A lot of people are trying out meditation either on their own accord, or as the result of some doctors’ advice. Many try it and can’t quite feel the benefits, so they quit meditation soon after. A new study says you can stick with it, and it will work, if you choose the right method.
Researchers highlight the importance of ensuring that people new to meditation select methods with which they are most comfortable — rather than those that are most popular. If they do so, they are far more likely to stick with it, and experience the myriad of personal and health benefits.
The study compared four popular meditation methods to see if novice meditation practitioners favored one over the others. They were: mantra, mindfulness, Zen, and Qigong visualization. The study’s 247 participants were taught each method and asked to practice at home. It turned out that the two simpler methods, mantra and mindfulness, were preferred by 31% of the people. Zen and Qigong had smaller but still sizable contingents of adherents, with 22% and 15%, respectively.
It shows that most of us might prefer a simpler, more accessible method of meditation. What’s important to note is that no one technique is best for everyone; less common methods are actually preferred by certain people. Older participants, who grew up when Zen was becoming one of the first meditation techniques to gain attention in the U.S., were more likely to prefer that method.
In short: it’s all about the individual. This is proven in that mantra and mindfulness meditation were equally liked, in spite of being fundamentally different meditation techniques.
If someone is exposed to a particular technique through the media or a health-care provider, they might assume because it’s popular it’s the best for everyone. But in truth, one form of meditation won’t be good for everyone. “One size fits all” does not apply here.
This is critical to be aware of, so that if you are less comfortable with one type of meditation, you should try another. You are likely to find one form that works, which will then help you lower stress, reduce your blood pressure, and help you nurture a healthy lifestyle. Ask your health-care professional to guide you toward techniques that will be most effective. While more studies are needed to prove the health benefits of meditation clinically, don’t give up on it. Thousands of years of non-study-based proof can’t be that wrong.