Do you think meditating is too hard? Or maybe you’ve tried it before, with less than stellar results? Well, it might not be your fault. There are actually several types of meditation, and if you’ve struggled with trying to meditate in one very specific way, it might be because you’ve chosen a type that just isn’t right for you. People usually fall into one of the three main meditation types — and each type is equally effective. The practice of meditation is also a huge part of Dr. Oz’s new System 20 lifestyle plan, which will help you lower your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease by 20 percent, plus help you lose 20 pounds in 2020.
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Meditating is a recommended part of this plan because it can be a very effective way to deal with stress — and stress can harm your health in a number of different ways. If you’ve never tried it before, consider starting with a short two-minute meditation every morning. If you’re using the System 20 daily checklists to keep track of your habits, you’ll see a two-minute meditation box to check off near the top of each day’s list that will help you stay on track.
To help you figure out which type of meditation is best for you, we’ve broken down the three main kinds and explained how to do them.
If you’re a creative soul with an active imagination, this kind of meditation is for you. It’s as easy as it sounds. Close your eyes and focus on visualizing a scene that fills you with warm, happy, calming feelings. It could be something as simple as your family, or something more abstract, like ocean waves or a favorite color.
Just make sure you choose something that will make you feel good — visualization meditation activates the amygdala, a small spot in the center of the brain that controls our response to stressful situations, aka our “fight or flight” response. So, keep your visualization choices relaxed, peaceful, and upbeat, so as not to activate this response in your body.
If you are an auditory learner rather than a visual one, you might prefer this form of meditation. Pick a repetitive word or sound that induces those relaxed and happy thoughts; it could be a classic “om,” nature sounds like birds or whales, or any phrase that you like. If you’re choosing specific words, you can also opt to tie the phrasing to your breath (a popular practice during yoga). So, for example, breathe in something you want more of in your life, like “gratitude,” and breathe out something you want less of, like “judgment.”
If you’re an energetic, active person who finds it difficult to sit still, there’s good news: you don’t have to! Even while meditating, you can keep moving and still effectively quiet your mind. Choose a form of movement that doesn’t require too much thought or focus — like walking or stretching — so that you can focus on your breathing instead of what you’re doing. The key thing is to come back to your breath whenever you find yourself getting stressed about your to-do list (or whatever else is going on in your life).
And if you’re looking for a bit more help getting started (and who isn’t these days?) and looking for a tool to help you stick to you meditate and stick to a regular routine, you can check out the Sharecare app, where you can access a number of meditations guided by Donna D’Cruz.