Meditation to me, was always this state of bliss that I would never be able to reach in my life time.
I thought this because every time I sat down to “clear my mind” I would start thinking more and eventually get frustrated and do something else.
So when I realized this year that everything that I do is my choice back in June, meditation seemed like the natural way to train my monkey mind and improve my mental state.
Again, the “clearing of the mind” and “sitting still and in peace” came as a challenge to me. I was now open to change and letting the good in but, I still had a lot of angst and discomfort that I was wrestling with so just sitting and breathing to feel better was still not the best option for me.
Being curious (and a bit skeptical), I decided to start researching the benefits of meditation as incentive for me to do it. I wanted some legitimate scientific proof instead of the airy-fairy answer that it will simply just change my life.
Google the benefits of meditation and the amount of information is mind boggling! Firstly, there are at least 23 different ways to meditate and then there are literally millions of articles about it.
“OK… so there must be something good about it… that’s a good way to start.”
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation can strengthen your brain! You know how you lift weights to strengthen your muscles? Well meditation is like weight lifting for your noggin’ except less sweaty.
How it works: Meditation makes the pre-frontal cortex thicker as well as increasing the amount of grey matter.This increases concentration, as well as better thought and decision making. By having more grey matter, people experience better learning and memory, as well as a greater sense of self.
Deal Better With Pain
Numerous studies have found that meditation is a powerful painkiller. Even people who only just started meditating reported less pain than when they were previously tested.
Improves Mood and Overall Wellbeing
Studies have found that people who had depression and/or anxiety reported a better feeling of wellbeing after committing to a regular mediation practise. Some people who were getting regular panic attacks reported a dramatic decrease.
Not Just For The Mind, Also For The Body
Studies have found that meditation has benefited people in a physical way:
- Reduces the risk of heart and stroke
- Changes the immune system to better deal with stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increase in inflammatory disorders like IBS, asthma and arthritis
- Weight loss, mainly because people became more mindful of their eating habits.
Better Mind, Better Relationships
By calming your mind, studies have found that meditation is also great for our social lives.
One theory is that because we are at greater peace within ourselves, it makes us more empathic to the people around us. Meditation is also proven to reduce worry, hence we stop worrying about what people think of us as much (game changer for me!)
In The Present
Fast forward 6 months, and I now have a pretty solid meditation routine. I feel so much calmer than before and I notice that my meditation is now incorporated into other parts of my life. I can be doing the dishes or walking and suddenly realize that I had entered a meditative state again, without conscientiously meaning to.
The major benefit that I have experienced is being able to deal with my emotions. I could be a hot mess to calm and back to hot mess in a matter of minutes but my moods have definitely stabilized for the better.
Meditation For You
Are you thinking that meditation might be something that you want to try now?
If so, my advice is to allocate 5-10 minutes a day to practise, for 7 days straight. Remember that it isn’t going to come naturally right away, but by setting the intention to sit with your thoughts, you are already well on your way.
Make sure to find some guided meditations that you like. You can find them on Spotify (in the podcast section) or on Youtube. These are perfect for keeping your mind on track and avoiding the frustration when you realize you are “thinking too much again.”
And finally, just enjoy the journey. Nobody is perfect at something straight away (and if they say they are, they are lying!) so celebrate your wins and learn from your mistakes.
One More Bit Of Info..
If you are into pictures, the infographic from Live and Dare is the greatest! The author really did his homework to go through all the scientific documents and make it really easy for the reader to understand all the great stuff about meditation. If you are interested in learning more, I really recommend this article.
Be Kind, Be Brave and Forever Curious.
Lots of Love,