Meditation has its origins in Buddhist teaching – and yet it does not have to have much in common with religion or esotericism. For this reason, more and more people meditate who have nothing to do with spirituality.
But despite everything, many people still inevitably associate meditation with religious practice and assume that everyone who meditates is highly spiritual or even esoteric. But that’s not the case. Because meditating is suitable for everyone. Strictly speaking, meditation means nothing other than being in the here and now. The purpose of meditation is to turn inwards, to hide the outside world with all its charms as well as possible, and to accept everything that is in us at that moment.
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What is meditation? The most common mistakes
One of the most common mistakes of meditation is that it means not thinking about anything. That is wrong.
Anyone who has ever tried to think of absolutely nothing knows how difficult it is – almost impossible. The thoughts creep into our heads automatically again and again. This is because our brains are made for thinking. If we try compulsively not to think, exactly the opposite of what meditation is supposed to do happens. We put ourselves under pressure and become quite relaxed.
So meditating does not mean trying violently to switch off all thoughts. Meditating means watching your thoughts and not evaluating them. Whenever a thought comes up, we just let it be. We don’t suppress it – but at the same time, we don’t deepen it. As soon as we realize that there is a thought, we accept it and return our attention to our breathing.
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The effects of meditation: the results of research
The results of scientific studies are unequivocal: meditation changes our bodies and minds, all of them positively. I have summarized the most important and interesting results for you in this article.
Increase in positive emotions and relief from depression
The University of Pennsylvania examined the effects of an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR), which consists of predominantly meditative practices. There was a significant relief from depressive symptoms. Other studies came to similar results. By focusing on the present moment, meditation breaks the spiral of thought, and depression can be alleviated.
Of course, you don’t have to be depressed to benefit from meditation. In healthy subjects, studies showed an increase in positive emotions. Happiness hormones, the so-called endorphins, are released during meditation. The serotonin level increases and we become happier.
Relief of fears and restlessness
Worries and fears mostly relate to the past or the future, but not to the present moment. While we meditate come fears and concerns so not even on. It is above all the focus on our breathing that calms us down and reduces our existing fears. With meditation, we can significantly reduce inner restlessness and anxiety – with regular meditation even in the long term. This finding has also been confirmed by numerous studies.
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