Guided meditation has been a feature of certain cultures and circles for millennia, but it’s only recently caught on in terms of mainstream popularity. Evidence suggests a positive influence on hippocampal function can help improve learning and memory. Many more people have been integrating meditative practices into their daily lives, and even some schools and corporations have applied it to various curricula and workplace programs to improve student/employee performance.
The Mayo Clinic reports that meditation can help instill a deep state of relaxation and lessen the effects of stress to improve emotional well-being and overall health. Meditation isn’t simply sitting in a dark room and closing your eyes while paying attention to your breathing—there are multiple forms of meditation and here are a few you can do right now:
1. Mindfulness meditation is a process where a person puts themselves into a state of greater awareness of themselves and their being in the world. It focuses on the experience of meditation, such as the flow of breath or feeling of clothing on your skin.
2. Guided meditation, also called visualization, prompts people to form mental images of places or situations they find relaxing. It emphasizes various sensations and senses such as sight, sound, texture, taste and scent, asking practitioners to simulate the experiences and live them in the present moment to improve mood.
3. Yoga is one of the more popular forms of meditation that has made it into the global zeitgeist, and for good reason. The controlled breathing and adherence to forms and postures help people develop flexible bodies on top of adaptive minds.
4. Prayer is something you might be surprised to see here, but it’s a genuine form of meditation and connection as well. It’s similar to mantras in secularism, with both resulting in an overarching sense of peace. You don’t have to follow a predetermined prayer or mantra—feel free to create your own.
5. Reflection on reading materials is something many people already seem to do without realizing its meditative qualities. It doesn’t have to be in the context of sacred texts; poetry or fictional works can just as easily evoke the same outcome and being that can help foster emotional development and personal growth.