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From ancient tradition to trend – meditation

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Meditation originally comes from India and has now also arrived in society in the Western world. The relatively broad term includes various meditation and mindfulness techniques and has a lot of positive effects on health and well-being. Learn more about this popular meditation practice and how you can get started.

What is meditation?

Meditation is on everyone’s lips. Many people probably think of Buddhist monks sitting for hours in the typical lotus position, striving for enlightenment. This is not completely wrong, because meditation was originally a religious practice and already part of Indian culture 5,000 years ago, with mainly monks and scholars practicing it.

Some time later, meditation arrived in the Western world and the masses. Everyone has heard of it, has someone in their circle of acquaintances or has tried it themselves. To meditate means as much as to reflect or ponder. The goal is a deep focus, an inner peace in which the mind is awake and clear, but directed inward and centered. Through meditation, you learn to let your thoughts come and go freely, without holding on to them or judging them. 3 types of mental strength are emphasized: concentration, mindfulness, and compassion.

Different types of meditation

There are many different meditation practices, which have different goals. In a more original and Buddhist form, it is important to sit quietly and observe what thoughts, emotions, body and sensory perceptions are perceived. It is important to simply accept them, without any form of evaluation or judgment. Everything is allowed to be there, just as it is. Apart from the religious or spiritual context, meditation is mainly used for psychological and psychotherapeutic purposes. For example, Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn of Massachusetts University Medicine School founded mindfulness-based meditation. The essence of this form of meditation is similar to that of the original practice: mindfulness, in this sense, is used to become aware of experiencing and experiencing the present moment without judging any of it. The difference between the two types is that in mindfulness meditation there is no purpose such as enlightenment to be achieved. In our modern society, mindfulness-based meditation is widespread, but other forms such as walking or breathing meditation and bodyscans are also becoming increasingly popular.

Meditation is not a matter of faith - findings of brain research

Meditation and its effects have been a growing field of research for more than 15 years, producing more and more findings. In some studies it could be shown by means of imaging techniques that the functioning and structure of the brain changes through regular meditation. The exact effect varies from person to person, but the following advantages can be observed: First, the ability to concentrate and focus-related performance increases. Clear thinking becomes easier. Above all, meditation also has a positive effect on mental well-being. Patterns and reaction tendencies that have been ingrained over the years can be broken, because when meditating, one learns to perceive one’s own thoughts and triggers for feelings. This helps to better control one’s own feelings, impulses and behavior, making negative emotions less frequent and less intense. One broods less and becomes more calm. Furthermore, many studies have found that stress and anxiety can be reduced and positive personality traits are strengthened. All this leads to the improvement of interpersonal relationships, which in turn increases one’s own well-being. The effect of meditation is therefore manifold, the extent of the positive effects differs from person to person and depends on the meditation experience and regular practice.

How to get started with meditation

If you don’t have any experience yet, a meditation course for a longer period of time is a good idea. In this course you will be introduced to the subject, learn the basics and have a routine through the regular appointments, whereby the chance to stay on and to feel success is higher. There are certified courses where the health insurance companies cover part or all of the costs.

If you don’t want to take a class, audio instructions or apps can provide a framework for your regular meditation practice. You’ll find several guided meditations in the Teamfit app – give it a try. No matter which start you choose, don’t expect too much at the beginning. Noticeable effects don’t necessarily happen the first few times you try. Be patient and try to give meditation a fixed place in your daily life, e.g. with regular appointments or always directly after getting up. Find inner peace and more to yourself – you will not regret it.

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