Want to get your anxiety and stress under control? You should learn about the different states of meditation. This guide covers everything!
I used to find the idea of meditation a little bit weird. I thought it was something nature types did to feel more spiritual. All of that changed when I started dealing with serious stress and full-blown mental exhaustion. Like so many others, school, relationship drama, and just the general anxieties of life took their toll on me, so I decided to try something new – meditating for mindfulness.
The truth is meditation can actually help you take a mental breather. For me, I find it helps me pump the brakes so I can calm my mind and actually take stock of what is stressing me out. It’s not a miracle cure for stress and anxiety, but it can help.
Today, I’m going to break down the different states of meditation for mindfulness. If you’re ready to relax your mind and learn more about meditation, I’ve got you. So, before your day starts or before your workout, find a quiet space – it’s time to uncover the four main states of meditation!
The Four Main States of Meditation
1. Moment Awareness – The Zen Den
The very first state of meditation is a sort of relaxed awareness of your environment. I like to call this state entering the Zen Den.
It’s actually pretty simple. You can achieve it by relaxing your mind so you leave all of the thoughts and stresses of the external world behind you.
Doing so allows you to just focus on the immediate present moment rather than letting your mind become distracted by the pressures of daily life. By staying present and not focusing on anything other than what is going on at that exact moment, you can experience a state of mental relaxation.
You know that relief you experience when you kick your shoes off after a long day? Achieving the state of moment awareness through meditation is like that feeling but for your brain. Give your head a break from all of the stressful and anxious thoughts that usually run through it. You’ll be surprised how beneficial it is for your mental health.
2. A State of Transcendence – Daydreaming With Intent
You know the image of someone repeating a mantra while they meditate? This action isn’t just some attempt at appearing spiritual; it is actually a practice that can help you achieve the next state of meditation for mindfulness – the state of transcendence.
Mantras and chants help distract the mind and help you enter a sort of quiet transcendence. You switch your active mind off so your brain can go wherever it wants to go. Think of it as a more intense version of daydreaming. Rather than daydreaming about your crush or whatever else has your mind occupied, you’re letting your thoughts go completely down their own path.
It may just seem like you’re distracting yourself, but when you let everything go and allow your mind to lead the way, you might be surprised by what you uncover. Have I lost you yet? Trust me, there’s something to it. Let go of your ego and any sort of distracting thoughts that have been bothering you lately. This transcendental state can actually really help you reflect on stuff you have buried deep down.
Whether you’re looking for creative inspiration, a bit of basic self-reflection, or you just want to take a mental break to recharge your batteries, achieving a state of transcendence can be hugely beneficial.
3. Focus and Manifestation – Getting in the Zone
If you’re like me and you binged The Last Dance on Netflix, you probably remember Michael Jordan talking about ‘being in the zone’. This idea of being honed in with laser precision on the task at hand is actually very similar to one of the four states of meditation.
In this state, you try to ignore all other thoughts and distractions to achieve a heightened sense of concentration on one specific task or goal. To do so, you visualize the exact thing you are after and try to eliminate all of the other noise. Just like Jordan or Lebron when they focus on nothing else but winning, you can train your brain through meditation to have a more focused drive towards achieving a specific aim.
Don’t worry; your goals don’t have to be as lofty as those of a professional athlete. No matter what it is that you want to achieve, you can help yourself by taking some quiet time to focus on that goal and that goal alone.
Believe it or not, this is a form of meditation practice. That’s right; you don’t have to wear robes and sit in a carefully manicured Japanese garden to meditate; you can just take a few moments to close your eyes and focus on a single aim to reach this meditative state.
4. Full-Body Single-Mindedness – Active Focus
The final state of meditation may sound a little different than what you’d expect, but it can be really useful. Basically, you improve your concentration and enhance mindfulness by actively meditating.
Ever heard people say they feel focused and mentally relaxed when they jog, play sports, ride a bike, or attend a yoga class? This feeling is what the single-mindedness state of meditation replicates.
By focusing on your physical movements while ignoring the constant chatter going on in your head, you can achieve a type of mindfulness that can be both relaxing and energizing. If exercising isn’t your thing, you can even just sit still and focus on a cycle of heavy inhales and exhales. Ignore everything else and just focus entirely on your breathing. After a while, you’ll experience a type of mental calmness that can really help with reducing stress and improving mindfulness.
There you have it – a simple guide to the various states of meditation for mindfulness. I don’t expect you to become some meditation guru overnight. Just try picking up the basics of meditation; it can do wonders for your mental health.
While I’m at it, many people find mediation apps can help guide you, making mediation easier and more intuitive. Here are some reviews of the best:
- The Best Meditation Apps (The New York Times list)
- 10 Best Meditation Apps Of 2023 (Forbes Magazine)
- Best Meditation Apps (VeryWellMind)
- Headspace: Be Kind to Your Mind (All these lists are topped by Headspace, so…)
Find what works for you. Your mindfulness meditation style and preferences can be as unique as your taste in memes!
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