The Most Effective Meditation Techniques for Mind and Body

Learn about the most effective meditation techniques for mind and body, including mindfulness meditation, body scan meditations, walking meditation, transcendental meditation, progressive relaxation, and breathing awareness.

The Most Effective Meditation Techniques for Mind and Body

Mindfulness meditation is the most popular and researched form of meditation in the West. It originates from Buddhist teachings and involves paying attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. This is done by being aware of what you are doing in the present moment, such as walking your dog, brushing your teeth, or doing the dishes. However, many people may have difficulty with this.

That's why beginners often start with a more formal mindfulness meditation. Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness meditation does not involve not thinking, but rather redirecting your thoughts when you get distracted and breathing again instead of being carried away by distractions. This skill can be transferred to daily life and help you be more present in any activity. It also helps train your brain to be less affected by stress, as it decreases amygdala reactivity, which is the part of the brain that controls the fight or flight response. Body scan meditations are another effective technique for relaxation.

They involve consciously relaxing different parts of the body and can help relieve tight shoulders or a tense neck caused by stress or anxiety. Walking meditation is a great substitute for those who find it difficult to stay still, as it allows you to move while still focusing on an object of consciousness. Transcendental meditation may not be the first choice for someone starting a meditation practice, but research has found that it has similar health benefits to mindfulness meditation, such as relieving stress and anxiety and improving overall well-being. Progressive relaxation is another technique that promotes a sense of relaxation and calm. It can also help with chronic pain and drowsiness.

Mindfulness meditation requires letting go of past demons and future uncertainties to fully embrace what the present has to offer without judgment. Breathing awareness meditation emphasizes mindful breathing, which requires finding a comfortable space where you can focus on mastering breathing techniques and observing your thoughts without judging them. Research has been conducted on the effects of different types of mental practices, as well as individual differences and how certain genes or certain personality traits influence the benefit of different practices. The ReResource Project is one of the longest and most comprehensive studies on the effects of meditation-based mental training to date.