With everyone trying to navigate all the chaos caused by COVID-19, meditation has been helping me now, more than ever. It's given me peace, serenity, and a general feeling of "everything's okay." I want to share that with you.
I posted on Instagram from Earth Blossoms Floral Design about how much meditation has been helping me and encouraged people to reach out if they had questions. A lot of you did, so here goes!
What is meditation?
Truth is, there are a few different definitions of meditation. However, I'm going to use the ones that apply to how I use this tool. Merriam Webster defines it as "to engage in contemplation or reflection." Another way they define it is, "to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness." I use it both ways. And, chances are according to the first definition, you've done it before too (with or without realizing it)! Often, the conception of meditation is being able to become thoughtless (but that's not quite accurate), which is why a lot of people think meditation is hard.
Benefits of meditation:
There are endless benefits to meditation. Some include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved blood circulation
- Spiritual advancement
- Lower heart rate
- Less perspiration
- Increased awareness
- Slower respiratory rate
- Less anxiety
- Lower blood cortisol levels
- More feelings of well-being
- Less stress
- Deeper relaxation
A lot of these benefits stem from the decreased cortisol levels, while other benefits stem from becoming more mindful and aware.
Types of Meditation:
We could go on and on here. And quite frankly, there are some types of meditation that don't quite fit into a category. We all think a little differently, so different types may work better for different people. There really are no rules when it comes to meditation. Check out a few different types to see what you're most comfortable with to start! Once you get more confident in your ability to meditate, explore other types to build your practice!
Concentration Meditation: This is when you concentrate on one thing the entire time, and when your mind wonders, you return back to this one thing (ex. your breath, a candle flame, the ocean waves, etc.).
Mindfulness Meditation: This is when you become an observer. You let thoughts come in and out of your mind, notice them without judgement, and let them pass. This can be a little more difficult to begin with, especially if you tend to have racing thoughts.
Guided Meditation: There are a lot of different subtypes when it comes to guided meditation, but a lot of people find guided meditation the easiest to start with. I typically suggest you don't start with guided meditation, because it can become easy to become dependent on someone else's voice guiding you the entire time. This is fine, but if you're in it for the long haul and want to master different types, I wouldn't necessarily start with this type.
Walking Meditation: This is how I started. I would take walks and not listen to any music. I would walk through nature and just observe. This is essentially what you do in mindfulness meditation, but within your mind.
Spiritual Meditation: This is when you set an intention or say a prayer to whatever your understanding of a higher power is, and then you meditate to connect to or deepen your connection with that higher power. You don't have to be religious for this type of meditation, although most religions incorporate some form of meditation into their practice. A lot of religions don't usually refer to it as meditation, necessarily.
Those are just some types of meditation, there are many more!
How do I start?
Head over to our blog post about How to Start Meditating. We have several suggestions there!