By Gopi Rao, Kimaya Singh, and Faye Martins
How does a practitioner start improving mental health with meditation? Modern psychology is primarily concerned with fixing or curing the ego. There is what is considered a healthy ego, and then there are various expressions of unhealthy ego development. These unhealthy ego types are given labels and terms to bring these unhealthy expressions of personality into a more healthy mental alignment.
Depth of Needs and Help
Mental illness is a serious subject and should not be taken lightly. If genuine mental illness is an issue, the assistance of a doctor is essential, and various medications and treatments may prove beneficial. However, most people may promote states of improved mental health and clarity on their own with meditation.
Exercising Mental Health
We understand that to stave off illness and disease, we must eat a healthy diet and exercise often to keep the body in good condition. Why should the mind be any different? Practical steps can be taken to improve the mental health and thought life of the average individual and safeguard them against falling into a trap full of mentally unhealthy mind patterns.
Modern standard medicine is not entirely ignorant of such things. For example, James Allen wrote extensively on contemplative thought and meditation during the early 19th century; his best-known book, titled ‘As a Man Thinketh’ is still widely read.
Cultivation of Mind
In fact, As a Man Thinketh’ is still regarded as a practical manual for cultivating a well-trained mind today. He saw the inherent unhappiness and lack of focus that commonly plague everyone who lets his or her mind run rampant and dedicated his life to awakening people from this deluded state.
The Value of Practice
To begin improving mental health with meditation, one must practice it daily. The meditation type and duration do not matter nearly as much as the frequency. It would be better to meditate for 5-10 minutes every day than 1-2 hours on the weekends.
Structure Of the Brain
How exactly does meditation promote improved mental health? It’s simple yet amazingly profound. Daily meditation significantly alters the brain’s physical structure, like a muscle is modified through daily exercise. The grey matter is thickened in critical areas of a meditator’s brain, which positively changes the way thoughts and feelings are processed.
The prefrontal lobes are significantly thicker in the brains of those who meditate, and the prefrontal cortex is strongly associated with making good, rational decisions. Other brain areas that control pain, hunger, integration of thought, and focus also experienced thickening, resulting in higher and better functioning.
Even areas of the brain that control automatic functions, such as regulating the heartbeat, also saw improvements. No wonder those who meditate feel better and safer within their skin. By drawing their attention inward, they mold and shape the brain’s structure, supporting a naturally calm and steady mind.
The Trained Mind
Being the owner of a well-trained mind, a mind which is a tool that may be used at will but then put away when no longer needed is vital to finding proper mental stability and mental health. Meditation of any persuasion leads to a sound mind that serves its owner well. Meditation is the key to mental health.
Safeguarding the Mind
Improving mental health with meditation is not a myth. The studies, trials, and research speak for themselves. In the future, as more individuals worldwide see the benefit of making meditation a part of their daily routine, the rate of mental illness should fall dramatically. Until that day, small groups of forward-thinking individuals will lead by example by safeguarding their minds against disease with daily meditation.
Quality of Life
Be a part of that movement today and see your quality of life improve dramatically. When it comes to improving mental health, many benefits can be seen from regular meditation. For starters, meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. Additionally, it can help improve focus, concentration, and overall well-being.
Increased Grey Matter
Furthermore, research has shown that regular meditation can positively change the brain’s structure. For example, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that those who meditated for eight weeks had increased grey matter in the hippocampus (an area of the brain associated with memory and learning).
Additionally, another study published in the journal Psychiatry Research found that those who meditated had changes in the areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and compassion. So, to improve your mental health, you should consider meditation. Not only can it help reduce stress and anxiety, but it can also lead to positive changes in the brain.
The benefits of meditation are widely known and well-documented. There are many different ways to meditate, and each person will find a method that works best for them. Some people sit in silence, while others listen to guided meditation recordings or use mantras. One of the most common reasons people begin meditating is to manage stress.
Stress can hurt our mental and physical health, so it’s crucial to find ways to reduce it. Meditation can help by providing a space for us to relax and focus on our breath. When we’re stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and fast. This has a knock-on effect on our heart rate and can make us feel anxious or even panicked.
Meditation helps slow down our breathing and bring it back to a normal rhythm. This calming effect on the mind and body, helping us feel more relaxed. In addition to managing stress, meditation can also help to improve our mood, increase focus and concentration, boost immunity, and reduce pain. It’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to this simple but effective practice for better mental health.
One of the primary goals of meditation is to increase self-awareness. When we are more aware of our thoughts and emotions, we can better manage them and make choices that lead to a more positive state of mind. For people suffering from mental illness, this can be a powerful tool for improving their condition. Meditation helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and emotions by quieting the mind.
Observing our inner experience can be complicated at first, but with practice, it becomes easier to focus on the present moment and let go of thoughts that are no longer serving us. As we become more aware of our thoughts and emotions, we can start to see patterns that may be contributing to our frame of mind.
Concentrate on the Positive
We can then begin to make different choices that lead to a more positive state of mind. For example, if we notice that we tend to ruminate on negative experiences, we can choose to focus on positive memories instead. Increasing self-awareness through meditation can be a powerful tool for improving mental health.
Focusing on the Present
Focusing on the present makes us less likely to ruminate on past events or worry about future ones. This can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety and an increase in overall well-being. There are many different ways to meditate, but one of the simplest and most effective is to focus on your breath.
A Short Tour
Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and focus on your breath as it goes in and out. You may find it helpful to count each inhale and exhale or to focus on the sensation of the air moving through your nose and mouth. If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. Start with just a few minutes of meditation each day, and gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable.
Time and Patience
You may find that meditating first thing in the morning helps you start your day with a sense of calm and clarity. Or you may prefer to meditate in the evening to wind down from your day. Experiment until you find a time that works for you. The important thing is to be patient and consistent with your practice. Meditation is a skill that takes time and practice to master, but it’s well worth the effort.
Enhancing Positive Emotions
Meditation is an effective way to improve mental health by enhancing positive emotions. A study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review found that meditation can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while also increasing feelings of well-being and happiness. The authors believe that meditation increases self-awareness and promotes a more positive outlook.
One of the ways we benefit from meditation is by increasing our imagination. Imagination is vital for mental health because it allows us to escape reality, explore different possibilities, and access our creative side. When stressed, anxious, or depressed, our imagination can help us find a way out.
Space for the Mind
Meditation can help improve mental health by increasing imagination in two ways: first, by training the mind to focus and become more present, and second, by providing a space for the mind to rest and relax. When the mind is more focused, it can better imagine different scenarios and explore other possibilities.
When the mind is relaxed, it is more likely to have creative insights. There are many different types of meditation, but they can help increase imagination. One simple way to meditate is to sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breath. Let your thoughts come and go without judgment as you breathe in and out.
Methods to Focus
If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. Over time, you will find that you can become more present and less reactive to your thoughts. Another way to meditate is to focus on a specific object or image. You can choose something that makes you feel calm and peaceful, such as a beautiful landscape or a loved one.
When it comes to developing patience, there are many things that we can do to improve our mental health through meditation. One of the most important things to remember is to be patient with ourselves. We are not perfect, and we will never be perfect. There will always be room for improvement. Just because we might not be able to do something perfectly the first time doesn’t mean we should give up altogether.
It is essential to be patient when learning how to meditate. It takes time and practice to master the art of meditation. There are no shortcuts. Just because someone else might be able to sit still and clear their mind effortlessly doesn’t mean it will be the same for us. We need to go at our own pace and be patient with the process.
Observe Without Judgement
When meditating, it is essential to be patient with our thoughts. They will come and go. We should not try to fight or force them out of our minds. Instead, we should let them flow through us and observe them without judgment. This is not easy, but it is essential to remember that we are not our thoughts. We are the ones who are observing them.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
Click here to see our online meditation teacher training course.
Please share our posts with your friends, colleagues, and favorite social media networks.
Click here if you interested in Power Yoga Teacher Training
Are you considering online Vinyasa Yoga certification?
See our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.
Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?
52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice
by Rina Jakubowicz
A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance
by: Gail Boorstein Grossman
by B.K.S. Iyengar
By Mark Stephens
Samuel Stroope, Blake Victor Kent, Ying Zhang, Donna Spiegelman, Namratha R. Kandula, Anna B. Schachter, Alka Kanaya, Alexandra E. Shields. (2019) ‘Mental health and self-rated health among U.S. South Asians: the role of religious group involvement’. Ethnicity & Health 0:0, pages 1-19.
Jagadisha Thirthalli, Naren P. Rao. (2016) Special supplement: Yoga and mental health. International Review of Psychiatry 28:3, pages 231-232.
Rashmi M. Shetkar, Alex Hankey, H. R. Nagendra. 2019. How the Pañcakośa Model of Experience Fits the Understanding of Śūnya and Helps Explain Quantum Reality?. Quantum Reality and Theory of Śūnya, pages 359-367.
Alex Hankey. 2019. A New Information Theory Explains Śūnya in Samādhi. Quantum Reality and Theory of Śūnya, pages 379-392.
Anita R. Shack, Soumia Meiyappan, Loren D. Grossman. (2018) Improved Self-Esteem in Artists After Participating in the “Building Confidence and Self-Esteem Toolbox Workshop”. Frontiers in Psychology 9.
Katherine May. (2018) Collaborating With the Fortress Around Early Childhood Trauma: A Depth Psychotherapy Process. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care 54:1, pages 39-45.
Alex Hankey. 2018. Yoga and The Physics of Higher States of Consciousness. Research-Based Perspectives on the Psychophysiology of Yoga, pages 335-358.
Kuntal Ghosh, Alex Hankey, Thaiyar M. Srinivasan. (2017) Acupuncture Meridian Energies in Patients Who Are Mentally Disturbed. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 23:7, pages 518-525.
Nantawachara Jirakittayakorn, Yodchanan Wongsawat. (2017) Brain Responses to a 6-Hz Binaural Beat: Effects on General Theta Rhythm and Frontal Midline Theta Activity. Frontiers in Neuroscience 11.
Alex Hankey. (2016) Ayurveda Herb Juices and Yoga for Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate: a Controlled Trial. International Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine 4:3.