The Fast Paced and Ever-Changing World We Know Today Comes With Many Benefits
At the same time, stress is taking a toll on people around the globe. That is where the benefits of meditation may help you live a healthier and happier life.
Our world today also comes at the cost of high uncertainty in many areas of life. It is a contributing factor to health problems, poor relationships and reduced productivity at work. Many feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and ultimately confused about where they are going - and why.
If you identify with any of the above, consider trying meditation. The main benefit of meditation is to restore your calm and inner peace.
There are many reasons why meditation is one of the simplest and fast ways to reduce stress. First off, anyone is able to learn and practice meditation. It is also inexpensive and does not require you to buy any special equipment. Finally, you can also meditate wherever you are – whether you are in the middle of a business meeting, at home or out for a walk!
So, what is meditation and what does meditation do?
What is Meditation and What Does Meditation Do?
So, what is meditation? Let’s define meditation before we get into what meditation does!
Meditation helps you enter a state of deep relaxation through calming your mind. What is often misunderstood is that meditation completely stops your mind’s activities.
Understand it more as the state of ‘thoughtless awareness’. Meditating is not an act of doing, but rather an act of being. You are either in this state, or you are not.
True meditation requires much more than just taking a moment to sit quietly. It's a state of deep peace that takes place when the mind is calm and silent, yet alert.
In that state, you will be able to untangle the yarn ball of thoughts in your crowded mind and focus your attention.
Brief History of Meditation
Meditation has always been closely related to the religious context behind it. It has been practiced for thousands of years. Originally, it was used to get a deeper understanding on the spiritual and mystical sides of life.
However, the secular forms of meditation were introduced in India In the 1950s and arrived in the western world a decade later. While the early forms focused on spiritual growth, the secular forms focus on stress reduction, relaxation, and self-improvement.
Today, there are many different types of meditation. Many also choose to combine it with other stress reducing activities, such as mindfulness techniques, yoga, and sleep.
How Often Should You Meditate?
It is truly up to you how often you meditate. However, keep in mind that whatever you focus your attention to will grow stronger. In turn, that which you pull your attention away from will grow weaker.
That is why a consistent daily meditation routine is recommended for the best results. Just like with any other skill you want to learn, the key is to practice.
You can also view meditation being similar to healthy eating. Only eating healthy once or twice a week is a good start. However, to truly get the benefits out of it you have to take action every day and maintain that habit daily.
Simply put: crisis meditation won’t work!
How Long Should You Meditate?
The recommended time for beginners is between 5 and 10 minutes every day. However, you can also start with only 1 minute and slowly increase as you go.
For some it will be easier than for others to get into a relaxed state. The most important thing is to just start and be consistent. The idea is that you are implementing a new habit into your life. Keeping it simple is the way to go.
Keep in mind that doing only a few minutes of meditation every day is 100% more than you are doing right now – regardless of how long you do it!
After a few weeks, evaluate what works best for you. Think about the impact and results of your meditation sessions. When did it work best for you and for how long?
We are all different and have our own individual needs. There is no right amount just as there is no wrong amount. However, keep in mind that the more you practice, the more results you will see and feel!
Different Meditation Positions & Meditation Practices
Full-lotus is a cross-legged sitting position with your feet placed on the opposite thighs.
Half-lotus is a cross-legged sitting position with one foot on the opposite thigh and the other foot below the other thigh.
Burmese is a cross-legged sitting position with your feet next to each other in front of you.
Seiza is a sitting position where you sit on your feet.
Kneeling is a sitting position where you sit on one or both of your knees.
Mental Silence During Meditation
One of the best ways to meditate is by becoming mentally silent. One of the mental silence meditation forms is called Sahaja yoga.
This meditation involves ‘switching off’ irrelevant brain networks. This allows you to focus your attention on the present.
Sahaja yoga is known for being the path to peace. With this form of meditation, the idea is that you strive for purity and transparency.
So, what are the benefits of meditation? Let’s begin!
Benefits of Daily Meditation
There are many benefits of daily meditation. For one, it can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance in your life. This will be positive for your emotional well-being, and in turn flow over positively for your overall health.
Another great benefit of daily meditation is that the effects don’t stop once the session ends. In fact, research has shown the long-term benefits of meditation to be carried throughout your entire day. In some cases, they will also help you make symptoms of certain medical conditions more manageable.
While the physical benefits differ from person to person, it is easier to identify the emotional benefits. The emotional benefits of meditation can include:
- Gaining the ability to see new perspectives on stressful situations
- Being able to build skills to manage your stress
- Being able to focus on the present
- Reduce your negative emotions
- Increase imagination and creativity for your work and private life
- Increasing patience and tolerance towards all relationships around you
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
There are many benefits of mindful meditation. This type of mindfulness activity is done by sitting with your eyes closed, legs crossed, and a straight back. Your attention should be focused on your abdomen when breathing in and out.
What you could also do, is focusing on the breath going in and out of your nostrils. Whenever you become distracted from your breath, your mind starts wandering around, after which it should return to focusing on your breathing.
The benefits of mindfulness meditation include:
- Better sleep
- Weight loss
- Lowering stress levels
- Decreased loneliness in seniors
- Decrease of negative emotions
- Increased attention and focus
- In some cases, increased pain management
- Prevention of depression relapse
- Reduction of anxiety
- Increase in brain gray matter
Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation typically go hand-in-hand. Both have been used for thousands of years as a form of physical and mental exercise to keep both mind and body happy and healthy.
Yoga helps you improve your balance, flexibility, strength and endurance. Meditation on the other hand, helps you keep your mind sharp, relieves anxiety & stress, and in turn can even boost your immune system.
Below are some of the benefits of yoga and meditation:
- Back pain relief
- Beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- It is the perfect hangover cure
- It is very healthy for your heart
- Helps you fight against your asthma
- Improves digestion
- Helps you sleep better and deeper
- Boosts your mood
- Helps fight against your migraines
- Helps you get mental clarity
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
Spiritual meditation is, at its core, the mindful practice to connect oneself with something greater than the individual self. It is the most pure and honest way to self-reflect.
While there are many different spiritual meditation techniques, they all share one thing in common. They all require you to do so with an attitude of integrity and authenticity when self-reflecting and viewing the world around you.
Also, many different religions practice their own form of meditation. However, anyone can follow or practice spiritual meditation.
Here are the spiritual benefits of meditation:
- It has a ripple effect. As your spiritual awareness increases, so will your abilities and desires to help others!
- It will help you release any grudges you are holding on to.
- You will be able to focus your spiritual aspirations.
- Allowing mindfulness into your faith can be very calming.
Medical Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is the skill that allows us to connect our internal and external worlds. As mentioned earlier, it comes with many benefits for both the mind and body.
There are many different stories from people who claim that meditation has healed them or at least relieved them from their medical conditions. However, what we will be looking at are science backed medical benefits of meditation instead of anecdotal stories!
Out of the many medical benefits that meditation provides, below are those that are proven by research!
- Meditation improves your cognition
- It is a stress stabilizer
- Latest research shows that it has pain reducing effects
- Some research shows that people with heavy IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) experience significantly lower symptoms after meditating regularly for 2 months
Benefits of Meditation and Sleep
Meditate to sleep better. As mentioned earlier, meditation helps increasing your sleep quality. Actually, most of those effects of meditation contribute to a better sleep.
One of the most obvious reasons is that meditation can be used as a relaxation technique. Allowing your mind and body to calm down before bedtime may help reduce insomnia or any other sleep problem. That is because many sleep problems have been linked to stress and worry.
In addition, meditation has proven to increase the control over your autonomic nervous system. In turn, this strongly reduces how easy you wake up at night.
Here are a few more benefits of meditation and sleep! Meditation is also linked to:
- An increase in the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone)
- An increase in the production of serotonin (the happy hormone)
- Slowing down your heart rate
- Decreasing your blood pressure
- Activating important parts of your brain which are linked to sleep
Importance of Sleep
Sleeping well is very important for living a healthy life. Just like meditation, good quality sleep improves your mental health, physical health, and quality of life. Using meditation to sleep better can be very effective.
While you are sleeping, your body is ensures that your brain function is fresh for the next day. This will allow you to be able to learn and remember new information.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation will have negative effects on your health. You will start having trouble making decisions, solving specific problems, and controlling your behavior & emotions. Many find themselves simply unable to cope with change. In fact, sleep deprivation is also linked to depression, suicide, and more.
Also keep in mind that the right bedding makes a world of difference in your sleep quality. We highly recommend you try out our latex mattresses with Vita Talalay inside!
Drawbacks of Meditation
Nothing is perfect, even meditation has some drawbacks!
One of the main drawbacks of meditation is that it is very difficult to understand what meditation really is. That is why many people think they are meditating, while in reality they are very far from achieving a state of thoughtless awareness.
People who try to meditate while not being mentally stable, run the risk of surfacing past or recent problems, which could be traumas or depression.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of meditation far outweigh the drawbacks. In fact, the only drawback is that you should learn how to do it properly!
There are so many benefits of meditation that will allow you to live a healthier life. It has both physical and mental benefits to your health and well-being.
We highly recommend for you to try it out. As with all things, it may not be for you. But you will never know until you try!