Have you heard the many people who claim that meditating changed their lives? Most believe that achieving this state is something hard that is not for everyone. The truth is quite the opposite.
Meditation is simply a way of training your mind to go into a quiet space. Just like learning to ride a bicycle, the brain of the one meditating will learn to tap into this state of bliss and relaxation without trying hard enough or having to do anything in particular.
Different types of meditating exist, and all of them have the capacity to change the way you think and perceive events around you. If you can make meditation a daily habit, you will reap the long-term rewards of achieving this state of being on a permanent basis.
Why do people take a part of their day to commit to this passive activity? There are numerous benefits of meditating for all areas of your life.
When people are faced with stressful situations, meditating is a safe haven for them. It is a place where you can pull yourself away from your situation and see it from another angle.
Most people use meditation precisely for this reason. Stress releases a hormone known as cortisol that can increase the inflammatory response of the body. Meditating decreases the levels of these hormones and changes the way the bodies responds to stressful events.
Conditions that are induced by stress such as post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia can be significantly improved and their symptoms reduced to a minimum. (1)
Control Over Anxiety
When the stress response of the body is reduced, anxiety that can be experienced on a chronic level is also eliminated. Participants who take on meditating experience a reduction in anxiety after eight weeks of daily meditating.
Symptoms related to anxiety, like phobias, social anxiety, OCD, and panic attacks, can also be eliminated. In studies, participants experienced a reduction in anxiety through different meditative techniques. (2)
Improves the Emotional State of Being
Meditation is a great tool for improving the way you look at life as well as the way you perceive yourself. People who experience depression are often suffering from a tinted perception of life and a weak sense of self-value.
Meditating is a way of changing the way the mind works on a very basic level. In studies, the electrical activity of people who practice meditating and those who don’t are very different. Those who meditate experience a boosted self-confidence, greater optimism, and positive thought patterns that were not there before. (3)
Increases Self Awareness
Self-awareness is the understanding of yourself which can help you expand into your best version of yourself. One of the meditation benefits is that you can understand yourself better, relate to yourself better, and be more aware of others.
Daily meditating can shine a spotlight on thoughts and patterns of thinking that are harmful or destructive. When you are aware of these, you can begin to steer the course of your thought towards a more constructive pattern.
Improved Attention and Focus
Meditating is a great way of quieting the mind of all side thoughts and focusing on a single topic or image. The constant training of the brain on this type of activity increases the focus and attention span for many other activities.
People who regularly meditate experience an improved focus to stay on a single task for a longer period of time. They also have a better memory of the details of the task than those that do not meditate. Even a short time of meditating daily can improve your attention span, focus, and memory for details.
Generates Feelings of Kindness
There are types of meditating that are meant to specifically invoke and make one susceptible to experiencing feelings of kindness towards oneself and others. Through these practices, people train themselves to experience more forgiveness, kindness and compassion for themselves, which naturally extends to others in time.
People experience numerous benefits from this type of meditating practice including improved social relationships, better partnerships, improved marriage, and better management of difficult situations. With time, these meditation benefits accumulate and become even more noticeable.
Helps With Addiction
People who suffer from addictive behaviors or addiction towards substances can benefit greatly from a meditative routine. The discipline of the mind that is developed through this practice can help one be more controlled and aware of the triggers that make them turn towards addictive substances and behaviors.
According to research, meditating on a regular basis can redirect the attention towards positive habits, increase willpower, teach control over emotions, help manage impulses, and help understand the root cause behind certain behaviors. (4)
Sleep is one of the cornerstones of human life. Sleep is a time of regeneration and rebuilding for the body. Good sleep is paramount to good physical, mental, and emotional health.
There are, however, too many people who suffer from insomnia. Some cannot fall asleep readily while others wake up during the night frequently or have trouble falling back asleep once awoken.
People who meditate go to sleep faster than others and stay asleep for a longer period of time. This is because meditation benefits our state of mind and helps us get rid of racing thoughts that are the primary cause of insomnia. Meditating is commonly used to release tension in the body which naturally induces sleep.
The perception of pain is directly correlated to our state of mind. In studies with an MRI machine, the brain was observed when the body was exposed to painful stimulation. Part of the participants that went through mindfulness meditating sessions. Their brains had increased activity in centers that are related to the control of pain. (5)
People who meditate experience have a greater pain tolerance and less sensitivity to it. Those who go through meditative training have less complains of a chronic or acute nature.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is known to strain the heart and capillaries. Meditating relaxes the body and lowers blood pressure. Those that have a higher blood pressure prior to the practice have a drastic improvement in their blood pressure after a meditative session.
How to Make Meditation a Daily Habit
The benefits of meditating are accumulated when it becomes a daily habit. Here are some tips on how to make meditating something you do on a daily basis.
Choose a Realistic Time Frame
Meditating does not have to be an hour-long activity. Meditating for 20 or even 10 minutes every day can do the job. It is better to do it every day for a short period of time instead of aiming for hours of practice and missing it because there was no time.
First Thing in The Morning
The best time to meditate is in the morning when the day is just beginning. Your mind is still fresh from sleeping, and the practice puts you in the right set of mind.
Do it Anywhere
Meditating is not something that requires a quiet room. This is only in the beginning. After you get used to the feeling, you will be able to meditate almost anywhere. You have no excuse for a lack of time if you can do short meditation whenever you can relax for a bit.
When you keep a record of your session, you can be sure that you are not missing any days. Motivate yourself through checking a streak number. When you look back at how many consecutive days you completed, you will feel proud of yourself.
Cut Back When Need Be
Sometimes, you might have to cut back on your sessions. You might not be able to do your 20-minute session. Instead, do something shorter because the circumstances are such, and continue on with your regular practice the next day.
Accept Failure Sometimes
Remember, meditating is about relaxing and releasing the struggle. Do not make it a marathon in which you beat yourself up if you fail to complete your goals on some days. It will inevitably happen in the beginning.
Remember, nobody is perfect. Meditating is not about perfection. It is about returning to this state of being every day for as much as you can. If you reach your daily meditation goal today — great, but do not beat yourself up if you do not as you can start over the next day.
Final Thoughts on Meditation
Like all things — practice makes perfect. Meditating on a daily basis will develop your meditative ‘muscle’, and soon enough you will be able to achieve this state of being much more often and much easier. When you meditate on a daily basis, you will reap all the benefits from it that will accumulate over time and become part of your life.
Remember to go along with the flow of events and remember that meditating is not about being perfect but more so about getting in the state of permanent relaxation and greater resilience to whatever life throws your way. While it is not a magic pill, the benefits will be apparent to you over time.
Make this easy and simple commitment for yourself and others. When you experience the benefits of being in this state of being every day, you will achieve a state of self-acceptance and love that will overflow from you towards others. It is a way of helping yourself and the world around you as well.