Our lives are filled with distractions and with constant stimulation. Imagine if there was a way to slow things down, for our minds and bodies to let go of that stress and not be so bothered with everything that’s happening around us. Well there kind of is, and it’s meditation. Meditation is a skill, a way to train our minds so that we can change the relationship we have with our thoughts and feelings. Through meditation we can change how we respond to stimuli and stress and learn how to view things with little more perspective and find a place of calm a little easily. Meditation is an ancient practice, but in recent years has taken the world by storm. Even Hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon – celebrities who meditate swear by the tool of meditation and credit it as the key element to their success.
I was initially very skeptical about meditation myself. As a physician, I was never taught about its benefits. However In the last 40 years there have been over 340 scientific studies published on meditation. These studies evaluated buddist monks before, during, and after meditation, and notice positive changes to the the part of the brain responsible for happiness, decision making, planning judgment, problem-solving, sense of self, and ethical reasoning. Another study showed that buddhist approach to meditation reduces blood pressure and helps to control levels of glucose in blood. Studies have also reported the positive effect of meditation for chronic pain and depression. Here are some meditation techniques that anyone can adopt, which are also popular among celebrities.
Celebrities Who Meditate & The 4 Types Of Practices
1. Focused Attention Meditation
Focused attention meditation asks for your focus to be set on one specific thing. This can be an image, an affirmation, a question, a word, or even something external like sounds or your breathing.
When we meditate it is natural for our minds to wander off, so having something to focus on gives us an anchor. This is why this technique of meditation is suitable for beginners. When practicing focused attention meditation, we learn to recognize when we get caught overthinking and gently step out of it, returning to that place of calm where we focus on one thing of choice. This technique is also ideal for anyone looking to improve focus in their life. Although it can seem simple in theory, this technique can present as a challenge for most people, so practice is key.
A celebrity that utilizes focus meditation is Kelly Rowland. This Destiny’s Child singer swears by it as a way to stay focused every day. “When I’m on the go, the easiest way for me to feel centered is by meditating”.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Originating from buddhist monks, mindfulness meditation works with the fluidity of the mind. The mind is allowed to wander off freely without focusing on anything in particular. During the process, the aim is to become aware of the sights, sounds, and smells around you. This heightened awareness creates space between the observer (you) and what’s being observed and promotes letting go of the things that you can not change. This kind of meditation is great for beginners, especially if you don’t have a teacher to guide you and are embarking on this journey by yourself. A celebrity who used to swear by mindfulness meditation was the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant: “I meditate every day and I do it in the morning for ten to fifteen minutes. I think it’s important as it sets me up for the rest of the day. If I don’t do it I feel like I’m constantly chasing the day as opposed to being in control and calling the shots“.
3. Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation (T M)believes that there is a part of the mind that is already calm. All we have to do is find a way to gain access to it. This simple, natural and effortless technique allows the active thinking mind to settle down. This kind of more structured meditation has been proven to help drop the levels of the stress hormone – cortisol – and helps with anxiety. It also increases the levels of the happiness hormone serotonin and the wellbeing hormone prolactin. Transcendental meditation uses a mantra (a word or sound that is repeated to aid concentration), and this mantra has no meaning so our minds don’t get distracted by it. The meditation is repeated silently for 15 to 20 minutes daily done sitting down with eyes closed.
Many celebrities practice this kind of meditation including Clint Eastwood, Howard Stern, Katy Perry, Rusell Brand, Oprah, among others. Oprah who swears by it said in an interview in 2011: “I brought TM into our studios and taught the team how to meditate. We meditate every day at 9 am and 4:30 pm. No matter what goes on we stop and meditate. You can’t imagine the impact that has had in the company, people are sleeping better, having better relationships, we feel fantastic”.
4. Movement Meditation
Movement Meditation is a great option for people who don’t like to be seated or standing still. This technique is used to pull attention away from distractions around and focus on the body. Examples of movement meditation are yoga and Tai Chi.
Many celebrities use yoga as a tool to stay fit, while others, Like Friends star Jenniffer Aniston, use yoga as their main form of meditation. The actress told E! News “yoga kind of helps you prepare for everything, honestly, It’s meditation. It sort of just allows anything that’s coming at you at the end of the day to be kind of doable.”
The truth is, the best way to experience meditation is to actually do it. You can meditate with a guide or without it. There is no wrong or right way to meditate. Just taking the time to meditate is going to make a difference. That calm state of mind that you get from meditation is what we need to bring into our everyday life, relationships and experiences. I started to meditate two years ago after a colleague suggested it to me. I suffer from Bruxism, which is a condition where you unconsciously clench your teeth. It is very painful and strictly related to stress. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be many options to treat this condition and after trying every option I decided to give meditation a shot and jump on the bandwagon with the other celebrities who meditate. It has helped me control my bruxism and has changed my life.