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What Is The Best Kind of Meditation Practice For You?

What Is The Best Kind of Meditation Practice For You?

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Alex Nekritin

CEO and Founder of Ultiself

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What Is The Best Kind of Meditation Practice For You?

Table of contents

4 Ways to Meditate Quickly For Maximum Results

Benefits of Meditation

Today, there are more than 4000 studies about meditation and more than 400 new ones are published every year! 

Besides being a great tool to make you calm and focused, meditation can  reduce stress, anxiety, and depression [1], reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels [3], improve immunity [4], sleep [5], and slow down cell [6] and brain aging [7]

With increasing support of science and the countless opportunities that modern technology offers, meditation has become quite the business. 

The meditation app Calm is valued over $1.2 billion with an annual growth of about 11% [8]. And there are many other popular Apps like Headspace, and Simple Habit that make millions every year. 

In fact, the iPhone App Moment rates Calm number 1 and Headspace number 3 among the Apps which make users happiest [9]. No wonder that more than 2000 new meditation apps were released between 2016 and 2017 only. 

The problem 

Even though everybody has heard about meditation, most people don’t know what meditation is really about or how to actually meditate. There are many mistaken ideas about meditation that can make the practice ineffective. 

Some people think that meditating means emptying your mind and sitting quietly without thinking. This is not necessarily true. One of the many Sanskrit terms used to designate meditation is bhavana, which means “to cultivate”. 

The Tibetans use the word gom which means “to habituate yourself with”. Meditation is the practice of cultivating positive states of mind and making these into a habit.

Tibetans

We can cultivate calmness, serenity, focus, loving-kindness or compassion, and many other qualities. And we do so in the safety of our own homes. 

4 Types of Meditation that can be Effective

Among the many different techniques of meditation we suggest 4 that have ample support of science:

  1. Mindfulness meditation
    • What is mindfulness meditation?

    Mindfulness meditation is a secular type of meditation that originated in the US. By working with body, breath, and thought awareness, mindfulness practitioners cultivate states of openness, non-judgement, acceptance, and trust in themselves. 

    • Who is it for?

    This meditation is ideal for people who have to cope with the stress of a full agenda of work and family life. It is also very effective in the treatment of long-term recurring depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, chronic pain, and eating disorders.

    • How can I learn it?

    To learn mindfulness meditation you can sign up to one of the traditional 8-weeks courses or follow an online course or guided meditations on YouTube. Or try an app like Calm, Headspace or the Mindfulness App. 

  2. Loving kindness meditation
    • What is loving kindness meditation?

    Loving kindness meditation is a well-proven meditation technique to cultivate feelings of love, empathy, and forgiveness. The basic practice of this meditation is to wish for your friends, family, strangers, and even enemies to have happiness in their lives. Once you feel this in your heart you just rest in this feeling.

    • Who is it for? 

    Loving kindness meditation is for everybody who wants to cultivate a good heart, better relationships, and more compassion. Science shows that loving-kindness meditation can increase positive emotions, as well as compassion and self-compassion [10].

    • How can I learn it?

    The technique is very simple and we advise you listen to a guided meditation on YouTube. This is just one of the possible versions and we advise you listen through some of them to find the one that suits you most.

    Girl is meditating
  3. Transcendental Meditation
    • What is Transcendental Meditation?

    Transcendental meditation (TM) is a meditation which uses the repetition of mantras to cultivate states of effortless focus and bliss. 

    • Who is it for?

    TM is for everyone who wants to increase their focus, calmness, and serenity. There are many studies that support the efficacy of TM

    • How can I learn it?

    TM is a protected brand and has to be learned from an authorized teacher who will introduce you to the mantra. Beware that this introduction will cost money.

  4. Tony Robbins priming method
    • What is the Tony Robbins Priming Method?

    In just 10 minutes, you can take a moment to connect with your breathing, develop gratitude, visualize positive feelings, rejoice in your successes and share the positive energy you have created. 

    • Who is it for?

    Tony Robbins Priming Method is for everyone who wants to start out their day by setting a positive mood.

    • How can I learn it?

    Here is a great video on Priming from Tony Robins:

Common Themes

Start Small

The common goal of all meditation practices is that you want to make a habit out of positive states of mind and this is best achieved by taking many small steps towards your final goal. To accomplish this, you can have a look at our successive approximation habit which will give you some instructions on how to do just that.

Quality Over Quantity 

When starting our practice of meditation it is important to start out slow. Don’t overdo it. Go for quality over quantity! You really want to associate positive emotions with your meditation and not difficult experiences of boredom or nervousness that might come from meditating for too long.

Track and Measure

Most importantly, track your meditation success. Test out different meditation styles to find the one you like most and that has the best effect on your health, mood, and productivity. This is where UltiSelf comes in. We help you to track your progress and make sure that you don’t practice anything that will not contribute to reaching your ultimate self. 

Conclusion 

As you now know, there are so many different meditations you can do to create healthy new mental habits. Finding the right one is not always obvious.

Just try out some of the meditations that we have in our habit directory, follow our instructions or the suggested guided meditations in the video links. Once you have found a style that suits you, you can also sign up for a class to deepen your practice. 

  • Track how you feel and what kind of days you have based on the meditation habits that you use. Most importantly, don’t waste your time with meditation that doesn’t work for you. Track your meditation habit in UltiSelf and make sure to always report on your mood, health and productivity in our app.This way you will have mathematical proof of your successes. For some tips on how to keep up with your meditation practice, have a look at our article How to Stick with Your Meditation.

References

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  1. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M. S., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357–368. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754
  2. Sampaio, C., Lima, M., & Ladeia, A. (2016). Meditation, Health and Scientific Investigations: Review of the Literature. Journal of Religion and Health, 56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-016-0211-1
  3. Schneider, R. H., Grim, C. E., Rainforth, M. V., Kotchen, T., Nidich, S. I., Gaylord-King, C., … Alexander, C. N. (2012). Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Randomized, controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in Blacks. Circulation. Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 5(6), 750–758. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406
  4. Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., … Sheridan, J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564–570. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000077505.67574.e3
  5. Sun, J., Kang, J., Wang, P., & Zeng, H. (2013). Self-relaxation training can improve sleep quality and cognitive functions in the older: A one-year randomised controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22(9–10), 1270–1280. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12096
  6. Chaix, R., Alvarez-López, M. J., Fagny, M., Lemee, L., Regnault, B., Davidson, R. J., … Kaliman, P. (2017). Epigenetic clock analysis in long-term meditators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 85, 210–214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.08.016
  7. Luders, E., Cherbuin, N., & Gaser, C. (2016). Estimating brain age using high-resolution pattern recognition: Younger brains in long-term meditation practitioners. NeuroImage, 134, 508–513. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.04.007
  8. Gebel, M. (n.d.). Calm, the 7-year-old meditation app, says it’s now valued at $1 billion. Retrieved November 1, 2019, from Business Insider website: https://www.businessinsider.com/relaxation-app-calm-first-meditation-startup-1-billion-valuation-2019-2
  9. Editors, T. (n.d.). Buddhism by the Numbers: The Economics of Mindfulness. Retrieved November 1, 2019, from Tricycle: The Buddhist Review website: https://tricycle.org/magazine/meditation-app-profits/
  10. Galante, J., Galante, I., Bekkers, M.-J., & Gallacher, J. (2014). Effect of Kindness-Based Meditation on Health and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037249
  11. Mosini, A. C., Saad, M., Braghetta, C. C., Medeiros, R. de, Peres, M. F. P., Leão, F. C., … Leão, F. C. (2019). Neurophysiological, cognitive-behavioral and neurochemical effects in practitioners of transcendental meditation—A literature review. Revista Da Associação Médica Brasileira, 65(5), 706–713. https://doi.org/10.1590/1806-9282.65.5.706
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