Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in the eastern cultures and many of their healers believe that it has significant benefits to your health and wellbeing. There are many different types and forms of meditation and it can get quite complicated. Perhaps it is best at the start to stick with a simple approach as there are many very easy exercises you can do almost anywhere and anytime.
So what is meditation and what is its ultimate purpose? Well, the simplest definition may be that it is the pursuit of a quiet mind. Many people believe that a silent mind is also the least stressful and also may have great health benefits. Each day more people discover meditation and report great health benefits as far as a greater sense of wellbeing however there are few official scientific studies done to verify the effectiveness of meditation.
In fact, many scientists are just beginning to research the correlation between meditation and improved health. There are however many peer reviewed articles that have been published on the relationship between meditation and reducing stress or decreased symptoms of disease.
So it does require some faith on your part to at least try some meditative practices and experience the benefits for yourself before you decide that it does not work just because there are not many ‘official’ scientific studies done on it yet. The Chinese and other eastern cultures have been quietly reaping the potentially huge benefits of meditation for thousands of years and the west is only just beginning to catch up.
A simple meditation exercise involves concentration on your breathing. Simply turn your mental focus to your breath as you inhale and then exhale normally. The key is to only think about the breath and nothing else. The idea is to develop a silent mind that is focused on something neutral like the breath. If you like you can instead focus on the tip of a pen or anything that is neutral and does not incur great emotions. You can do this for around ten minutes or so each day or whenever you feel you need to get rid of some stress.
You will find that at the start there will be many other distracting thoughts entering your mind. When this happens just return your focus back on the breath or whatever neutral item you chose. The more you do this the easier it becomes to get that state of a silent mind. You will find that this state of a quiet mind is very relaxing. It is a fantastic way to reduce stress and as we all know, stress can have significant negative effects on your health so this is perhaps one the greatest benefits of meditation.
A few studies have been done at several universities on the effects that transcendental meditation can have on your physiology, psychology and sociology. It is actually one of the most studied forms of meditation. Some of their findings show that this kind of meditation can improve your mental abilities such as increasing intelligence, creativity and learning ability.
Other documented benefits of transcendental meditation include reduced stress, less incidence of disease, improved cardiovascular health and increased longevity. Some sociological benefits include better self confidence, less anxiety and improved job performance.
There are many books written on this type of meditation and how to perform it so it could be a good idea to learn more about this type of meditation as it seems to offer many health benefits. Other kinds of meditation include zen meditation and chakra meditation. Practice meditation regularly as part of an overall program that includes proper diet and exercise habits so you can be and stay healthy.