The most famous types of meditation and their effect on the organism

Mindfulness meditation

It is well known that meditation is one of the most effective activities for reducing stress and anxiety. Studies on the effect of meditation on stress confirm that with regular meditation, people have better results in stress multitasking tests , which assessed the degree of completion of the tasks in progress and the quality with which the participants completed them.


We have another piece of good news - you don't have to meditate for twenty years for positive results and effects . Meditation also brings immediate results. One twenty-minute meditation can promote relaxation and significantly reduce values ​​measuring current stress. [1] Even in people who have never meditated before.


When you google meditation, you get over three million results. There are many types and ways to quiet and calm your mind. In addition, we are all different - just as some people are inclined towards explosive sports full of dynamics and some people like to stretch their body during quiet yoga, our preferences differ in meditation as well. Whichever path you take with meditation, rest assured that it can help you deal with anxiety.


Let's now look together at the most famous types of meditation and their concrete effect on the organism. Maybe one catches your eye.

Focused attention

A common style of meditation that involves maintaining attention on an object, either internal (eg breathing) or external (eg a candle flame). The meditator tries to track their attention, notice episodes of distraction (mind wandering) and bring their attention back to the object. Focused attention is usually a good choice for beginning meditators.

Study-Backed Benefit: Focused meditation can help improve focus, maintain focus for longer, and learn to pay less attention to distractions. [2]

Open monitoring

The goal of this meditation is to bring attention to the present moment and openly observe the contents of the mind. Imagine a wave on the sea. It appears out of nowhere and in a few seconds it is just part of the ocean again. And that's exactly how thoughts work. Notice the thought, don't judge, don't criticize. Don't cling to her. Let her leave just as quietly as she appeared. Open observation meditation traditionally follows focused awareness as the practitioner learns to shift from a narrow focus of attention to a total awareness of the present moment.

Study-backed benefit: Open observation has a specific effect on creativity. A study confirmed that this type of meditation induces a state that promotes divergent thinking and allows the generation of many new ideas.

Divergent thinking refers to a thought process that leads to the emergence of a greater number of original solutions to problems.

Loving-kindness meditation

This meditation focuses on developing compassion and love for yourself and others. It gradually expands the focus of empathy to strangers and unloved individuals or even to all living beings. While loving-kindness meditation includes technical elements from focused attention and open observation, it differs from observing phenomena in one's own consciousness because of its emotional content.

Loving kindness meditation

Study-Backed Benefit: Given the nature of this meditation, it's no surprise that it causes an increase in daily experiences of positive emotions, increased life satisfaction, and reduced symptoms of depression. It has been shown to contribute to meaning in life, the development of friendships and better physical health over time. [3]

Mindfulness meditation

A group of practices focused on the cultivation of mindfulness, typically defined as a state of nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness meditation can refer to both focused attention practices and open observation practices. It can be awareness of the breath, active listening to the sounds of nature or sensing the touch of bare feet with the ground (grounding).

Study-Backed Benefit: Mindfulness meditation training improves focus and cognitive performance. A randomized controlled trial showed that a few weeks of mindfulness training helped people focus better, reduced distracting thoughts, and improved GRE scores. [4]

You can read more about Mindfulness in this article .

Mantra recitation

A style of meditation that involves repeating a sound, word, or sentence, either out loud or in the mind, with the goal of quieting the mind and avoiding distractions. Although mantra recitation is probably a form of focused attention meditation, it is distinguished by its speech component and may have a distinct connection to multiple brain centers.

Research-backed benefit: It is thanks to the connection of the brain centers and the synchronization of both brain hemispheres that the recitation of the mantra leads to a transition from faster brain waves to slower ones. This results in a deepening of relaxation states.
Several studies have confirmed that mantra meditation is effective in reducing the symptoms of cardiovascular problems such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and other risk factors. [5]

Movement meditation

In today's busy times, when we can't calm down and concentrate as much, meditation in motion can be an easier choice. In its deepest essence, it includes any movement made consciously. The mindfulness technique mentioned above is an important part. Notice how your muscles move and contract, notice the feeling you get when your feet touch the floor. Notice the parts of the body that you normally ignore - the elbow, the face, the hip... You can also notice the speed of your breath, your heartbeat and other sensations.


Research-backed benefit: Research shows that meditative movement has beneficial effects on a number of sleep-related indicators. In addition to sleep, it has a positive effect on improving physical performance, depression, and the overall quality of life . [ 6 ]

Conclusion

Maintaining a long-term meditation practice is extremely challenging, but thanks to science, we know what benefits it brings for individuals. At the same time, it turns out that even short meditations have an immediate positive effect on mood, stress, attention and creativity.

Have we enticed you? Or is meditation already an invaluable part of your life?

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