It’s an age old practice. Everyone recommends it, so there must be something to it. But what?
I’m no stranger to meditation, though I’d only classify myself as a beginner. I’ve only ever meditating during distressing times of my life, and stopped as soon as I felt better about myself and my situation.
But after investigating into it, I’m definitely going to start again. There’s certainly a reason for it’s antiquity, and I content its something everyone should do, no matter their degree of happiness. Bad situations will always arise, but sustained meditation has the potential to help you through.
The physical and psychological benefits are beautiful.
Physical benefits include:
- Improved blood circulation
- Lowered blood pressure
- A healthy, maintained heart rate
- A stronger immune system
- Improved control in dealing with stress and anxiety. Meditation decreases cortisol (the hormone that causes stress) production, and maintains lower production hours after meditation.
- More restful sleep
- Increased memory retention
- Increased mental agility and alertness
Having a healthy mindset makes for a healthy body. Trapped stress and anxiety can accumulate into layers around your body’s energy field, and manifest into disease and illness. Meditation can help by releasing these stresses.
Psychological benefits of meditation:
- Bodily awareness and acceptance
- Increased confidence
- Increased self-awareness, acceptance, and empathy
- Feelings of contentedness with the present
- Peace from disturbing thoughts
- Revelation of your true self by letting the subconscious mind speak
When you meditate, your mind takes a vacation from all external and internal commotion. By allowing your mind to rest, even for just ten or twenty minutes a day, you’ll come back feeling better prepared to deal with the commotion. We let our body rest when we sleep – we should take our mental well-being into consideration as well.
Now that I’ve explained why you should meditate, I’ll describe how to meditate, for those of you unfamiliar with it.
Find a quiet space and get cozy. It’s best to sit cross-legged, back straight, and palms facing up. I generally stay in meditation until I feel my legs fall asleep. If your back starts hurting, it may be a sign you need to stretch more – or yoga. Since mediation is all about being present and mindful, listen to the pain. Is it trying to alert you of an emotional connection to it?
Start by taking deep breaths. Focus on feeling the air enter and leave your body. Thoughts, feelings, and daydreams might distract you as your mind tries to stimulate itself. Just keep focusing on your breathing, and eventually they’ll fade away. It might take you several tries, or even weeks of practice to clear your mind. All that matters is your will.