A Practical and Scientific Approach to Meditation

By: Neel Duggal

This article was originally posted on blog.insidetracker.com

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People always ask us for that one magic supplement that can help them manage stress and stay calm. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find one. But what if we told you that meditating for as little as five minutes a day can address both of these things as well as lower blood pressure, improve immunity, and make you more agile than ever? Learn how this often overlooked Eastern tradition can benefit you and how anyone — from a peace-loving hippie to a corporate lawyer — can easily add it to her or his routine.

What is Considered Meditation Today?

When you hear the word “meditation”, you might think of some old Buddhist monk closing his eyes and sitting down for ten minutes. But, just what is this activity that’s now practiced by over 15 million Americans?

Meditation is hard to define in terms of modern-day medicine because of its many different social and cultural contexts. Its roots also go far back: historical documents trace meditation to Hindu traditions in India as early as 1500 BCE before it spread to China in the 5th century BCE. According to psychology.com, a lot of meditation practices share the common goal of directing attention towards one point of reference. It may involve focusing on breathing, a certain object, or a phrase commonly referred to as a “mantra”. It also typically involves avoiding distracting thoughts about the past and future and focusing on the present moment; oftentimes, this is described as “mindfulness.” One definition of meditation accepted by the medical community says it:

“…refers to a family of self-regulation practice that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calm, clarity, and concentration”

While that definition is certainly a mouthful, it stresses a couple of good points. Here, we see that meditation also involves a sense of “self-regulation” and “voluntary control” as well as the goal of achieving better mental well-being.

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