Stemming from Latin roots, meditate means to ponder. Having been practiced for well over thousands of years now, meditation was initially meant to help deepen the understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. Today, a number of meditation techniques are common practice as a stress reliever and relaxation method.
Generally, an internal, personal practice done with little to no external involvement, mediation involves conjuring a feeling or state of mind, such as compassion. With more than a dozen specific styles of meditation practices, it has components of numerous religious traditions for years and is gaining in popularity.
A 2007 study shows nearly 9.4% of U.S. adults had practiced meditation in the past 12 months. That’s ‘more than 20 million people. In 2002, a reported 7.6% were practicing.
Guided: forming mental images of places or situations you find relaxing using as many senses as possible.
Mantra: silently repeat a calming word, phrase, or thought to prevent distraction.
Mindfulness: based on being mindful and having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment.
Qi gong: combining meditation, relaxation, physical movement, and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance.
Tai chi: a form of gentle Chinese martial arts where you perform a self-paced series of postures in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
Yoga: performing a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind.
Finally, the benefits of meditation are countless, ranging from emotional to physical well being. Meditation helps you gain a new perspective on situations. And, research also suggests meditation can help with mental and anxiety disorders.