Meditation is a period of relaxed contemplation, usually to achieve some benefit or goal such as increased spiritual awareness, relaxation, or intellectual fulfillment. The term is a broad one, and can characterize a wide variety of practices ranging from deep breathing to inducing a state of altered consciousness. It often, though not always, requires a specific posture and breathing pattern.
History of Meditation
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and many religious traditions have used some variety of meditation. Buddhist meditation is perhaps the best-known form of meditation, and has heavily influenced Western meditation practices. Buddha emphasized that meditation could help a person develop serenity and insight.
Modern meditation as practiced by many in mainstream U.S. culture often focuses on attaining calmness and mindfulness and is not necessarily designed to seek religious enlightenment. Deep-breathing and focus on a single object or a complete emptying of the mind may be involved.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been advocated for in alternative medicine for many years, and there are several studies demonstrating that it can cause positive physical and psychological changes. In some people, meditation can help reduce asthma, allergies, high blood pressure, and pain. Many advocates of meditation point out that the state of the mind affects the state of the body, and that a peaceful mind can enable the body to heal itself.
Role in Psychotherapy
Many psychotherapists incorporate meditation and other mindfulness techniques into their practice. Therapists who recommend meditation may teach people simple deep-breathing techniques or encourage specific meditation practices such as Zen yoga or repeating mantras. Meditation is particularly effective at easing the symptoms of anxiety, and people with posttraumatic stress may be able to reduce the frequency of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks with meditation. People struggling with substance abuse problems may use meditation to reduce their cravings, focus on healing, and increase self-awareness and self-esteem.
- Mayo Clinic. (2011, April 21). Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070
- Moore, A. (2009). Meditation. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing Group.
Last Updated: 08-11-2015
TriciaNovember 16th, 2015 at 10:37 AM
Can someone please recommend some meditation CDs that would be good for meditation. I’m one of those people that cannot meditate in silence, and most of the meditation music I’ve heard is too inconsistent towards relaxation.
Please! please! Any ideas of names!
marvin g.October 2nd, 2016 at 11:25 AM
try listening to Sade she is really good and her music is often soft and silky
MellissaSJanuary 30th, 2017 at 7:29 AM
How about enigma with the sing “sail away” or some slow jams”
Cody C.February 9th, 2017 at 1:09 PM
Have you looked into Binaural Beats Meditation? It’s a technology where you listen to a calm mp3 file and it helps your brain relax by teaching it how to respond. Some expert meditators call this cheating, but I find it nice when it’s hard to focus or sit still. Check out binauralbeatsmeditation.com or ennora.com. You do have to pay about $10 per “song,” but these are supposed to be the more effective, affordable ones. If you look hard enough, you’ll also find some free ones, but they may or may not be high-quality.
Dr.Stephen WongApril 15th, 2017 at 12:55 AM
Mindfullness based intervention needs to understand the philosophy of Buddha.
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