Meditation is an ancient Eastern practice. In Western countries, meditation is becoming very popular as a tool to calm and focus the mind. Meditation can help you cope with everyday life, reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a type of mind–body or relaxation therapy.
During meditation, you concentrate your mind on one particular thing, such as your breathing, sounds, body movements or a
- mantra (chant).
What are the health benefits of meditation?
Meditation has both physical and mental health benefits. It can help you manage the symptoms of many health conditions, including:
Meditation can also have benefits for your mental health including helping to:
- manage stress
- increase self-awareness
- focus on the present moment.
How to meditate
Even though many different meditation techniques exist, the general idea is the same.
- Find yourself a quiet spot so that you don’t get easily distracted.
- Get settled into a comfortable position, such as sitting on a chair or lying on the floor.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus your attention on one thing, such as your breathing, the sounds around you or a specific object.
Meditation works best when it is done regularly, so it is best to keep practicing until you find a technique that suits you so that it can easily become a habit.
Tips to keep you going
Meditation can be done anywhere and you do not need much time. Try starting with one to two minutes each day, and then increasing the time gradually over weeks or months. It takes time, patience and practice to meditate.
If you need some help, try:
- doing a meditation course
- attending weekly meditation classes
- using a meditation DVD or YouTube video
- using a mental health app, such as Smiling Mind.
Last reviewed: March 2016