Meditation is vital for our 'neuroplasticity', the brain's ability to adapt to change and reorganize itself over time, as it is the essential mental exercise which strengthens and develops the mind like a muscle, just as physical exercise trains the muscles in the rest of our body. It is widely known that what happens in the mind also happens in the body, and therefore a healthy and strong mind directly influences our physical health as well as our mental and emotional health, due to the mind-body connection. There are two main channels of focus, both of which train the mind in various ways and aid health and wellbeing on a number of levels. .
The first type of meditation is called 'Shamatha' in Sanskrit, which is a narrowing of focus and which helps to train the mind to focus and stay where you put it. This is a helpful tool for general concentration, focus, memory and an important skill to have in all aspects of life. This type of focus can bring about what is known as a "Change of State", whereby the meditator can shift from one mental, and subsequently, physical state to another, providing a kind of mental holiday or break, which could be a vital first-aid response in times of great anxiety, panic, stress, pain or discomfort, and which is a useful skill for general self-management.
The second type is called 'Prajna', which is a broadening of focus, whereby the meditator provides themselves with a space and opportunity for self-reflective investigation, and through which they can establish a connection with their own personal truth and develop a deeper insight and clearer understanding of how things really are in their own reality and in the world around them. This is a wonderful skill to have in times of doubt, crisis and confusion, but also an essential channel for achieving true peace of mind. This kind of focus can act in a more long-term capacity for bringing about a "Change of Trait", whereby deep awakenings and revelations can occur, creating longer-lasting and often permanent change in one's being.