MEDITATION & MENTAL HEALTH
by Annie Saxena on Feb 09, 2023
“The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.”
– Dr. P. Goldin
Meditation is often considered synonymous to mental health. Meditation is the practice of deep thinking and focusing on one’s mind for a certain period of time. There are various forms of meditation like mindful meditation, spiritual meditation, focused meditation, movement meditation etc. and the ultimate goal of any type of meditation is to attain a feeling of complete relaxation and inner peace. Mindful meditation is the most popular form of meditation that can help with gaining inner peace. There is also a lot of research that proves how meditation can help with mental health.
In today’s modern and fast paced world, stress is a normal part of everyday life. A number of adverse health effects such as headaches, muscle pain or tension, fatigue, anxiety, and sleep deprivation have been associated with stress. Unmanageable stress can also increase the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and more. Managing stress is extremely essential to maintain overall health and one positive and effective way to do this is to simply practice meditation.
Meditation has been practiced around the world since the past thousands of years, however it has only recently become a popular topic among practitioners of conventional medicine. This is because research has shown that meditation does not only make one feel calmer or less stressed but also has physical benefits that have been backed up by clinical evidence. According to a number of studies, meditation can help people sleep better, cope with symptoms associated with mental disorders like depression and anxiety, reduce some psychological difficulties associated with chronic pain and even improve some cognitive and behavioral functions.
Individuals face a lot of issues related to mental health such as irregular sleep or insomnia, depression, anxiety, chronic pain caused by bad thoughts, and more. Meditation has found a way to deal with and cure a lot of these concerns and significantly improve mental health. Disturbed sleep is extremely common, however studies have shown that meditation can help get better, more sound sleep. Various studies have also proved the success of mindfulness meditation on depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Meditation might not be specifically effective at completely eliminating chronic pain, however it does improve the mental health of those who are dealing with it and help them cope better. Thus successfully proving that meditation does have benefits for mental health. Furthermore, it is important to understand and realise that meditation can be practiced without any fear of side effects or adversities, making it a suitable option for many. There’s also some research that suggests meditation can help with managing negative emotions such as anger and fear.
In today’s time and age where we all are dealing with a global pandemic as we stay home and isolate ourselves from the outside world, it is natural to feel a mix of many emotions. One might feel low and sad, others might feel anxious about the future or experience difficulty in sleeping. Practicing meditation as we stay home is the ideal way to cope with the difficult times. As a beginner, if you wish to practice meditation at home, one can follow certain steps without professional help. The most simple way of meditating in the most basic yet effective manner includes concentrating on your breath by sitting or lying in a comfortable position of your choice. The idea is to simply concentrate on inhaling and exhaling and focusing on your body’s movement as you do so. One can also practice concentration meditation by themselves, this requires us to focus on a particular point; such as following your breath, chanting a word or focusing on one point like a candle flame. This allows you to refocus on your awareness and let go of random thoughts by concentrating on the important ones.