There are two significant aspects to meditation: one, it’s been used for thousands of years by millions of people probably wiser than ourselves. Two, it’s free. What more could you ask for?
Still not convinced meditation is beneficial? Let’s look at a particular type of meditation called visualization meditation. It can also help your brain and body feel revitalized.
What is Visualization?
There are many different types of meditation. Some forms come from Eastern religious traditions, and others are secular. Some are intended to focus the mind on nothing (that sounds much easier than it actually is). Others try to bring calm by focusing on a single thing like your breath or a mantra.
Visualization is a technique used outside of meditation and with it as well. You’ve probably heard of athletes practicing visualization, or maybe public speakers or other people who compete. The basic idea of visualization is to decrease stress and anxiety. You do this by running through a future event in your mind, visualizing it, and exploring those feelings and practicing how you’ll react. If you’re nervous about something and visualize the outcome, you can perform better when you’re actually in the event.
That’s a simple explanation, and you’ve likely heard of it before. It’s like actively engaging with an event in your mind that hasn’t happened yet, without worrying. Visualization has been around for a long time. It’s been scientifically proven to work by enhancing people’s performance in many different ways.
What is Visualization Meditation?
So how does visualization link up to meditation?
Many different techniques tend to fall under the category of mindfulness. A vital characteristic to all of them is that if you’re in a calm state, you can visualize better.
One type of visualization meditation is linked to an older tradition called in the West, “Loving-Kindness Meditation.” It springs from a Buddhist idea, which is a little too complicated to cover here. Still, the basic idea is that it’s good to think about others and in a focused way, wish them kindness and happiness while meditating.
It’s a different type of meditation. You aren’t trying to clear your mind of thoughts, but are actively considering others and wishing them well. And at the risk of sounding like a big ol’ new-age hippie, it’s actually very effective and calming. Try it for yourself!
Another type of visualization meditation practice is sometimes called “progressive body relaxation.” This is used to relax within a few minutes and to help sleep.
There are many different types of visualization meditations out there, and a good amount of growing science to back up some of the health benefits and mental health claims in their favor. These aren’t hard things try, they are free, you don’t need books or gurus. You don’t need to be perfect. Try it out, begin your mindfulness journey towards better emotional health, or just relax a bit!