- Over the last several years, meditation has surged in popularity in Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
- Even though it’s trendy, it’s still a scientifically proven way to alleviate stress.
- Apps like Headspace are useful for learning the basics.
- To develop a habit, it’s important to set aside as little as five minutes in your daily routine.
- Going into a meditative state involves being a passive observer of thoughts, not attempting to force them to disappear.
At this point, it’s nearly impossible to escape the buzzwords “mindfulness” and “meditation.”
Silicon Valley executives like Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey are going on Buddhist meditation retreats, high-end spas in big cities are installing “meditation pods,” meditation app Headspace has raised $75 million, and each year hundreds of Wall Streeters are following Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio’s lead and paying almost $1,000 to learn Transcendental Meditation.
In a recent interview for Business Insider’s podcast “Success! How I Did It,” bestselling author Tim Ferriss said that nearly all of the 140 successful people he included in his latest book, “Tribe of Mentors,” had some sort of mindfulness or meditation habit.
Like any wellness trend among the wealthy and powerful, the popularity of meditation may fade, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the practice. There is now decades of research backed by organizations like the US federal agency the National Institutes of Health that have linked regular meditation to physical changes in the brain. These can result in improved focus and emotional control, which in turn yields lowered blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.
And from personal experience, we can tell you that making meditation a regular habit is, at the very least, a practical way to relieve stress.
Meditation is a skill like anything else, and it takes practice. But it also may be easier than you think. You can start today with just a few steps.
Pick which kind of meditation you want to practice.
The most popular forms of meditation in the US are derived from ancient Hindu and Buddhist practices that began in India and spread through Asia.
As Suhag Shukla, director of the Hindu American Foundation, explained to us in a 2016 interview, practicing secularized versions of these ancient techniques is not sacrilegious. The practice should instead be seen as a healthy exercise for body and mind.
It’s worth noting that it’s best to learn from a teacher, but that if you want to dabble you can do so on your own and without spending any money.
Try a smartphone app like Headspace.
There are many quality guided meditation apps available for both Android and iOS, and they serve as great introductions to the practice.
We particularly like Headspace, which offers a variety of guided mindfulness meditations tailored toward specific topics like the alleviation of anxiety or the promotion of creativity.
If you’d like to try many different types of guided meditations or find one tailored to your faith, you can check out Insight Timer.
NOTE: This article was written by Richard Feloni, and was published on Business Insider. You can read the full article HERE.