Incredible Benefits of Meditation & Tips to Stick to Your Daily Practice
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In our fast-paced world, distractions are at every corner. We are constantly on the run to finish our tasks, meet our demands and desires.
While we all crave peace and tranquility, these are not easily within grasp as our mind is occupied with worries and thoughts. This leaves us feeling stressed, anxious, and restless.
Hence, it’s no wonder that meditation practice has seen a surge in popularity, as more people discover its astonishing science-backed benefits.
For many, it is the perfect choice to help calm down the busy mind. Most people use it to reduces stress and improve concentration. Plus, meditation is also an effective way to discover your true self, helping you live a happy and peaceful life.
Anyone can practice mediation, anywhere. Practicing meditation brings a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Starting a meditation practice is easy. Maintaining it daily, however, is when the challenge begins.
In this article, you can learn more about the incredible benefits of meditation, as well as useful and practical tips to stick to your practice.
Meditation relieves stress & anxiety
Between endless to-do lists, checking and answering emails, constant (virtual) meetings, and the everyday life chores, we often feel overworked, stressed, and anxious.
Mediation is an effective tool to reduce anger and release tensions of daily life. When we reach a deep relaxation state, we forget about all the worries and tensions, become calm, and gradually feel a sense of joy and peace.
Meditation opens us up to different perspectives. It activates the part of the brain that makes better decisions, which helps us find clarity and peace of mind. It improves our perception, clears the negative thoughts, and fills the mind with love, compassion, positivity, and peace.
Meditation strengthens the immune system
Regular meditation practice will increase the body’s immune system by boosting the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream. This helps the body better neutralize viruses and bacteria that attack.
A study by UCLA showed that HIV positive patients who meditated regularly better maintained their level of CD-4 cells – white blood cells that protect the body from infections – than those who didn’t.
Meditation helps us get better sleep
With the constant stress in our fast-paced world, many of us suffer from insomnia and the lack of sleep has become detrimental to our overall health and well-being.
Stress inhibits the production of melatonin hormones – a neurochemical that is essential for sleep – making it difficult for us to sleep at night.
Meditation will help us get better sleep as it brings about relaxation and reduces stress.
Thus, our bodies will be able to produce melatonin naturally, helping us to get that deep, invigorating slumber we all crave for!
Meditation improves attention & ability to focus
Millions of people suffer from poor concentration.
One of the prominent benefits of regular meditation is that it improves and enhances attention and concentration. Hence, it improves your cognitive skills, which leads to a better quality of life.
A few minutes of meditation can help us control our wandering minds by turning off the chatter in the brain.
During meditation, the focus is on inhalation and exhalation. We let all other thoughts pass by. This practice of paying attention to one thing only increases the ability to concentrate and focus.
Meditation allows us to connect with and understand our thoughts and emotions at a deeper level. It helps develop a clear, calm, focused, and controlled mind.
The practice of meditation can help to truly focus on the present instead of constantly anticipating what’s coming around the corner and feeling as if we’re always running out of time. Better performance and increased productivity are a direct result of focusing the attention on one task at a time – there’s no such thing as productive multi-tasking!
Meditation boosts the brainpower & stimulates the mind
The practice of meditation calms the buzzing mind and provides a sense of relaxation. This blissful experience is then sent from the brain to the entire body, making it feel restored and de-stressed.
By improving mental health, meditation makes us stronger, calmer, and more efficient at work. It has been proved by many globally recognized schools that regular meditation increases the density of grey matter in the brain gradually. This grey matter is responsible for learning, memory, compassion, self-awareness, and introspection.
Just a few minutes of meditation regularly can enhance the brainpower and improve the whole psychological wellbeing. You’ll be more creative and boost your learning abilities.
Meditation keeps the brain healthy
Several studies have proved that just a few minutes of meditation daily can help protect the aging brain.
After our 20s, the brain starts to degrade in size, volume, and activity. Regular practice of meditation can slow down the normal cognitive decline that happens as the body ages. Mediation can also effectively help manage various neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Meditation helps improve our breathing
As we meditate, we quiet the mind and focus on the breath. As we focus on the breath, the breathing becomes slower and more regulated. The resting heart rate also slows down.
A slower heart rate and regulated breathing will lower the risk of a great number of diseases including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. There are many breath-focused meditation practices to try out that attain this benefit!
Meditation teaches us to live in the present
Regular meditation promotes mindfulness, which helps to avoid useless thoughts and lets us focus on the present moment. It takes us to a deep state of relaxation where there are no fears and worries, no memories of the past, and no tensions of the future.
All we feel is the intoxicating silence and that is the stage where the mind experiences itself in its truest, purest, most natural form. When we’re in this state, it makes it easier to live every moment to its fullest.
Indeed, yoga practitioners frequently use meditation to help achieve this sense of calm and quiet, which then allows them to be in tune with their bodies to perform their poses.
Meditation increases self-awareness
Self-awareness is all about knowing us in a better way, including the strengths, flaws, capabilities, fears, and true essence. In simple words, it’s about knowing our body, mind, and spirit.
To know ourselves in a better way, we need to stop thinking and doing for a while, and just focus on ourselves in silence. Meditation gives us that silent time to become self-aware by connecting us to our inner self.
Meditation increases the neurotransmitter levels
Neurotransmitters are information communicators that affect our mental and physical state. When they are out of balance, there are adverse consequences.
Two important neurotransmitters are serotonin and norepinephrine. A decrease in these neurotransmitters can result in an overwhelming sense of sadness, often leading to depression.
Meditation boosts both serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain to a healthy "depression-resistant" level.
Furthermore, it has been shown to reduce the size of the anxiety and depression center in the brain. Amygdala is the brain’s “flight or fight center” and the key stress-responding region of the mind. When we face any negative event, the amygdala triggers a bunch of negative elements in our body, including depression.
Meditation helps in cooling off the amygdala by shrinking it in size. In simple words, this breathing practice turns off the most critical brain region, the depression or fear center.
Thus, meditation can improve us physically, mentally, and spiritually. When we are calm, well-balanced, and peaceful, we automatically feel happy throughout the day. It changes our attitude towards life and provides us with an optimistic mindset.
Meditation helps us become healthier
Once we incorporate meditation in our daily habits, it may take several weeks to notice its effects on our health and overall well-being. As we experience improvements in your health and state of mind, we’ll be more motivated to make even more changes to help create and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Soon, we make more conscious decisions about the food we eat daily. This not only helps us become more aware of what we should be eating but will also help us not to succumb to emotional eating.
Various research shows that meditation can even aid in reducing the risks of chronic illnesses and health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart diseases, as well as ‘heal’ high blood pressure patients.
A study by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that two-thirds of its participants (high blood pressure patients) who were asked to start meditating regularly, were able to go off their blood pressure medication after only a few months of practice!
Meditation helps change our outlook on life for the better
By being present and focused on the here and the now, we learn to let go of the past and the negative emotions associated with it. We also learn to not worry about the future and all that might be. We start living life in the now, appreciating and enjoying the environment as it is.
Meditation also teaches us to take note of our emotions and let them come – not suppressing them. While we allow our emotions through, meditation helps us to not react extremely to them. It gives us the ability to experience but not grasp onto our emotions.
Useful & practical tips to stick to a daily meditation practice
Now that you’ve learned about the many benefits of meditation, you might want to give it a try and make it part of your daily routine.
But the many distractions and obstacles we encounter can easily set us back. Thankfully, it’s not that hard to keep the meditation habit.
Make meditation a habit, not a chore
Include meditation in your daily routine and look forward to it.
Some people find it easier to include it in their morning self-care practice. Upon waking up, just before you get out of bed, spend some minutes meditating. Others choose to meditate before turning in for the night so that it helps them wind down and fall asleep faster.
Or it can be part of your daily exercise habit. Start with a short meditation, then do some yoga stretches, before you continue with your cardio or weights routine.
In the first few months of your practice, keep your meditation time short – you can start with as little as 3 -5 minutes per session.
Starting with short sessions will help eliminate any excuses that you might find yourself coming up with. It will also help you focus better as sitting still for a few minutes at a time is easier than long periods.
A word of caution though: it is beneficial to lengthen your meditative sessions over time so don’t get too comfortable with short sessions!
Use an app
Practicing meditation does not require using an app. However, in our busy lives, that little help coming from our friendly devices can do a lot of good to ensure we stick to our practice.
There are a myriad of meditation apps and most often nice features even on free plans.
Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, and Buddhify constantly rank among the top apps used across the world and also among the best. Try them and see which fits your needs best.
Make meditation enjoyable
Make meditation a special time that is enjoyable for yourself.
Set aside a space for your meditation practice. Decorate the area with inspirational boards. Light warm and inviting candles in your space. Use aromatherapy to calm the senses.
In short, you should want to look forward to your meditation sessions, and the best way to do this is to make the space in which you meditate as inviting as possible.
Bring your meditation everywhere
After months of meditation, you may start to feel like you need a change. A good way to do this is by exposing yourself to other available meditation styles.
Meditation retreats are a great way to find out about other meditation styles out there that could be suitable for you. Going on a retreat also takes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to explore yourself just a little bit more. Retreats also offer you new insights as you get to learn from different teachers as well as other retreat-goers who share similar or different experiences from you.
Remind yourself why you’ve chosen to meditate
When the going gets tough and meditation starts to feel challenging, remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.
Remember the benefits that meditation has brought into your life and will continue to bring. Let go of the negative thoughts that may fill your mind and instead focus on the good.
Change the way you think about meditation. It is not that you should be doing meditation. It is that you choose to do it.
Feeling like it’s time to go on a meditation retreat but can’t travel right now? An online meditation course allows you to reap all the benefits of meditation from the comfort and safety of your home.