Meditation is the practice of reaching a heightened level of awareness. It allows you to tune into your thoughts without being consumed by them. This makes it easier to focus on what truly matters and gives you space to quiet your mind.
You may think of meditation and believe it has a religious or spiritual meaning, but that’s not always true. Many people, including agnostics, find meditation to be beneficial and use it when they need serenity.
There are several different types of meditation but here are a few of the most popular forms:
This is a form of meditation where a mentor or teacher encourages someone to visualize a certain outcome. For example, a basketball coach may have his players do a guided meditation where his players imagine winning the game.
Guided meditation can allow you to regain a sense of control in the face of setbacks. During an interview with Forbes, Michael Phelps shared that his goggles filled with water during the Olympic race. Other swimmers may have panicked.
But not Michael. He’d spent hours visualizing a successful outcome so he closed his eyes and started swimming. He completed the race, having won the gold medal and breaking the world record.
Mantra as Meditation
Some people find it helpful to spend their meditation sessions focusing on a mantra. The mantra can be any one that you choose. But it’s often helpful to create a mantra about an area of your life that you’re actively seeking to improve.
If you’re looking to lose weight, your mantra could be, “I choose to fill my body with nutritious foods.” If you’re looking to earn more money, your mantra could be, “I am worthy of wealth and spend my money wisely.”
During meditation, say the mantra to yourself out loud. If you find your mind drifting or you’re worrying about something, relax and keep repeating your mantra. It will get easier after a few sessions to stay on track.
Mindfulness as Meditation
Another form of meditation is mindfulness. It’s focused on staying in the moment without fear or judgement. Rather, you become an observer of your inner self.
As part of your mindfulness, you can sit or lie comfortably and listen to your thoughts. The key is not to react to what you’re thinking. For example, you think about cookies in the kitchen but then remember you’re supposed to be on a diet. You instantly feel guilt and shame.
In mindfulness, you could say, “I release this guilt and shame and open myself to joy and peace.” The more you practice mindfulness, the more you’ll become aware of how your thoughts are shaping your life.
There are many styles of meditation. Don’t feel bad if you try one method and don’t enjoy it. You may have to try a few different ones until you find the style that works best for you.