Meditation has real, practical benefits for your body and mind, but there are lots of types to try. Knowing the specific effects of each of these popular types of meditation can help you narrow down which ones may be best for you.
A study in the journal Mindfulness tracked 229 participants over a 9 month period as they learn and practice meditation for the first time. In general, participants felt more energized and focused after practicing meditation, but each type also had different effects.
- Breathing Meditation: Where you focus on your breathe, is a good base to build towards other types of meditation. This type of meditation improves your focus and ability to be less distracted by thoughts.
- Body Scan: Move from your head to your toes, focusing on one body part at a time. Boosts your awareness of your body and how you feel about it. May also decrease your negative thoughts overall.
- Loving-Kindness: Start with focusing on the warm feelings you feel for a loved one, then expand that feeling out to others in your life, including those you have negative feelings about. Increases positive thoughts and feelings of warmth towards others.
- Observing-Thought: Noticing thoughts as they arise, labeling or acknowledging them, and then moving on. Helps you become more aware of your thoughts in general and be less distracted by your thoughts.
None of these findings are particularly surprising, but if you have something specific you’d like to work on through meditation, such as boosting your positive thoughts and feelings toward others or being more in touch with your own body, picking the right type of meditation can fast track you to your goal.
How to Choose a Type of Mindfulness Meditation | Greater Good
Image from Pawel Maryanov.
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