The art of meditation involves becoming aware of your thoughts, observing them and eventually achieving mastery over them. Meditation means listening to your body and the workings of your own mind and spirit. Many forms of meditation teach awareness of the subconscious act of breathing. When you are in sync with your breathing, you enter a different realm of consciousness. Doing so may relieve stress and help you relax and make you feel more rested than after the deepest sleep. It may also give you a sense of calm, peace, joy and efficiency.

With practice and discipline, meditation is used to cultivate mindfulness, a practice discussed below. Meditation can be associated with specific spiritual beliefs and is a part of many culture-based approaches to healing, including AyurvedaIndigenous healing traditions and traditional Chinese medicine. Some forms of meditation require that you maintain specific postures or repeat specific sounds or phrases. Other forms are much more casual. Many people meditate when they paint, write or watch a sunset.

People with HIV use meditation to help themselves relax, deal with stress and anxiety and increase feelings of control over their lives. Meditation is also used to strengthen one’s sense of self since it may be understood as a way of listening to your internal voice. Many different spiritual traditions teach meditation. Look for one that is meaningful to you.