Meditation was once upon a time reserved for Buddhist monks. However, it is not really limited to a specific religion or spiritual belief which is why slowly, it became more mainstream. Nowadays, ordinary people like you and me are able to discover and enjoy its many benefits.
I have, of course, heard of meditation before, but I didn’t really find a reason before to actually try it. Good friends of mine have begun to go regularly, though, and have invited me to join them on a relaxing meditation class in Bendigo. According to them, I could change my life by incorporating this into my routine.
In order to convince me, they gave me five simple reasons why I should try it out:
1. Your health will improve
Although this is not some exercise or diet, meditation could still contribute to better health, as proven by research. Practitioners lower their blood pressure and decrease their risk of heart disease and stroke. Other studies have also shown that chronic pain is lessened, as well as levels of stress in cancer sufferers. Those with fibromyalgia see reduced symptoms too.
Moreover, cortisol levels went down when one regularly goes for sessions. High levels of this hormone can actually make the immune system weaker and slow down the body’s natural healing process. Lastly, there have been studies that hinted that meditation can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
2. You can sleep better
By doing a 30-minute session can already help you sleep deeper, making you feel more refreshed and energized even if you had fewer hours of slumber. Additionally, those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome might find relief in meditation.
You might also start to have more vivid dreams, and remember them better upon waking up.
3. You will feel less stressed.
There are many reasons why people try out meditation. One of the most popular reasons is to learn to detach from the stresses of life. Nowadays, with the constant stream of information, negative energy is all around. Moreover, smartphones mean that you never really leave work, increasing the pressure and blurring that line between personal time and work.
Not only is meditation well-known as a means to reduce stress, this is also backed up by research as being advantageous to all age groups. New research by Stanford University and UCLA explores how meditation and mindfulness techniques can help children reduce stress and anger. Even teenagers have been proven to see improvements in mood disorders and depression.
Practitioners report that not only do they feel more relaxed, but they are also able to handle themselves better in tense situations that would previously rattle them. They feel more aware of themselves as well, resulting in a sense of calm and wellbeing. This self-awareness can help you identify whatever negative patterns you have in your life and introduce a more positive one, further reducing stress and anxiety.
4. You can concentrate better
By learning to tune out external stimuli, you are actually improving your concentration. At the same time, you become more aware and able to keep focus much longer than before. In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School have seen changes in the brain structure, specifically in areas linked to attention and processing of sensory input. Other research also showed increased ability in staying focused on tasks, faster reaction, and better psychomotor response.
Research at the University of Wisconsin has recently suggested that beyond improved attention, meditation changes how the body allocates mental resources.
5. You become more creative
Surprisingly, meditation triggers parts of the brain associated with creativity. There are ways of meditating that promote a synchronized left and right hemisphere of the brain. This is commonly seen as well in moments of inspiration or while doing something creative. In Taiwan, where a study was conducted to identify effects on creativity, IQ, attention and anxiety, researchers have found that creativity has seen the most improvement.
With such advantages, it was very difficult for me to decline their invitation. This is also because I have personally seen my friends enjoy these benefits themselves. From being a group of friends who struggled with life’s day-to-day struggles and lacked the energy except to complain, I could see them looking and feeling lighter.
I was encouraged and have decided to join them. For me, meditation is a form of mental exercise. In the same way I went to the gym to work out my body, I would go to these sessions to have better control of my emotions and be aware of certain thoughts and feelings that come up regularly. By learning how to let go of these and concentrate on stilling my mind, I started to find my peace. In fact, beyond these 5 benefits stated, the greatest one has to be this feeling of freedom from the heaviness and negativity that seems to be normal these days. Instead, I have a better place to go, all thanks to meditation.