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Enrich Your Life: Learn How to Meditate

Enrich Your Life: Learn How to Meditate

Meditation has been a part of my life for a couple of years, and it is now safe to say that there has been visible progress in both my productivity and relaxation. I’ve tried my best to make it a daily habit as I feel that is the only way for anyone to experience all of the benefits.

The benefits of meditation are quite extensive. Although it is most commonly perceived as a relaxation technique, in my experience that is only a very lovable plus. The benefits, being numerous, range from reducing high blood pressure and relieving symptoms of depression and similar mental illnesses to alleviating pain and even increasing creativity and overall sharpness.

Before I started practicing meditation, somehow I instinctively knew that it would be good for me, but I didn’t really understand how deep it could go until I did it myself. I am not a religious man by nature, nor did I have a guru or a spiritual leader, I just liked the idea of being alone with my thoughts and emotions. Truthfully, once you get the hang of it, you will learn more about yourself than ever before.

What do you need to meditate?

meditation-what-do-you-need

    One of the perks of meditating is that it requires few to no accessories, but there are certain prerequisites you need to keep in mind.

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    Time

    Clear your schedule for meditation. It doesn’t require a lot of time, but you should devote a certain part of the day where you are going to fit the time for meditation. It is important to distinguish this in such a manner that you are aware that the time is especially there for you.

    Noiseless space

    There is quite a lot of meditation music on the market, but I have concluded that nothing beats the powerful sound of silence. I believe there is something awe-inspiring in silence and that our minds and ears have grown overly accustomed to noise, so it feels really great to treat them with silence once in a while.

    Something to sit on

    It is true that meditation does not require sitting, but it is by far the easiest way to achieve calmness. I would recommend beginners to use a chair because it will help them keep their backs straight, but once you have passed that, a meditating cushion is a perfect choice.

    Timer

    The timer is basically the only physical thing you need to meditate, but even a timer is not essential. Individual meditations are timed to prevent you from rushing it, so a timer is mostly recommended for beginners. If you want to, you can buy a purpose timer for meditation, but I simply use the one on my smartphone.

    Before you start meditating

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    meditation-exercise

      Over the years, I have developed an appropriate ritual before the actual meditating that helps to get into that state of mind. It isn’t always easy, especially if your mind is troubled, but I feel that this ritual has become equally as important for me.

      Exercises

      Lightweight exercises, regular stretching, or, most preferably, yoga exercises are the best in keeping your muscles relaxed and your blood circulating. I believe I have never missed a warm-up and stretch before meditating as it gives me that finely tuned edge.

      Get rid of distractions

      Meditation is all about uniting with your inner self, so you might imagine that having a phone buzzing amidst it all is a bit of a nuisance. I devote a quiet little place in the corner of the room with every non-essential appliance in my house turned off while I am meditating.

      Don’t overthink it

      Clearing your mind sounds like an overly used phrase, but it is kind of a prerequisite. When I started meditating, I had the problem of not being able to focus because I was constantly thinking about every little thing.

      Feel free to focus on simply relaxing for the first few meditation sessions as the journey part will come naturally after a few times. Clearing your mind can seem hard at the beginning, but that’s the trick — when you master it, you’ll start gaining the benefits of meditation.

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      Meditation

      meditation

        As you have probably thus far concluded, there are only a few rules set in stone when it comes to meditation. The point is to have some alone time with the person that is buried beneath all those layers of work-related problems and daily tasks — the real you. Keeping that in mind, there are a few tips that are going to help you achieve that level of thought.

        Breathing

        Taking deep breaths beforehand is recommended as it will help you relax and set the right mood for meditation. However, during the meditation you shouldn’t give too much attention to breathing; just try to do it normally. You can use the deep breathing technique in those moments when you feel like you’ve lost the momentum simply to bring back the right rhythm.

        Sitting position

        It is a common misconception that you have to sit in a particular way in order to meditate. The truth is that any position will work as long as it feels comfortable. The famous Lotus position is frequently connected with meditation, but it is not exclusive. Keep your back straight, your arms relaxed, and your eyes closed — meditation comes from your mind, not your body.

        Length

        When I started meditating daily, I had the time and patience to meditate for five minutes at best. It is not necessarily a bad thing since any time spent meditating is better than none. Not only is it difficult to envision one sitting for hours like a monk, but it is also not necessary. I truly noticed results (increased overall energy and productivity) when I started meditating for around 25 minutes each day.

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        Focus on the goal

        meditation-focus

          The purpose of any meditation is to clear your mind and assert your presence by distancing yourself from the material world that surrounds you. Spoken in plain English, the goal is to create a habit of taming your own thoughts and emotions.

          Sometimes you’ll get bored, at times you’ll even be frustrated, and that is alright, just don’t get discouraged. As it is with any exercise, mastering meditation takes time and commitment, just have in mind that you are doing it for yourself.

          Meditation can and will enrich your life and is one of the best weapons in our mind’s arsenal for fighting everyday modern stress.

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          Dejan Kvrgic

          Blogger, Writer

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          Published on September 17, 2020

          9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type)

          9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type)

          When I was a child, my mom told me I was special—that there was no one on Earth just like me. Now, I’m of two minds when it comes to teaching our children that they’re special.

          First, it’s true. We all have strengths, weaknesses, and proclivities that make us different from other people. I’ll get to my second interpretation of teaching everyone they’re special after a deep dive into Howard Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences.

          Theory of Multiple Intelligences

          Harvard professor Howard Gardner introduced the world to his theory of multiple intelligences in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind. Simply put, the idea is that one’s intellectual intelligence or IQ doesn’t tell the complete story about someone’s full range of potential.

          Therefore, Gardner proposed eight types of intelligence to more accurately measure a broader range of human strengths and abilities. Gardner’s types of intelligence are in line with what most of us have been brought up to believe—that we are all special because we all have different strengths and interests.

          Let’s take a look at Gardner’s original seven types of intelligence plus two more that he’s added over the years. By examining the definitions and characteristics of each type of intelligence, you should be able to discern which types of intelligence you’re strongest in.

          9 Types of Intelligence

          Read the following definitions for the nine types of intelligence and then answer the questions in each to see how you stack up.

          1. Visual-Spatial Intelligence

          Visual-Spatial Intelligence has to do with how well someone is at maneuvering through space and visualizing things. People with high visual-spatial intelligence tend to excel at identifying patterns and interpreting charts and graphs.

          If you’re usually the navigator and map reader of your squad, you just might have high visual-spatial intelligence.

          Questions: Are you good at reading maps? Do you rarely get lost? Can you visualize objects moving and changing through space? Do you have a good sense of direction?

          These could all be signs of high visual-spatial intelligence.

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          2. Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence

          Linguistic-Verbal Intelligence is all about words, words, words. We’re talking great readers, writers, and speakers. Generally, if someone can tell a good story and memorize words quickly, they have high linguistic-verbal intelligence.

          Questions: Are you a good writer? Do you enjoy playing around with language and wording? Are you good at memorizing things? Can you explain yourself easily to others? Are you a good communicator?

          If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably have high linguistic-verbal intelligence.

          3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

          Logical-Mathematical intelligence is about logical problem solving and number sense. People with high logical-mathematical intelligence would obviously be great at solving math problems and be strong conceptual thinkers. Think of scientists and mathematicians.

          Questions: Are you good at math? Do you excel at logical problem-solving? If you’re given a brainteaser, are you usually able to figure it out?

          If you said yes to these questions, you’re probably doing well with your logical-mathematical intelligence.

          4. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

          Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence is how well people can move through space. If you have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, you have excellent control of your body and superb body awareness, meaning you know what your body is doing at any given time. People with this intelligence might excel at sports and dance and have good hand-eye coordination.

          Questions: Do you enjoy dance or sports? Do you have good body awareness, meaning are you able to move your body in the way your brain wants? Do you have good hand-eye coordination? Are you good at balancing and moving through space?

          You’re probably scoring high in your bodily-kinesthetic intelligence if you’ve said yes to these questions.

          5. Musical Intelligence

          Can you clap to the beat and sing in tune? You might have a decent musical intelligence. People with above-average musical intelligence can recognize tones and hear patterns in songs. Obviously, they would be drawn to music—both listening and creating.

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          Questions: Can you find the rhythm when a song is playing? Are you able to match the pitch of a musical note? Do you enjoy listening to or playing music? Would your friends describe you as musical?

          People who say yes to these questions tend to have high musical intelligence.

          6. Interpersonal Intelligence

          Interpersonal intelligence is, not surprisingly, about interpersonal or social skills. If someone is empathetic and good at understanding other people’s intentions and emotions, they probably have high interpersonal intelligence.

          People with this intelligence excel at group work and keeping the peace in organizations. They’re excellent communicators and sensitive to other people’s needs. They are also able to see other people’s perspectives.

          Questions: Are you the peacemaker of your group? Would you describe yourself as empathetic? Are you able to figure out what people’s body language means? Do you tend to know what people are thinking or feeling without having to ask? Are you good with other people’s emotions?

          If you said yes to these questions, you probably have high interpersonal intelligence.

          7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

          This is self-awareness. Intrapersonal intelligence is all about how well someone is at reflecting on and being aware of their own mental and emotional state at any given time. These are the philosophers and the daydreamers.

          Questions: Do you spend time daydreaming? Would people describe you as reflective? Do you know what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it? Have people described you as being self-aware?

          If you said yes to these questions, you probably have high intrapersonal intelligence.

          8. Naturalistic Intelligence

          After publishing Frames of Mind, Gardner discussed other types of intelligence that fit into his theory of multiple intelligences. Other scholars have added others, but Gardner only agreed to this and the next type.

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          People with high naturalistic intelligence are nature lovers. They are sensitive to slight changes in their environment and gravitate to exploring nature and examining flora and fauna.

          Questions: Do enjoy spending time in nature? Do you have an interest in wild plants and animals? Do you notice subtle changes in the environment? Does being in nature make you feel better?

          People who answer yes to these questions tend to have high naturalistic intelligence.

          9. Pedagogical Intelligence

          These are the effortless teachers. People who can instruct, facilitate, and convey information to others have excellent pedagogical intelligence. It’s one thing to understand a topic, but it’s a very different skillset to be able to help other people understand that same topic.

          Questions: Do you enjoy teaching people? Are you good at conveying information to others?

          Good teachers probably have high pedagogical intelligence.

          Criticism of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

          Some have criticized the theory of multiple intelligences as nothing more than a list of skills and abilities.[1] Perhaps, “talents” would have been a better way for Gardner to describe his list than “types of intelligence” because it describes what people are drawn to and excel in easily.

          This talent in no way dictates what people should do for a living. Instead, thinking you are strong in one intelligence may limit the effort you put into other areas.

          Carol Dweck’s growth mindset theory in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, states that when we look at skills and abilities as changeable through hard work and practice, we’re able to change those abilities. This is called a growth mindset.

          However, when we think that our skills and abilities are innate, it is less likely that we can improve. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences runs the risk of tricking us into thinking our skills and abilities are in-born and that effort and dedication won’t have much of an impact, which is untrue.

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          The theory of multiple intelligences should be approached more like Neil Fleming’s theory of learning styles. Fleming proposed that people have different styles of learning or ways that they are better able to learn: reading/writing, kinesthetic, aural, and visual.

          The problem with the theory of learning styles, and with types of intelligence, is that there’s not much empirical evidence to show that your learning style or type of intelligence impacts how you learn. In short, just because I’m drawn to nature and good at building campfires, it doesn’t mean that’s how I learn best.

          Think talent more than intelligence, and I think you’ll be better able to appreciate Gardner’s theory for what it is.

          Maybe No One is Special?

          Let’s go back to that idea that everyone is special, something I think Gardner was advocating way back in the ‘80s. Sure, one way to look at it is that we all have skills, abilities, and strengths that set us apart from other people.

          This can be a great thing to explore when you’re trying to find your place in the world or choose your career. However, too much navel-gazing and selfish thinking can be destructive, which brings me to my second interpretation of the “everyone is special” movement.

          What if no one is special?

          Hear me out. If we stop thinking so much about how we’re special, we can spend more time being curious about other people, places, and things.

          In my book, Play Your Way Sane: 120 Improv-Inspired Exercises to Help You Calm Down, Stop Spiraling, and Embrace Uncertainty, I have a whole chapter about the advantages of not thinking that your special. It’s called “Your mom was wrong, you aren’t special,” and it’s filled with exercises and games that help people look for what’s special in other people, instead of in themselves. This shift in focus, from internal to external, can make you less anxious and more connected to other people.

          Final Thoughts

          So, when you’re done thinking about which types of intelligence you’re better at, take more time to think about what other people are good at. Because when we use theories like multiple intelligences and learning styles to help other people look good, it makes all of us, and society in general, look a whole lot better.

          Featured photo credit: Siora Photography via unsplash.com

          Reference

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