Research suggests that adding mindfulness and meditation into our routine can have a multitude of benefits for the body and mind. Even those who don’t think of themselves as ‘spiritual’ tend to experience a sense of well-being, focus and deep relaxation.
At Ar Holistic Therapies, our goal is to introduce more people to this amazing practice. Through our guided meditation sessions, hosted in Bradford, West Yorkshire, we will lead you through a process that allows you to release negative emotions, resulting in a refreshed and self-assured state of mind. Free yourself from harmful thought patterns and limiting beliefs, and reclaim full control over your life.
If you’re interested in discovering the power of your own mind, contact us.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the process of fully engaging in the present moment, focusing entirely on what is happening right now without being distracted by the past or future. It involves calmly observing your own thoughts and training your brain to slow down and concentrate, rather than anxiously jumping from one thought to another.
Just like any skill, meditation improves with practice, although achieving “perfect” meditation is not the goal since thoughts will always arise. What truly matters is becoming less affected by these thoughts and not allowing them to control you.
You might think that meditation is only for bald Tibetan men who have no worries in the world. You might assume that “sitting down doing nothing” couldn’t possibly have any real benefits, especially when health organizations warn us about sitting too much. However, it appears that those composed monks might be onto something.
One crucial purpose of meditation is training the brain to maintain focus. This ability to process and ignore distracting thoughts is particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Surprisingly, studies have shown that even just a week of practice can significantly enhance cognitive abilities. Meditation has also been found to improve working memory, even in high-pressure situations.
Contrary to the misconception that meditation is about avoidance, it is highly effective in helping us address the challenges we encounter in life. It can help us recognize that many circumstances that make us feel bad are beyond our control.
Furthermore, meditation has been observed to stimulate brain growth. Despite sounding strange or unbelievable, it has been scientifically proven to reverse the thinning of the frontal cortex that typically occurs with age. This means that we can maintain better language and cognitive abilities for a longer duration of our lives. Additionally, meditation thickens areas of the brain associated with attention and memory, leading to improved cognitive performance.
Research has demonstrated that meditation enhances immune response. For instance, one study revealed that meditators who received the flu shot had more antibodies in their blood. These benefits persisted in the body even months after regular meditation practice had ceased. Moreover, meditation’s stress-reducing effects may contribute to alleviating symptoms of various medical conditions, ranging from heart ailments and cancer to asthma and chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation can reduce the direct experience of physical pain by up to fifty percent and indicate that it can enhance the effectiveness of traditional medical treatments when used in conjunction with them.
Practitioners of meditation often report an increased sense of energy. If you find yourself feeling excessively tired or in need of a nap, meditation can serve as a suitable alternative to boost your energy levels and focus. Additionally, meditation can enhance alertness.
The ability to lose oneself in meditation is a valuable skill for those struggling to disconnect from the world and cope with external pressures. The harmonious state of flow experienced during meditation can enhance joyfulness. I often refer to this feeling as being ‘in the zone,’ which you may have previously experienced while engaging in activities you enjoy, preparing for a project, or participating in a competitive sport. This is the blissful sensation that accompanies deep meditation.
Another significant benefit of meditation is its capacity to cultivate compassion. Through meditation, we can work towards building stronger, more empathetic relationships. Loving-kindness meditation, in particular, enables us to develop compassion for all sentient beings. It is crucial to have compassion for ourselves and others to achieve self-acceptance and forgiveness. By acknowledging the reasons behind someone’s actions, we can cultivate empathy and understand what may have motivated them to hurt us. This benefits all parties involved.
Certain spiritual traditions suggest that meditation can progress in stages with practice, gradually providing deeper insights into one’s being. Other traditions speak of enlightenment, which is a somewhat elusive concept. Nevertheless, the idea of understanding the mysteries of the universe through meditation is awe-inspiring to contemplate. The sense of freedom one might experience upon reaching enlightenment is something that can only be imagined. Whether you believe in the concept of enlightenment or not, it can serve as an exciting incentive for meditation. If it raises questions that make you uncomfortable, consulting a spiritual guru may be helpful on your meditation journey.
Why guided meditation?
Meditation is a powerful tool in improving your health, relationships, and lifestyle, but it can be hard to make it into a habit; sometimes, people new to it get turned off because they don’t see immediate results. It can also be uncomfortable initially as it involves sitting with many negative thoughts and feelings that you may have been living with for years. People often struggle to open their minds up past this resistance. Guided meditation involves meditating while being in the presence of a trained practitioner or teacher. This can be done via written text, recorded audio or audiovisual media. This process is beneficial if you are new to meditation as it allows for results in the fastest way.
This is where guided meditation comes in. This involves some sort of outside help to push you in the right direction. Like a driving instructor teaching his student to drive, it’s the same thing. A teacher can show you the mistakes you are making and get you results much faster. They will understand the techniques and signs of what you are going through and help you develop your new skill.
After a while, once you have got past the initial uncomfortable phase of meditation, you will start to look forward to it; you will want that 20 minutes to relax, observe your thoughts and become more aware. Guided meditation can get you there much faster with a lot less frustration.
The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are harmful, and 95% are the same repetitive thoughts as before. Of these repeated thoughts, 80% are negative.
Discover the powerful concept of clarity and end these negative thoughts.