Meditation has its benefits – it slows down breathing, quiets the mind which allows for our blood pressure to lower, helps our racing mind to be still and relaxes tense muscles. The problem is most think within the meditation box, that it’s one-size-fits-all. This mistaken identity can frustrate new comers who have been recommended to try meditation, maybe for health reasons. The first time they sit on the mat and try to clear their mind of thoughts, their mind becomes flooded with thoughts, every stress and mundane thought that brought them to the mat in the first place invades their mind. Every time they try to clear their mind, it just fills back up and they end up quitting with the belief they’ve failed. But the reality is, there’s more than one way to meditate.
We are all different and if you use the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to find your personality preference, you can chose a meditation practice to better suit your needs without getting frustrated and giving up before you even truly start. If you’re as honest with yourself as possible, you can find your personality type easily. First you need to know the basics. The acronyms seem like codes, but their initials, E,I,S,N,T,F,J & P stand for the following:
(E) extravertion: outgoing, active, sociable
(I) introvertion: introspective, solitude, smaller group of friends
(S) sensing: practical, realistic
(N) intuition: relies on intuition, sensitive to patterns
(T) thinking: logic minded, judges with facts
(F) feeling: empathetic, slow to judge or act
(J) judging: structured, does not adapt to change well
(P) perceiving: open minded, flexible
As for the 16 personality types here is a short description of each to help you find what best describes your personality traits. There are basic tests you can take online, but if you take the test with a qualified practitioner you will not only find your type with higher accuracy but will gain a richer understanding of MBTI, what it means for you as an individual and how you should be operate in a group environment, understanding why people are the way they are and what makes them tick.
ISTJ – Practical, realistic, responsible, quite, serious, likes things organized and orderly at work and in the home. They value loyalty, respect laws of the land and traditions.
ISFJ – Committed, quiet, friendly, conscientious, responsible, loyal, honors commitments. Thoughtful to other’s feelings and needs, values harmony in all their environments. Enjoys nurturing others, great listener.
INFJ – Protective, caring, people-curious, community-minded, materialistic, and decisive. Holds firm values, does not handle conflict well, high-expectation of self, self-drive to meet goals.
INTJ – Original, goal-driven, creative, goal orientated, looks for patterns, skeptical, independent, holds self and others to high standards. Has difficulty communicating ideas, enjoys solitude.
ISTP – Flexible, analytic, quite observer, values efficiency, active, scientific-minded, good at organizing facts and figures. Adventurous and energetic spirit gets board easily.
ISFP – Sensitive, quiet, friendly but reserved, creative and artistic, loyal to relationships and committed to personal values. Dislikes conflicts, respects personal opinions of others.
INFP – Curious, seeks opportunities, service-minded, caring, puts ideas into action, empathetic but reserved emotionally, adaptable, flexible as long as personal values are un-compromised. Likes to help people reach their goals.
INTP – Enjoys abstract ideas, can be seen as anti-social, quiet, flexible, adaptable, greater ability to focus, skeptical, critical, analytical. Emotionally reserved, seeks possibilities and opportunities.
ESTP – Outgoing, straight-forward, enthusiastic, take-action person, hard-working, practical, observant, problem-solver, spontaneous and lives in the moment. Enjoys the company of others, style and material comfort.
ESFP – Has strong people skills, tends to be a peace keeper, caring, sensible, outgoing, friendly, works well with others. Strong observer, uses common sense in the workplace and is realistic.
ENFP – Warm, imaginative, optimistic, needs reaffirmation, supportive, flexible, great improvisors, likes to motivate others, has trouble focusing on projects and seeing them through.
ENTP – Quick-minded, alert, out-spoken, dislikes routine, reads people well, tries new things often, adventurous, strategic, analytic, resourceful, visionary, creative problem solver.
ESTJ – Practical, realistic, quick and decisive, great at organizing people and projects, very sociable, enjoys social events and networking, thrives on order and continuity.
ESFJ – Warm, energetic, cooperative, seeks harmony at work and home, works well with others, loyal, honors commitments, appreciates punctuality and expects it. Likes to volunteer for community-improvement projects.
ENFJ – Responsible, warm, kind, empathetic, picks up on other’s emotional needs which makes them charming, social, can lead large groups, takes criticism well, can inspire and motivate others.
ENTJ – Upfront and straight-forward, natural leader, very sociable, communicates well, confident, goal-driven, determined and self-motivated, likes to stay informed, enjoys teaching others.
Here is a list of differing meditations to try out based on your individual MBTI type. There is however no reason why all of these couldn’t work for all MBTI profiles – try them all if you wish.
Mindfulness meditation: This is the most commonly known meditation. By being present, allow whatever thoughts occur to rise then detach. Be aware of your breath patterns, deep breaths mean you’re slowing down and relaxing, shallow breaths means you’re tensing up. This quieting of the mind by letting thoughts come and go and being more of an observer will naturally allow the meditator to let go of any invading thoughts, the goals is not to empty the mind but to notice and let go. This is ideal for ISTJ, ISFJ, ISFP and INFJ.
Spiritual meditation: This is a good solution for those that are facing a problem and need a higher power for guidance to work through it. You can practice this anywhere quiet, just sit still, form your problem into a query and listen for your higher powers guidance. This meditation would be good for the types ESTP, ENTJ, ESFP and ESFJ.
Zazen meditation: This meditation is more traditional and takes disciple to practice due to long periods of stillness in one position. Its focus is on holding position, focusing on breath and being discipled to stay present with a clear mind for long periods of time. It is perfect for those that are unafraid of self-study and reflection. Types such as INTP, INFP, ISTP and ENFJ may find the challenge appealing.
Mantra meditation: Is simply repeating a word or words while meditating. You can look to tradition and use Om or bring your own like love or joy. Chanting helps keep the meditator focused and cuts down on distraction for deeper meditation practice. Types INTJ, ISTP and ISFP would benefit most from this style.
Movement meditation: For those that find it difficult to sit still and do nothing or be silent. To gain the multiple benefits of meditation, one doesn’t have to sit and be still. You can still clear your mind, slow your thoughts and let go of stress by slowing down your movements, and listening to relaxing music. Yoga, Qi gong, walking, are movement meditations. For example, in yoga, you can chose to meditate on one thing while you are going through the poses, like peace of mind. You can also take a nature walk, and mindfully let go of any stress-full thoughts. Some will even practice this while doing chores, it’s just a matter of being present. ENTJ, ESTJ, ENTP and ENFP personalities will find this exercise may suit them best.