Click here for a breath awareness meditation.
Transcendental meditation This type of meditation is spiritual in nature, encouraging practitioners to focus on rising above their current state of being. Click here for an intro video to transcendental meditation.
Angela Carlson, LMHC, received her Master’s from Lesley University in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in expressive arts therapy. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings doing case management, crisis intervention, psychiatric day treatment, and therapy for individuals, groups, and families. She is experienced in providing services to people struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, substance abuse and addiction, dual-diagnoses, trauma and stressor related disorders, obsessive compulsive traits, borderline personality traits, eating disorders, and other mental health symptoms.
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