Deep Meditation – Why You Should Be Meditating
For those of us with insanely busy lives, meditation may seem like a foreign concept—just sitting and doing nothing? Come on, I have STUFF to do. But deep meditation can be a great stress reliever and help you feel less anxious and tense, as well as being a remedy for high blood pressure and depression; in other words, it is a really great way to spend a 20 minute break. It can even help you carry out the rest of your day more effectively!
How to Do Meditation: The Basics
Meditation is actually quite simple, however, our busy lives have programmed us to always be on the go, which is the opposite of meditation. Therefore, most of us must be taught how to properly relax to facilitate meditation.
Sit in a straight-backed chair (not an armchair—it’s too easy to fall asleep) and place your hands in your lap.
Focus on the numbers as you count down from 5 to 1, 10 to 1, etc. This helps clear your mind of complicated issues and center your mind
Proper breathing is key to deep meditation and can be extremely powerful even when practiced by itself with no other meditation techniques. Take deep breaths from the abdomen, filling your lungs up as much as possible with fresh air. Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, each time taking deep breaths. Do this several times until you feel calm and at rest.
Focus on the now
Focus on your hands. Feel your hands and be aware of their condition. This may seem silly, but it keeps you in the present instead of dwelling on memories from the past. Pay attention to your physical state and the physical sensations that you experience as you sit quietly, breathing deeply and slowly. Our stress most often comes from the intangible or unknowing; focusing on our physical presence is the opposite of this.
Guided meditation is a type of meditation that is done with the help of either an instructor or a guided meditation recording. Doing guided meditation is a great choice for someone new to meditation or someone who simply has trouble reaching a clear-minded state on their own. Guided meditations can be tailored for different purposes, such as empowerment, emotional healing, relaxation, and spiritual development and last anywhere from 5 minutes to one hour; typically sessions of more than 15 minutes are recommended for those who want to truly find themselves in a deeply relaxed and meditative state. Guided meditations often use imagery, either instructor or listener-created, or focus on the body in order to relax it. If you are interested in guided meditation, there are plenty of sources for them on the internet. YouTube.com has several podcasts of guided meditations that are extremely relaxing and helpful to the mind and spirit. If you don’t mind paying for guided meditations, Amazon.com has many different options available, all focusing on different aspects of life, such as weight loss, attracting a partner, attracting a dream job, speeding up your metabolism, ending a chocolate addiction, self healing, astral projection, learning to trust, learning to say no, boosting your self esteem, being more outgoing, etc.
Alpha meditation is one of the most interesting forms of deep meditation as it taps into a conscious state that is between being fully awake and almost asleep. Brain waves slow themselves to half of their normal frequency at the alpha level, putting the brain in a relaxed, comfortable state that usually coincides with deep, restful sleep. To reach the alpha state, begin by breathing slowly, visualizing that you are inhaling positive energy and exhaling negative energy. Then, imagine a lovely white, warm light entering your body through your toes. As it moves up your body, it makes your torso and limbs feel heavy and relaxed. Let the imagined light pass through you until your entire body is relaxed, feeling heavy, and getting more so with every breath you take. You are now in the alpha state.
Once in the alpha state, your subconscious is open to suggestion; it will accept notions that it otherwise be unwilling or hesitant to accept. Think of this like dreaming: during your normal, waking hours, it may seem weird, but when you are asleep and dreaming, it is perfectly logical that a carrot, abandoned by its parents, would purchase a top hat and cane and enter show business or that a giant hamburger would go on a rampage and stomp people like godzilla. In the same way, during alpha meditation, your subconscious is moldable; you can make suggestions to it, even setting up a system to make it easier to induce the alpha state, or to train your subconscious to not be bothered by noise and distraction. It is a truly powerful tool.
Benefits of Deep Meditation
Regularly meditating can have a positive impact on your life:
- Increases memory
- Improves attention
- Increases positive emotions, life satisfaction, resilience, and immune function
- Decreases pain and inflammation
- Boosts social connection
- Improves compassion and empathy
- Increases gray matter, cortical thickness, and brain volume.
- Decreases anxiety, stress, depression, and feelings of loneliness.
Seriously, Stop Reading This and Go Meditate
The next time you’re feeling overworked, overstressed, undervalued, and just run down and rough in general, consider using meditative techniques to regain focus and energize your body, mind, and soul. You’ll feel rested and relaxed and able to approach the rest of your daily tasks with a renewed vigor. These are also helpful techniques if you have problems falling asleep or sleeping restfully you’ll find that doing alpha meditation or guided meditation will enhance your sleep and help you wake up feeling more rested.