Courtesy of Felipe Borges via Pexels.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and has its roots in ancient Eastern cultures, especially India and China. The earliest records of meditation date back to around 1500 BCE in India, where it was initially used as a Hindu spiritual practice.

The practice of meditation then spread to other parts of the world, including China, Japan, and other countries in Asia. In these cultures, meditation was also used as a spiritual practice, often as part of religious traditions such as Buddhism and Taoism.

In the West, meditation gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s during the counterculture movement. It was seen as a way to achieve personal growth and spiritual development, and many people began to incorporate meditation into their daily lives.

Courtesy of Nick Wehrli via Pexels.

Today, meditation is widely recognized as a powerful tool for reducing stress, improving mental clarity, and promoting overall health and wellbeing. It is practiced by people of all ages and backgrounds and has become a mainstream practice in many parts of the world.

While the specific techniques and practices of meditation have evolved over time, the core principles remain the same: to achieve a state of inner peace and balance through focused attention and mindfulness. Whether you are new to meditation or an experienced practitioner, this ancient practice continues to offer a path towards greater physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

There are various types of meditation practices, such as mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and guided meditation. Each type has its own unique technique and purpose, but they all share a common goal of helping individuals find inner peace and balance.

Meditation can help relieve stress in five main ways, all of which share a focus on calmness. Meditation helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depressing through calming the mind and promoting relaxation. This is achieved by focusing on the present moment and letting go of negative thoughts and emotions. Similarly, meditation also improves sleep through calming the mind, reducing stress levels, and promoting relaxation.

Meditation can also help lower blood pressure through reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation, which is especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from hypertension or other cardiovascular conditions. In addition to these health benefits, meditation also boosts the immune system by reducing stress hormones and increasing immune function. This can help to protect the body from illness and disease.

Lastly, meditation helps to increase self-awareness by allowing individuals to become more mindful of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This increased awareness can help individuals to identify and address the root causes of stress in their lives.

If you’re new to meditation and want to learn how to practice it, understanding the many different types of meditation might help you decide what is right for you. Since there are so many options, everybody is bound to find the type of meditation right for them. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment or distraction. It involves focusing your attention on your breath or a specific object and simply observing your thoughts and emotions as they arise. The goal is to cultivate a sense of awareness and acceptance, which can help reduce stress and improve mental clarity.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is a technique that involves repeating a mantra, which is a word or phrase, to achieve a state of deep relaxation and mental clarity. The mantra is chosen by the practitioner and is used to help quiet the mind and focus your attention. The goal is to transcend the thinking mind and experience a state of pure awareness or consciousness.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation, also known as “Metta meditation,” is a type of meditation that involves cultivating feelings of love, compassion, and kindness towards oneself and others. During loving-kindness meditation, you repeat phrases or visualizations that are designed to evoke feelings of love and compassion, and can help to promote feelings of empathy, connection, and wellbeing.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a type of meditation that involves following a spoken meditation script or audio recording. It can be used to help beginners learn how to meditate, or to provide more structure and guidance to existing meditation practice. Guided meditations can cover a wide range of topics, such as relaxation, stress reduction, self-compassion, and gratitude.

Meditating to Music

Once you have chosen the best type of meditation for you, many people find that listening to calming music can help to enhance their meditation practice. White noise, especially rainstorm noise, is especially popular and calming. 

Meditation Apps   

In addition to YouTube videos, there are also many apps that make meditating accessible to people with smartphones. Many of these apps feature similar white noise music, and they all provide users with an easy meditation option in the age of technology. Five apps are especially popular, and they put the power of meditating in the palm of a person’s hand, which means meditating can be done nearly anywhere. 

Insight Timer, Calm, Breethe, Healthy Minds Program, and Aura application logos.

Insight Timer: Meditate & Sleep

Insight Timer is a meditation app that is perfect for beginners and advanced meditators. It features a large library of free meditations and it’s easy to use. In addition to pre-recorded meditations, Insight Timer gives users the opportunity to join live events, including yoga, private mentoring, and workshops. It also offers mood tracking.  


Calm has similar goals and priorities to Headspace, but it’s less structured. This app is more geared toward ambient soundscapes, making Calm perfect for people who struggle with falling asleep. Calm also provides guided and unguided meditations, making it perfect for meditators of all levels. Calm’s biggest strength, however, is that it makes it very easy for users to personalize their experience, including the ability to track your number of sessions and your mood over time.

Headspace: Mindful Meditation 

Headspace was designed to “improve the health and happiness of the world,” according to its website. This app is one of the most popular meditating options, possibly because of its huge variety of meditation options. It has meditations for beginners and pros, and even offers free resources for those dealing with anxiety and stress.

Breethe: Sleep & Meditation 

Breethe aims to help people improve their sleep, feelings, and health through developing essential skills. Breethe’s strongest attribute is that it makes wellness and meditation easy to integrate into a person’s everyday life and even does so with humor! Recently, Breethe added personalized programs and has a mindfulness program for children and teens.

Healthy Minds Program

Healthy Minds Program is a beloved as a no-frills meditation resource. The app is completely free and very user friendly, which makes it stand out as a budget option for beginners. There are only two teachers and the meditations work in five-minute increments, but Healthy Minds Program also provides a system for tracking progress.

Aura: Meditation & Sleep

The Aura app is special because it is extremely personalized. When users open the app, they can identify how they are feeling and then complete a 5-to-10-minute guided meditation aligned with their current emotional state. Aura provides members with a large library of pre-recorded mindfulness meditations, and it also offers life coaching, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis sessions, and bedtime stories. It really is the all-in-one mental wellness app. 

Meditation is a powerful tool that can be used to reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and encourage a greater sense of relaxation. By incorporating meditation into your daily routine, you can experience these benefits and achieve a greater sense of inner peace and balance.

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