Meditation is focusing your presence in the present moment. Another way of putting it is “Meditation is being present in the present.” It is the practice of quieting the mind and turning it inward.

Meditation is not just for Buddhists and Hindus, but for people of all faiths. If you are not religious, you can still benefit from regular meditation both physically and psychologically.

It’s Chemical

During meditation, your body produces and releases good chemicals, giving you positive thoughts and feelings and jumpstarts your immune system.

Meditation helps the body heal itself. It also helps protect it from illnesses. Here are some of the good chemicals that your body releases during mediation:

  • Endorphins are neurotransmitters that act as painkillers. They are also responsible for the sense of happiness and well-being that we sometimes feel. They are also believed to lower one’s blood pressure and are said to help fight cancer. When you exercise, you may experience an emotional high. That is because exercise stimulates the production of endorphins. When you meditate, you also experience these pleasant feelings because meditation also causes the body to release endorphins,
  • Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood and behavior. Low serotonin levels are associated to depression. Drugs that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin (like the bestselling Prozac) are prescribed to those who suffer from depression. However, you wouldn’t want to be pumped with drugs and suffer the adverse side effects that can sometimes be risky. Fortunately, you can increase your serotonin levels by meditating.
  • Gamma aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA, is another neurotransmitter that your body releases while you meditate. GABA stabilizes mood and helps ease anxiety. Low levels of GABA are associated with addiction. Those who mediate are found to have increased levels of GABA.
  • The human growth hormone or HGH is another hormone that is released when you meditate. While meditating will not make you grow taller, it will protect you from reduction in bone density and muscle mass associated with the decreased level of HGH due to aging.
  • Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep restfully. It is produced by your pineal gland. However, stress can lower the production of melatonin. Meditation relieves stress, thus enabling your body to produce more melatonin so you will sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Psychological Benefits

Meditation helps you change the way you think and feel by making you focus on the present moment. In the present moment, there is no place for your fears and worries because they are about the future. Also, when you are meditating, you become aware of your feelings.

Dr. Phil McGraw said, “You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.” When you become aware about the way you think and feel, you can now decide to change your thought patterns and therefore change the way you feel.

Some people think that meditation weakens the mind and makes you vulnerable to outside influences. The truth is meditation actually makes your mind stronger. You are in charge of your mind. You can only be influenced by anything outside of you with your permission. Meditation allows you to shape your inner world by taking control of your mind.

Why Guided Meditation?

Meditation is a skill. It requires focus. Refocusing your thought to your mantra or any object of meditation can be challenging. You need to be gentle yet firm with yourself. You must learn to gently nudge intruding thoughts aside and go back to your point of focus.

However, if you want an easier route to being in a meditative state, guided meditation can get you there.

Guided meditation is a form of meditation where you listen to a guide as he or she leads you into a peaceful meditative state. This may be done “live” or you may use a guided meditation recording. It is easier to focus and visualize when you follow a guiding voice. Meditation may be combined with hypnosis to achieve certain goals.

Is guided meditation less effective than meditating on your own? The answer is no. On the contrary, guided meditation may even be more effective. When you struggle to focus, you end up not being a meditative state.

Meditation should not be a struggle. It should be pleasurable. Guided meditation removes the struggle and makes it easier for you to have a blissful experience.