Meditation Challenges

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In this guide:
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Invite your friends, family, or community to meditate with you. It’s a blast, and you’ll even earn rewards!

INTRO

What is Meditation?

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Meditation is a practice of focusing the mind and calming the body in order to achieve a state of relaxation and increased awareness. It is a way to quiet the mind and gain a sense of inner peace and clarity. 

 

Meditation can be practiced in many different ways, such as focusing on the breath, repeating a mantra, or gazing at an object. It can be done in a seated position, lying down, or even while walking or engaging in other activities. 

 

The techniques and methods used in meditation can vary widely. Some people may prefer to meditate alone, while others may prefer to participate in group meditation sessions. 

 

There is no one “right” way to meditate, and what works best for one person may not work for another. Experiment to find the approach that works best for you.

Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is believed to have numerous health benefits ranging between mental and physical health.

Mental Health Benefits

Reducing stress and anxiety

Meditation can help to calm the mind and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Improving sleep

Meditation can help to relax the body and mind, which can improve sleep quality.

Improving mental clarity and focus

Meditation can help to improve mental clarity and focus, which can be helpful for tasks that require concentration.

Enhancing self-awareness

Meditation can help to increase self-awareness and understanding of one’s own thoughts and emotions.

Promoting feelings of well-being

Meditation can contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness.

Reducing symptoms of depression

Meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and improve mood.

Improving memory and cognitive function

Meditation may help to improve memory and cognitive function, including decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Physiological Benefits

Reducing pain

Meditation has been shown to reduce the intensity of chronic pain, including low-back pain, headaches and arthritis.

Lowering blood pressure

Some studies have found that meditation can help to lower blood pressure.

Improving cardiovascular health

Meditation may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Enhancing immune function

Some studies have suggested that meditation may improve immune function and reduce the risk of illness.

Promoting healthy habits

Meditation may help to improve overall health by promoting healthy habits, such as healthy eating and regular exercise.

Reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain and bloating.

Reducing symptoms of menopause

Meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and insomnia.

It’s worth noting that more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of meditation and to determine the best ways to incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle.

 

It’s also important to note that the effects of meditation can vary from person to person, so it’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any new practice.

Fundamentals of Meditation

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How does one meditate?

It is important to find a meditation practice that feels comfortable and enjoyable, as this can help make it easier to stick with the practice over time.

Positions

Seated, lying down, walking or engaging in other activities.

 

Helpful props

  • Cushions or blankets to support the body in a comfortable position
  • Guided meditations or music to help maintain focus.

How it’s done, typically…

  • Find a comfortable and quiet place.
  • Close your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to relax the body.
  • Focus on your breath, a mantra, or a visualization.
  • Acknowledge and accept any distractions that arise.
  • Return your focus when the mind wanders.
  • Continue to focus and refocus your attention while meditating.

Types of Meditation

There are many different ways to practice meditation, and what works best for one person may not be the same for another.

Focused attention meditation

Focusing the attention on a specific object, such as the breath or a mantra, and returning the focus to that object whenever the mind wanders.

Visualization meditation

Creating mental images or scenes in the mind as a way to focus the attention and achieve a state of relaxation.

Transcendental meditation

Silently repeating a mantra or word to oneself as a way to focus the mind and achieve a state of relaxation.

Chakra meditation

Focusing the attention on each of the seven chakras (energy centers in the body) as a way to balance and align the energy within the body.

Open-monitoring meditation

Maintaining an open and non-judgmental awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, and surroundings, without getting caught up in or reacting to them.

Body scan meditation

Lying down and focusing the attention on each part of the body, starting at the toes and working up to the top of the head, as a way to relax and release tension.

Loving-kindness meditation

Silently repeating phrases of love and compassion to oneself and others.

*And remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and helps you to feel more calm and centered.

How to Create a Meditation Habit

Building a meditation habit can be a rewarding and beneficial experience, but it can also be challenging to establish a new routine. Here are some tips that’ll help.

1

Start small

It can be helpful to begin with short meditation sessions, such as 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase the length of your sessions over time.

2

Find a time that works for you

Choose a time of day that you can consistently set aside for meditation, such as first thing in the morning or before bed.

3

Choose a comfortable location

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit or lie down for your meditation practice.

4

Use a reminder or trigger

Set a reminder on your phone (the MasterHealth app is great for this!) or use a specific trigger, such as brushing a particular tea or lighting a candle, to help remind you to meditate.

5

Be consistent

Try to meditate at the same time and in the same location every day to establish a consistent routine.

6

Don't be too hard on yourself

It is normal for the mind to wander during meditation, and it is important to be kind and gentle with yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you find it difficult to focus at first – with practice, it will get easier.

7

Seek support

If you are having trouble establishing a meditation habit, try inviting a friend to join a Friendly Challenge with you on the MasterHealth app, find a local meditation group, or seek the support of a meditation teacher or coach.

Remember, building a meditation habit takes time and patience, and it is important to be kind and compassionate with yourself as you develop this new practice.

 

With consistent effort and a positive attitude, you can establish a regular meditation habit that benefits your mind, body, and overall well-being.

Overcoming meditation setbacks

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Meditation can be a powerful tool for cultivating mental and emotional well-being, but it is normal to encounter setbacks and challenges along the way. 

 

With consistent effort and a positive attitude, you can overcome setbacks and continue to grow and benefit from your meditation practice.

Mind wandering

This couldn’t be more normal. Try not to get discouraged if you find it hard to focus at first. With practice, it will get easier. (Trust us!)

 

Self-judgement

Building a meditation habit takes time and patience, be kind to yourself as you develop this new practice.

 

Getting comfy

New positions and postures can feel uncomfortable. Try different ones, and experiment with supporting pillows and blankets until it feels right.

 

Meditation isn’t working for me…

There are many different forms of meditation, and what works for one person may not be the same for another. Before jumping ship, try a different technique or approach.

Common Questions

There is no “right” or “wrong” length of time to meditate, and the ideal length of time will depend on your individual needs and goals.

 

Some people find it helpful to start with short meditation sessions, such as 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase the length of their sessions over time as they become more comfortable with the practice. Others may prefer longer sessions, such as 30 minutes or an hour.

 

Start with a length of time that feels manageable and comfortable for you, and then gradually increase the duration of your meditation sessions as you become more comfortable with the practice.

It is completely normal for the mind to wander during meditation. In fact, one of the goals of meditation is to develop the ability to notice when the mind has wandered and to gently redirect the focus back to the present moment.

 

It is natural to have moments of distraction or difficulty focusing, and it is important to acknowledge these distractions and gently return the focus to the present moment. The mind is naturally active and tends to wander, and meditation is a way to train the mind to focus and become more present and aware.

Meditation can be challenging, as it requires focusing the mind on a specific object or activity, and it is natural for the mind to wander and for distractions to arise. This can make it difficult to stay focused and present, and it is common for people to feel frustrated or bored as they develop their meditation practice.

 

It is important to be patient and kind with yourself as you develop your meditation practice, and to remember that it is a journey and not a destination.

 

With consistent effort and a positive attitude, you can improve your ability to focus and stay present during meditation, and begin to experience the many benefits that meditation can offer.

 

If you continue to find meditation frustrating or a waste of time, it may be helpful to try different meditation techniques or approaches, or to seek the support of a meditation teacher or coach.

 

It is also important to find a meditation practice that feels enjoyable and sustainable for you, and to be consistent with your practice over time.

Support Tools for Meditation

Meditation groups

Many communities have meditation groups or classes that provide a supportive and structured environment for practicing meditation.

 

Meditation retreats

Retreats offer an immersive experience in meditation and can provide a deeper understanding of the practice.

 

Meditation apps

There are many apps available like Headspace and Calm that offer guided meditations and other resources to help with meditation practice.

 

Meditation teachers or coaches: Individual meditation teachers or coaches can provide personalized guidance and support for your meditation practice.

 

Online communities

There are many online communities and forums where individuals can connect with others who are interested in meditation and share their experiences and challenges.

 

Books, blogs & more…

There are many books and other free, online resources that provide information on meditation and how to get your practice started.

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