Understanding meditation Meditation is considered a type of complementary mind-body medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a calm mind. During meditation, attention is focused and the stream of cluttered thoughts that may be cluttering the mind and causing stress is eliminated. Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins with the development of kind thoughts and feelings towards oneself.
A study of 100 adults randomised to a programme that included loving-kindness meditation found that these benefits were dose-dependent. These benefits also appear to accrue over time with the practice of loving-kindness meditation (3.Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first towards oneself and then towards others. Metta increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behaviour towards others. Mantra meditation is a method of meditation that uses the repetition of phrases (mantras) to promote concentration and intention.
Some research suggests that meditation practice can reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia. Evidence on its effectiveness for pain and as a treatment for smoking cessation is unclear. You can download the free PDF here. While meditation has recently gained popularity in the United States.
The practice has been associated with religious traditions, especially Buddhism. Meditation was used throughout Asia, but eventually began to make its way to other parts of the world during the 20th century. In the West it came to prominence during the 1960s and 1970s and was often associated with hippie culture. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, a physician at the Harvard Medical Institute, introduced a meditative practice he called "The Relaxation Response".
From generalised anxiety disorders to phobias, panic disorders, obsession and bipolar mood swings, the daily practice of meditation helps regulate irrational emotional ups and downs. Starting the day with a 20-minute meditation practice activates the parasympathetic nervous system and releases energy-boosting endorphins that make us feel more enthusiastic and refreshed throughout the day. A study conducted by Filip Raes on 400 adolescent students in Belgium showed that when they participated in mindful meditation programmes, they had a marked reduction in depression, negative thoughts and stress for up to six months after the training (Ramel, Goldin, Carmona and McQuaid, 200.). One experiment showed participants images of other people who were good, bad or neutral in what they called "compassion meditation".
A growing number of studies have shown that, given its effects on the self-control regions of the brain, meditation can be very effective in helping people recover from various types of addiction. Once spiritual bliss is perceived, meditators naturally become addicted to the process in order to maintain that blissful state. A study of 60 people being treated for alcohol use disorder found that the practice of transcendental meditation was associated with lower levels of stress, psychological distress, alcohol cravings and alcohol consumption after 3 months (3.For example, if you are a beginner, meditating every day for half an hour would be virtually impossible. Meditation can have a wide range of benefits, but there are also some potential dangers to be considered.
There is growing interest on the part of educators and researchers in bringing meditation and yoga to school children, who face the usual stressors within school and often additional stress and trauma outside of school. On the other hand, if your goal is to eliminate stress by meditating, a weekend retreat may not be as helpful to you as daily practices. Whether or not meditation contributes directly to addiction control is still a matter of research, but the impact of meditation in bringing about positive mental change in addicts is undeniable and universally accepted. The results of the study showed a marked decrease in crime rates in the experimental group that meditated regularly, while the control group showed no visible change in criminal history, strongly suggesting the role that group meditation played in curbing social threat.