3 Fantastic Reasons Why Meditation Would Be Great For You
Meditation has a huge number of incredible benefits – it decreases stress, it improves the memory, it aids mental calmness and much more.
The world today can be a very stressful place, no matter how strong you think you are. I have always believed I could deal with anything life threw at me but recently I have found myself in circumstances very different to those I have been experiencing for many years.
My world has changed for me and has become quite difficult to deal with. Being a positive person by nature, I know that my circumstances are only temporary. Nonetheless, it has not prevented me from worrying and having sleepless nights. This has had an adverse effect on everything; relationships, finances, ability to concentrate and ability to focus.
Although I am not a religious person, I am a spiritual person and 3 months ago I turned to more spiritual things to try to find the calmness and focus I needed. I spoke to a few people and did some research. Many suggested meditation as a method to clear the mind and learn to focus on things that really matter, so I gave it a try.
It seems to be working !
I’m not saying that meditation has changed my circumstances in any great way so far, but I don’t worry so much now and I am sleeping better. Because of that I am able to focus and be more productive. These are 3 fantastic reasons why I think meditation could be great for you.
It will improve your health
My health has been quite poor for several years. One of the ways in which meditation has helped me, even in the short time that I have been practising it, is by helping me to relax. This in turn has lowered my blood pressure and reduced my anxiety levels. How do I know this ? Because I have regular health checks and the results during the last check speak for themselves. Studies have also shown that there are many other health benefits to meditation.
Meditation helps your brain work better
Many studies have shown that meditation improves how the brain responds to stress and other research indicates that it improves working memory and executive functions. There is obviously some truth in these studies because most major corporations have set up meditation classes for their employees. Organisations like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple. A fairly recent study identified that only a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory.
Meditation increases positive emotions
It is often difficult in today’s ‘always on the go’ world to feel positive about things. News bulletins focus more on bad news stories than they ever do on good news. We all need more positivity in our lives and I have certainly found that meditation has helped me to look at things with an even more positive mindset.
So how do you meditate ?
How to Get Started With Meditation
On his podcast, author Tim Ferriss finds that the one thing that most of his high-performing guests have in common is meditation.
The only problem is that meditation is also very difficult to get started with – or at least that’s the perception. Meditation often seems almost ‘mystical’ and can come with religious connotations. That, frankly, is old school thinking. People believe meditation involves a big commitment of time and a lot of discipline. Many people will work hard at it and still not see any results.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re keen to give meditation a go and to see the results for yourself, here are some ways to get started…
Educate yourself on the art of meditation so that you will have a base knowledge before you begin. Get some educational materials to view, watch some videos online, and gather some reading material on the subject.
Arming yourself with knowledge before you begin will allow you to have a more peaceful and results oriented experience.
By educating yourself, setting aside a quiet location, letting your family know of your intentions, and securing a quiet spot to meditate in, you can float into a meditation experience that is successful and peaceful all rolled into one.
Pick a Location
Find a soothing, relaxing, and out of the way area for your meditation practice. Set up the area with a few comforting photos, some scented candles, a comfy pillow, and a nice throw rug. Even if it is just a corner of your bedroom where you can go and lock yourself in and not be disturbed, it is very important to claim your private space for your meditation retreat.
Tips for Successful Meditation
Many individuals think of sitting on top of a mountaintop with legs folded and fingers poised when thinking about successful meditation. Meditation does not have to be that extreme but if that is where you feel most comfortable, go for it. As a matter of fact, meditation can be quite simple if you follow a few tried and tested tips for successful meditation.
Set Aside an Allotted Time
When it comes to meditating successfully, make sure that you have an allotted time set aside each week for this purpose. If you choose to start meditating, it is best to begin with a once per week practice until you are more comfortable with the art of meditating. Even if you have to put it in red pen on your calendar, put it on your calendar. Use your smart phone to schedule a reminder or even send yourself an email reminding you of your date with rest and relaxation. The rewards of being intentional about meditating are worth their weight in gold.
Let Everyone Know of Your Intentions
Let everyone in your household know that you will be taking on the practice of meditation and when, how, and where you will begin this process of transformation. Let everyone know that you are committed and disciplined to maintaining this goal and that your health and his or her happiness depend on it, as well. Let your family in on a little secret. Tell them that meditating will be good for you and create a happier more relaxed and healthier you. This will have a trickle down effect on all of your family members and it is in their best interest to support you as you go on this newfound journey.
Approach meditation in the right way and have the right expectations
If you’re expecting to become enlightened overnight, then you’ll be disappointed. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect that something is going to ‘happen’. Instead, try to view meditation – to begin with at least – as a tool for helping you relax and just feel a little more at ease. The idea here is to let your thoughts pass by without engaging with them and to thereby get a ‘break’ from stress and anxiety and busy thoughts. Eventually, this can become a very relaxing place to ‘escape’ to whenever you need to take five.
And if you practice it regularly, the benefits will start to come.
With this in mind, try not to be too harsh on yourself. You’re allowed to scratch your face and you’re allowed to occasionally have distracting thoughts – just keep re-centering and bringing yourself back.
The Right Strategy
To do this, try just sitting down somewhere quiet and for ten minutes let your mind relax. Don’t engage with thoughts and instead just be aware of your body in space – and of any sounds you might notice in the background. Don’t ‘do’ anything, just ‘be’.
If you find this hard, then you can use something external to focus the mind. That might mean counting your breaths, or it might mean watching a candle flame. Another method is to use ‘worry beads’ which you can roll between a finger and thumb absent mindedly.
Another great tool to help you get the hang of meditation faster is the Headspace app. This app provides simple meditation sessions that you can digest in small chunks and will talk you through mindfulness. Another option is to use something like Mindwave. Mindwave is an EEG machine that can read your brain waves and thereby assess the level of activity in your mind. This is a very useful tool for gamifying the process of meditation – but it’s not cheap so keep that in mind.
In fact, you can even try using virtual reality in order to combat stress and that would allow you to visit a ‘happy place’ in a much more tangible way!
Here is a Simple Meditation Technique for Beginners to get you going
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage and belly. Make no effort to control your breath; simply focus your attention. If your mind wanders, simply return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation practice for 2–3 minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
Good luck with your meditation exercises. I sincerely hope they bring you the results you hope for.
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