Related to meditation: transcendental meditationGuided meditation. Meditation benefits people with or without acute medical illness or stress. People who meditate regularly have been shown to feel less anxiety and depression. They also report that they experience more enjoyment and appreciation of life and that their relationships with others are improved. Meditation produces a state of deep relaxation and a sense of balance or equanimity.

According to Michael J. Baime, "Meditation cultivates an emotional stability that allows the meditator to experience intense emotions fully while simultaneously maintaining perspective on them.

This insight in turn offers the possibility to feel more confident and in control of life. Meditation facilitates a greater sense of calmness, empathy, and acceptance of self and others. Meditation can be used with other forms of medical treatment and is an important complementary therapy for both the treatment and prevention of many stress-related conditions. Regular meditation can reduce the number of symptoms experienced by patients with a wide range of illnesses and disorders.

Based upon clinical evidence as well as theoretical understanding, meditation is considered to be one of the better therapies for panic disordergeneralized anxiety disorder, substance dependence and abuseulcers, colitis, chronic painpsoriasis, and dysthymic disorder. It is considered to be a valuable adjunctive therapy for moderate hypertension high blood pressureprevention of cardiac arrest heart attackprevention of atherosclerosis hardening of arteriesarthritis including fibromyalgiacancer, insomnia, migraine, and prevention of stroke.

Meditation may also be a valuable complementary therapy for allergies and asthma because of the role stress plays in these conditions.

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Meditative practices have been reported to improve function or reduce symptoms in patients with some neurological disorders as well. These include people with Parkinson's disease, people who experience fatigue with multiple sclerosisand people with epilepsy who are resistant to standard treatment. Overall, a report to the National Institutes of Health on alternative medicine concluded that, "More than 30 years of research, as well as the experience of a large and growing number of individuals and health care providers, suggests that meditation and similar forms of relaxation can lead to better health, higher quality of life, and lowered health care costs …".

Meditation techniques have been practiced for millennia. Originally, they were intended to develop spiritual understanding, awareness, and direct experience of ultimate reality.

The many different religious traditions in the world have given rise to a rich variety of meditative practices. These include the contemplative practices of Christian religious orders, the Buddhist practice of sitting meditation, and the whirling movements of the Sufi dervishes.

Although meditation is an important spiritual practice in many religious and spiritual traditions, it can be practiced by anyone regardless of their religious or cultural background to relieve stress and pain. As Western medical practitioners begin to understand the mind's role in health and disease, there has been more interest in the use of meditation in medicine.And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. It takes consistent practice to get comfortable. It takes time to get comfortable with your mind. Keep practicing. Sign up for Headspace for freeand start reaping the benefits of meditation today. Download the Headspace app or sign up online to start meditating today.

What is meditation? Trouble meditating? Try for free. What is mindfulness? Meditation is a skill Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. The mind can be a weird place It takes time to get comfortable with your mind.

Learn more about meditation. How Headspace works How to meditate The many benefits of meditation Meditation Videos How to start a morning meditation practice How long does it take to form a habit? Mindful eating Guided meditation The benefits of daily meditation Meditation for stress Couples meditation Visualization meditation. Meditation Types of meditation How to find the best time to meditate What is mindful parenting?

Calming meditation Love meditation Meditation for confidence The best meditation positions Meditation and mindfulness exercises What is a flow state? Meditation for beginners Gratitude meditation How to relax Meditation for sleep Sleep by Headspace How to sleep better Sleep hygiene tips How to fall back asleep Body scan meditation to reduce stress. Basic meditation One-minute meditation 5-minute meditation minute meditation Meditation for relaxation Meditation for anxiety Meditation for anger Meditation for focus Meditation for a healthy body image Meditation for weight loss Meditation for compassion Meditation for kids Meditation for sports Meditation for walking Meditation for running 33 of the best meditation quotes Guided imagery Having trouble meditating?This is a guidebook to the many different styles of meditation, the various benefits of each practice, plus free guided audio practices that help you learn how to meditate.

How do you learn to meditate? This practice of returning to the breath builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness. When we pay attention to our breath, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose, without judgement.

In mindfulness practice, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose, without judgement. The idea behind mindfulness seems simple—the practice takes patience. Indeed, renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg recounts that her first experience with meditation showed her how quickly the mind gets caught up in other tasks.

And the most important tools you can bring with you to your meditation practice are a little patience, some kindness for yourself, and a comfortable place to sit. Welcome back. What happened? How long was it before your mind wandered away from your breath? Did you notice how busy your mind was even without consciously directing it to think about anything in particular?

Did you notice yourself getting caught up in thoughts before you came back to reading this? In a nutshell, meditation helps us have a much healthier relationship with ourselves and, by extension, with others. When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives. Here are five reasons to meditate : 1: Understand your pain 2: Lower your stress 3: Connect better 4: Improve focus 5: Reduce brain chatter. Meditation is simpler and harder than most people think.

You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.


Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath. Just come back. Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible.

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Try this 3-part guided audio series from Barry Boyce:. How long would you like to meditate? Sometimes we only have time for a quick check-in, sometimes we can dip in a little longer.


Meditating every day helps build awareness, fosters resilience, and lowers stress. Try to make meditation a habit by practicing with these short meditations from our Editor-in-Chief Barry Boyce.Meditation offers time for relaxation and heightened awareness in a stressful world where our senses are often dulled.

Research suggests that meditation has the potential for more than just temporary stress relief. Educators, spiritual leaders, and mental health experts have developed dozens of forms of meditation.

The variety suggests there is a form of meditation to suit most people, regardless of personality or lifestyle. For someone who meditates, the practice offers a chance to improve physical wellbeing, as well as emotional health. Loving-kindness meditation is also known as Metta meditation. While breathing deeply, practitioners open their minds to receiving loving kindness.

They then send messages of loving kindness to the world, to specific people, or to their loved ones. In most forms of this meditation, the key is to repeat the message many times, until the practitioner feels an attitude of loving kindness. Loving-kindness meditation is designed to promote feelings of compassion and loveboth for others and oneself.


This type of meditation may increase positive emotions and has been linked to reduced depressionanxietyand post-traumatic stress or PTSD. Progressive relaxation, sometimes called body scan meditation, is meditation that encourages people to scan their bodies for areas of tension.

The goal is to notice tension and to allow it to release. During a progressive relaxation session, practitioners start at one end of their body, usually their feet, and work through the whole. Some forms of progressive relaxation require people to tense and then relax muscles. Others encourage a person to visualize a wave, drifting over their body to release tension.


Progressive relaxation can help to promote generalized feelings of calmness and relaxation. It may also help with chronic pain. Because it slowly and steadily relaxes the body, some people use this form of meditation to help them sleep.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that urges practitioners to remain aware and present in the moment. Crucial to this is a lack of judgment. So, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a long wait, a practitioner will simply note the wait without judgment. Mindfulness meditation is something people can do almost anywhere.You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings.

Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration. Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. One study including over 3, adults showed that it lives up to its reputation for stress reduction 1. Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking. In an eight-week study, a meditation style called "mindfulness meditation" reduced the inflammation response caused by stress 2.

Another study in nearly 1, adults demonstrated that meditation may decrease stress. Notably, this effect was strongest in individuals with the highest levels of stress 3. Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia 45678.

For example, an eight-week study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety. It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks 9.

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Another study followed up with 18 volunteers three years after they had completed an eight-week meditation program. Most volunteers had continued practicing regular meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels over the long term A larger study in 2, participants also showed that a variety of different meditation strategies may reduce anxiety levels For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce anxiety.

This is likely due to benefits from both meditative practice and physical activity Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses Some forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life. Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4, adults 1 One study followed 18 volunteers as they practiced meditation over three years.

The study found that participants experienced long-term decreases in depression Inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress, can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may reduce depression by decreasing these inflammatory chemicals Another controlled study compared electrical activity between the brains of people who practiced mindfulness meditation and the brains of others who did not.

Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.


For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you. Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive patterns 1718 A study of 21 women fighting breast cancer found that when they took part in a tai chi program, their self-esteem improved more than it did than in those who received social support sessions Meditation and mindfulness are buzzwords these days for good reason.

Get expert insight here on meditation and its symbiotic relationship to yoga. Combine mantra with asana in the most hilariously brilliant way possible. Kirtan Kriya, a Kundalini Yoga meditation, can reverse cognitive decline when practiced daily. Try this practice to appreciate all the ways your senses help you experience world. Life can seem like one obstacle after the next.

How to Meditate

Here, Rosie Acosta offers up a minute practice to help you find healing. Sitting on your cushion can help your brain stay sharp as you age, and improve memory and focus. Here's how. Try creating intentions that are rooted in service to all. Plus, find 5 meditations to help you discover your life purpose.

Ask for love that's always there. This practice will connect you to the compassion and tenderness that is surrounding you. Here's what happened after a month of listening to soothing bedtime stories for adults. Poses by Anatomy. Poses by Level. The Yoga for You. Types of Poses. Yoga Sequences. Yoga by Benefit. Yoga for Beginners.

Intermediate Yoga. Advanced Yoga. Yoga History of Yoga.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you. We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what.

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Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities.

We will get through this together. Meditation has many benefits, relief from stress, anxiety and unnecessary thoughts being among them. If you want to get started in meditation, read this wikiHow article to learn more about it. Masha Kouzmenko. Our Expert Agrees: The less distractions you have when you're meditating, the better.

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If you have kids, for instance, you might try to wake up before they do, or you could meditate after they go to bed. That way, you'll have a little time for yourself. Breathe in and out through your nose, and focus your attention on your breath. If your attention wanders, simply bring it back to your breathing. Continue breathing until your timer rings.

For more advice, like how to wear comfortable clothing during your meditation, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No. Log in Facebook Loading Google Loading Civic Loading No account yet? Create an account. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. By using our site, you agree to our cookie policy.

Guided Meditations

As the COVID situation develops, our hearts ache as we think about all the people around the world that are affected by the pandemic Read morebut we are also encouraged by the stories of our readers finding help through our site. Article Edit. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Co-authored by Masha Kouzmenko Updated: April 8, This article was co-authored by Masha Kouzmenko. Masha Kouzmenko is a Meditation Coach and the Co-Founder of Silicon Valley Wellness, a company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides holistic health education services such as mindfulness meditation and yoga instruction to businesses.

She has over five years of meditation and yoga instruction experience and specializes in guided meditation. There are 5 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Explore this Article Preparing for Meditation. Meditation Exercises and Resources. Tips and Warnings. Things You'll Need. Related Articles. Article Summary. Part 1 of