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There is so much more to meditation than the average person realizes.
There are many physical as well as mental health benefits associated with meditating daily.
I will cover some of these, as well as look at some techniques that can be used to experience this amazing state of being.
First of all, what are the benefits of regular meditating?
There are a number of health benefits associated with regular meditation that are mostly anecdotal although a number of studies have been performed to confirm the numerous claims.
The most obvious physical health benefit that is confirmed by scientific study is that meditating regularly does reduce stress.
The numerous medical studies into the debilitating effects of excessive and prolonged stress on the body have highlighted and made it clear that this is a serious health problem to be tackled.
Long exposure to stress causes the body to become saturated with the stress hormone cortisol. One of the main properties of cortisol is, most notably, that it inhibits the body's immune system, allowing infection and disease to run rampant through the body.
Stress also accelerates cell aging, inhibits the body's repair mechanisms, inhibits the extraction of nutrients during digestion and promotes the storage of fat.
Reducing stress on a daily basis therefore brings a whole basketful of physical health benefits. But what about the mental benefits of meditating?
There are a number of documented mental benefits too. Of these, some of the more notable include a marked reduction in the instance of depression and anxiety. Since the process of mental focus and to a point, the reconciliation of the source of worry and fear accompany the meditative process, there becomes less necessity for developing fears into anxieties or problems into depression and so these two mental conditions fade away over time.
Regular mediation is also associated with improved mental faculties such as concentration, memory and reason allowing a person to become better at learning new skills, solving problems and remembering events. This is presumed to be a by-product of the mental cleansing and reorganizing process that occurs.
Another benefit is the clarity of mind experienced by regular meditators. This is conducive to better creativity and the formulation of ideas and plans, which are highly useful in forming strategies for growing financially as well as spiritually and improving certain areas of your life.
There are a number of similar techniques that you can use to help you achieve the state of meditation. Different people have their own preferred method, so I will share two of my own favorites.
The starting point is finding a quiet, draft-free and comfortably warm space that allows you to completely relax without there being any possibility of interruption or disturbance. No doorbells, phones, computing devices and handheld smart devices, alarms, sudden noises, other people that may walk in on you or anything that could break your mental poise or focus.
This point needs to be made because if there is any chance you could be disturbed, you will be aware of this unconsciously. There will remain a portion of your mental faculties alert to this possibility which may block your path to complete relaxation.
So begin in a place of quietness, peacefulness and calm where you can get into a comfortable, relaxing position that you can remain in for around 10-30 minutes. You can set yourself a conscious time limit if you want to.
You can do that by telling yourself something like, "I will return to full consciousness in 30 minutes." You choose the time that suits you. Or you can dispense with this altogether if you are able to spend as long as you want meditating without interruption.
The breath is a powerful tool at your disposal for all kinds of life changing techniques. One of those is aiding in achieving the meditative state.
In this case, start by consciously regulating your breath. Breathe in slowly and deeply, pause, then breathe out again just as slowly and deeply so that each inhalation and exhalation are of roughly equal length.
Maintain this breathing rhythm while simultaneously clearing your mind of all thoughts. This will happen naturally as you focus all your attention on your breathing and nothing else.
While your thoughts are occupied with the rhythm of your breathing, your emotional mind can get busy feeling the sensation of relaxation permeate throughout your body. The more you relax, the deeper you will retreat into your physical and mental center.
There will come a point in this procedure where you will no longer be consciously concerned with your breathing or anything else as all conscious mental activity becomes dormant.
You are, at this point in a healthy, deep state of meditation.
You will remain in this state until the time is right for you to return to normal conscious awareness. This will occur naturally and automatically, so there is no need to be concerned about the passage of time.
Another technique that works well for many people is to make use of a mantra, affirmation or repeated phrase designed and created beforehand that you can repeat to yourself in your mind as you physically relax.
Breathing slowly and rhythmically still has its place to aid in physical relaxation and helps greatly with focusing your mind away from extraneous stimuli or internal mind speak, which is why I covered it first.
The repetition of the mantra can also help you to resolve a problem if it is phrased as a question you want answered or to enhance your life in some way by using it as a statement you want to become a reality in your life. By focusing only on the mantra, you effectively shut out any other junk mind speak or inner conversation that provides you with no value.
As you progress using this technique, you will eventually cease to be consciously aware of the mantra or that you are even repeating it silently when you reach the point of deep meditative state.
Again, you will automatically return to conscious awareness when the time is right.
Once you have completed your meditating and are back at the point of full conscious awareness, you may want to stretch your arms and legs before getting up and returning to whatever it is that you will be doing next.
You will almost certainly feel quite exhilarated yet calm inside, happy and harmonious or full of energy and ready to take the rest of the day in your stride, as the post-meditation experience differs from person to person.
In any case, you will feel good and with a sense of better mental clarity. Some people experience a resolution to a problem during meditation and that can have a profound emotional effect post-meditation which can be cathartic or exhilarating or even relieving, depending on the experience.
The next thing to do is to get on with your day as normal and look forward to your next amazing meditation session!