On Meditation

|

,

The wikipedia describes meditation as “practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state”.

Meditation is practiced as religious traditions by Hindus, Buddhists and others for centuries as part of their path towards enlightenment and self realization. It’s reported that “earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana) come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism“.

In recent years, meditation is gaining popularity in non-spiritual context and reported to be “lot more mainstream” in the US.

Research

Meditation is reported to offer many benefits, such as helping with “concentration, relaxation, inner peace, stress reduction and fatigue”. Some research shows that it “reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and when combined with conventional medicine, meditation may improve physical health”.

Some research suggests meditation can help manage symptoms of conditions such as insomnia, heart disease, pain, cancer and digestive problems.

Mayo Clinic on Meditation

Meditation for Health

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the NIH has listed following 8 Things to Know About Meditation for Health:

  • For people who suffer from cancer symptoms and treatment side effects, mind-body therapies, such as meditation, have been shown to help relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, and general mood and sleep disturbances, thus improving their quality of life.
  • There is some evidence that meditation may reduce blood pressure.
  • A growing body of evidence suggests that meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms.
  • There is moderate evidence that meditation improves symptoms of anxiety.
  • Some studies suggest that mindfulness meditation helps people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but there’s not enough evidence to draw firm conclusions.
  • Overall, there is not enough evidence to know whether mind-body practices are as effective as other treatments to help people quit smoking.
  • There isn’t enough evidence to support the use of meditation for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Meditation is generally considered to be safe for healthy people.

Additional information on meditation: Meditation: In Depth | NCCIH

Meditation App

Just like anything else there are Apps for Meditation too. The PC Magazine, igeeksblog and The New York Times list their best meditation apps and the following three make into their recommended list.

  • Headspace: It’s is reported to be “the sixth most popular app in the Health & Fitness”. The App is a subscription service with a free (basic courses) plan and a 2-week free trial for Headspace Plus. It’s glorified by its developer as “gym membership for mind”. Its website has a very comprehensive educational resources on meditation with hundreds of sessions on sleep, focus, exercises, emotions, stress, anxiety and others. Subscription cost: $12.99/month. Explore additional resources > Headspace.
  • Insight Timer: It’s tagged as “the largest free library of guided meditations on earth”. According to its website, it has titles for improving sleep, coping with anxiety, and managing stress. It’s recommended by the Times “for time keeping & sharing with friends”. Cost: free; Premium version: $60 /year. Explore additional resources > Insight Timer
  • 10% Happier: This app is targeted to skeptic audiences with an aim to convincing them that “they can control their stress and anxiety through meditation”. The basics meditation lessons are free but the premium version which comes with personal coaching, video lectures, over 300 meditations, and more. Cost: Free; Premium: $99 annually. Explore additional resources > Ten Percent Happier

The following two meditation apps are also well received and are recommended.

  • Calm: This meditation app is selected bests by both PC Magazine & igeekblog. This is also a recipient of best Apple award winner for year 2017 & 2018. This app is suitable for beginners, intermediate & advanced users and described to “consists of several helpful breathing exercises, meditation sessions, and over 100 sleep stories to help you fall asleep with complete peace of mind”. Cost: free. Explore additional resources > Calm.
  • Whil: This is recommended by The New York Times. According Whil website, its mission is to “help people live healthier, happier and more engaged lives .. helping people improve their mental well-being, performance, relationships and sleep”. It can also be setup for family sharing, up to six members. Cost: free. Explore additional Resources: Whil website

While making decision which Apps to use, one needs to be a digitally-informed user by understanding privacy & data sharing policies of these apps.

This notes on Meditation & Mindfulness is work-in-progress. Information on guide to meditate and related resources will be described in a separate post.

Cover image by Pexels from Pixabay