July 3, 2018

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Meditation






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We live in a time when distractions and anxieties abound. We’re encouraged to keep our schedules as busy as possible and are sometimes judged for having free time. Women are not immune.


In fact, we can sometimes get hit the hardest with these unrealistic expectations of constant productivity and business. The problems that result from this mindset are detrimental to our health; anxiety, negative self-talk, shorter attention spans, and life-threatening health conditions run rampant when we live in a constantly “on” world and never take the time to turn it all off and be alone with ourselves.


Meditation can enable us with the tools to turn off when we need a break; it can also help us get to know ourselves better, practice mindfulness, and live in the present moment. Meditation needs to be a priority for the modern woman. We’ll explain how to do that in further detail below.



The Benefits of Meditation


Meditation can lead you to a plethora of physical and mental benefits as well as improved connections within your relationships and with yourself. Some people use it to help them feel more spiritual and some use it to help them deal with anxieties at work. Whatever your goals are, take a look through the benefits of meditation and consider how a regular practice could improve your life.

Your meditation practice is like mindfulness training. Many practitioners say the main benefit of diligently maintaining their meditation practice is the result of mindfulness, or full awareness of the present moment without any judgement.

Marissa Powers and Lindsay Benjamin, both experts in meditation and mindfulness, explained to Concordia University that when we become aware of mindfulness through meditation we can:

  • Become more deeply and fully connected to the present moment
  • Deepen our relationship with other people
  • Improve communication
  • Connect with our work
  • Become a better listener
  • Even change our brain activity, improve heart rate, and reduce overall stress


Few people question anymore whether or not meditation is beneficial to your mind and body. We might discuss to what degree or who benefits most, but research proves the benefits of meditation. Dr. Robert Schneider noted research on transcendental meditation that found benefits such as:

  • Reduced blood pressure and insulin resistance
  • Slowing of biological aging
  • 48 percent reduction in rates of heart attacks, stroke, and death in coronary heart disease patients


Even though most doctors aren’t prescribing meditation to help treat health issues (yet), the benefits are still clear to see. Sometimes, it’s our own responsibility to take our health into our own hands and try something new. Next, we’ll discuss a few common types of meditation if you’re ready to get started but don’t know how.



Which Type of Meditation Is Right for You?


Over time, various cultures, educators, leaders, and experts have developed many different ways to practice meditation. There is something to suit anyone, no matter your personality or lifestyle. These variations were created because the same practice doesn’t work for everyone.

Cultivating a meditation practice is flexible, so you can create a unique practice that works for you if nothing else seems to fit your needs. There is no “right way” to meditate. But if you’re looking for a more traditional meditation practice to help get you started, here are a few types of meditation to consider:


  • Metta meditation, also known as loving-kindness meditation, focuses on cultivating an attitude of love, kindness, and compassion toward everything, even stress.


  • Mindfulness meditation aims to maintain your awareness of the present moment by noticing your surroundings without judgement.


  • Progressive relaxation, sometimes called body scan meditation, entails scanning your body for areas of tension, notice and release it, working your way through your whole body.


  • Breath awareness meditation is all about focusing on your breath; breathing slowly, deeply, and counting your breaths to help you focus and ignore the thoughts invading your mind. This is also a form of mindfulness meditation.


  • Zen meditation, sometimes called Zazen, involves specific steps and postures usually guided by a teacher. It is a form of mindfulness meditation that focuses on breath and mindfully observing your thoughts without judgement.


  • Transcendental meditation is more focused on the spiritual self than some forms of meditation practices. Practitioners focus on repeating a mantra while sitting still and breathing slowly in order to transcend above your current state of being.

It’s perfectly acceptable to blend different types of meditation until you’ve found your own personal practice. Keep in mind that this list only covers a few types of meditation and each description is a brief overview. There is a lot more out there to discover.


It’s perfectly acceptable to blend different types of meditation until you’ve found your own personal practice. Keep in mind that this list only covers a few types of meditation and each description is a brief overview. There is a lot more out there to discover.


Making Meditation Work for You


As a fellow modern woman, I know it’s difficult to cultivate a regular practice. Here are some quick tips from my research and my personal experience:

  • Use a guided meditation app. My favorite is Stop, Breathe, and Think.
  • You don’t have to sit and meditate. You can actually meditate anywhere while you’re doing anything — just take deep breaths and focus on the present moment.
  • Practice gratitude and take a few minutes to reflect on everything in your life that is good.
  • Unplug from all forms of technology for a set period of time.
  • Schedule your meditation practice like you would any other responsibility.
  • Try using a timer if you’re struggling.


In the not too distant future, I think we’ll find that meditation is a normal part of life for everyone, especially the modern woman. As we become more productive and connected than ever before, it will become increasingly important to take time to disconnect from the world and reconnect with ourselves. I hope this article will help you develop a practice that works for you.


Alex Quayle currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner, cat, and dwarf hamster. She can never say no to coffee, doughnuts, and good conversation. Follow her on Twitter @alexquayle33 for more articles and pictures of her cute, little family.



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