Meditation Sounds, Benefits, & Practice Basics

meditation sounds

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Interested in meditation's impact on well-being, the best meditation sounds, and how to start? Learn more about meditation here.

Meditation sounds and playlists are growing in popularity as people seek better ways to focus.  Simply put, meditation is when an individual calmly focuses their mind for relaxation or spiritual reasons. People mediate for a variety of reasons, including: to reduce stress, put a stop to racing thoughts, or to push aside distractions.

A 2011 Harvard study found that meditation helped put a stop to the subjects’ ‘default-mode’ characterized by anxious mind-wandering, which correlates with unhappiness. Using meditation to focus on “living in the present” may actually impact our neural mechanisms and increase our happiness levels. While investigating brain activity in experienced meditators and matched meditation-naive controls, researchers found that the main nodes of the default-mode network were relatively deactivated in experienced meditators across all meditation types. That means better linkage between the parts of the brain that oversee self-monitoring and cognitive control.

Benefits of Meditation and Meditation Sounds

Studies have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:

Lower blood pressure
Improved blood circulation
Lower heart rate
Less perspiration
Slower respiratory rate
Less anxiety
Lower blood cortisol levels
More feelings of well-being
Less stress
Deeper relaxation

While meditation does have positive impact on the body and mind, your main goal should be feeling more present in the moment.

Meditation 101 

The easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath. There are two main types of mediation: concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation.

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single chosen object— the breath, repeating a mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. If you find your mind wandering, refocus your awareness. This can be challenging, so start with trying to focus for only a few minutes and then work up to longer stints.

Mindfulness meditation allows for wandering thoughts to be pursued. Do not not to get involved with the thoughts that come to mind, just be aware of them. Patterns in your thoughts and feelings will eventually become noticeable. With time, you will realize an inner balance forming.

Meditation Basics

– Get somewhere comfortable. You may choose to sit or recline.
– Close your eyes.
– Don’t think about controlling your breathing, let it happen.
– Pay attention to attention to how your body responds as you inhale and exhale. If you lose focus, return your thoughts back to your breath.
– Practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods of time.

Watch a short how-to mediation video below.

Meditation Sounds 

To help you get into the proper mediation mindframe, turn to relaxing sounds derived from nature. Created by a Berlin-based team of artists, developers, and scientists, mobile app Endel generates real-time personalized sound environments to enhance relaxation, focus, and sleep.

Sounds that stem from nature and music with five notes per octave, known as pentatonic scale, are especially soothing. Scientific studies have shown that playing music with this attribute can increase the parasympathetic response [rest-digest] in listeners. This physical state conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles within the gastrointestinal tract.

Endel’s core algorithm is based on pentatonic scale, circadian rhythms, and sound masking. The app utilizes pentatonic scale and pure intonation to create simple sounds that promote relaxation, making it the perfect addition to your mediation routine.

Unlike CDs, YouTube, and other sources, Endel is personalized and adapts to different inputs such as time zone, weather, heart rate, and location. Think of it as your ultimate mediation companion that tunes into your specific needs no matter where you are in the world. On top of that, users are also given the option to select from four different sound modes— Relax, Sleep, Focus, and On-the-Go.

The innovative iOS mobile app can be downloaded here or through the following button. Give meditation and meditation sounds a try and enjoy reaping the benefits of a more focused mind!

Sources: The New York Times, Gaiam