It is thought that meditation promotes self-awareness of thoughts and bodily sensations and improves the ability to observe one’s thoughts in a non-judgmental manner. This may contribute to decreased stress, improved emotional reactivity and heightened cognitive functioning.
Though there are several styles of meditation, most fall into one of two categories. Open meditation is a nondirected observation of experience, while focused meditation directs the meditator with a focal point, such as the breath or a mantra.
In this study, 247 undergraduate university students practice four styles of meditation, one each week. Two of the styles, mantra and vipassana meditation, were preferred by a significant number of students. My guess is that these two styles provide a sense of structure for individuals who might desire a meditation practice but feel intimidated by the thought of sitting with no agenda at all.
The word mantra, according to the Chopra Center, is made up of two words: man (mind) and tra (instrument). It’s defined as a powerful sound or vibration that can assist the user to reach a deep, meditative state.
Try practicing mantra meditation daily. If you find your stress level rising too quickly at work, practice reverting to the mantra for a few moments in the bathroom or while documenting. See if it can help diffuse your stress and bring you back to center so that you can take on the rest of your day with a greater sense of calm.
Mantras to Try
- So Hum (I Am)
- Sat Chit Ananda (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss)
- Breathing into my body, Breathing out release
- I am enough as I am, Life is enough as it is.
- Calm, Peace