Meditation is a form of spiritual practice. It is an exercise in silence, in simply being. Meditation is used for all kinds of purposes: to relax, to get to know yourself better and to learn to focus your attention. Many religions and beliefs are familiar with meditation in one form or another.
Meditation is best known from Hinduism and Buddhism, in which it is an essential method to achieve the purposes they describe. Meditation is a mental discipline that attempts to get beyond the conditioned, ‘thinking’ mind into a deeper state of self-awareness, and to free consciousness of associating and analyzing. There are many different meditation methods. In essence, meditation is the focus and possibly calming down of the mind and thus freeing consciousness.
Most people start to meditate with the motivation to reduce stress, relax the body, increase concentration, learn to let go of worrying thoughts, sleep better, become happier, get closer to their feelings or experience more inner peace. What is extra motivating is that many of the advantages attributed to meditation are scientifically substantiated. Meditation offers people an opportunity to escape from the continuous bustle.
Find a comfortable position, for example sitting cross-legged. An important aspect of the sitting position is to keep the spine straight: the head stays in line with the back. Then concentrate on breathing. Breathe quietly in and out. That’s all, you don’t have to think about anything. The power of meditation is precisely to become just free from thinking.
The result is less stress, resistance and tension. Meditation makes people calmer. In addition, meditation ensures that the outer layer (the cortex) of the brain areas becomes thicker. These are mainly areas of the brain in which self-control plays a role and are located in the forehead. The forehead areas together form the prefrontal cortex and play an important role in attention and sensitivity and processing of sensory input. Due to the thickening of the cortex, the areas function better.
Research has shown that meditation practitioners have more grey matter in various areas. The function of grey matter is processing of information and grey matter contains cell bodies of nerve cells. Meditation practitioners perform significantly better during a memory task. Research also demonstrates that practitioners of meditation can focus and remember new information better. Recent research shows that meditation causes pain reduction. Meditation is therefore applied in programs for chronic pain patients.
- Do you get distracted? Don’t care, you just pick up the concentration on your breathing again.
- Keep trying, don’t judge. After a while you notice that you can look at your thoughts from a distance and it gets less and less busy in your head.