Do you meditate? I meditate more or less regularly for the last three years. Very often I wish if only I started earlier. I would have a chance to appreciate all the benefits of meditation earlier. It would help me during those exams at University, which were driving me crazy. I bet, my relationships at my first office job would be much smoother as well.
If you are deciding whether you should start meditating or not, I suggest to give it a try. Let’s say for a week. If you meditate for 7 days and nothing changes to better in your life, then drop it. Seriously. I suggest this because I’m confident it will help you.
“But when?”, you’re asking me.
I hear you. Running errands from morning until evening. Meditation represents only another to-do list item. But don’t you already know many people who meditate? And do you know why do they do it? Maybe, because:
- meditation boosts your productivity by 120% or because
- meditation increases your profit by 520%
Meditation has hardly any disadvantages. Nevertheless, few of them might be:
• you can get bored, frustrated or sleepy during meditation if you don’t do it right
• if you are in detoxification phase (drug or alcohol addiction – not green smoothies detox) your mind might be too vulnerable, but it depends on the type of person you are
• if you are in a great shock such as post-traumatic stress disorder (loss of family member, etc.) your mind might be too vulnerable as well
• it might be difficult to find time and location to practice – quiet location with no distraction can be hard to find
• you might have downloaded an app or find a program to meditate, but listening to whale sounds or birds in the Amazon forest might quite annoy you (but here’s a quick fix -change the app)
• you might get frustrated easily, because sometimes it’s difficult to find the right practice, and you are not moving forward
The disadvantages above are more or less associated with the meditation practice itself. It’s not like meditation could have any bad effect on your mind or your body. Just positive stuff here.
So let’s dive into the benefits of meditation.
Mental Benefits of Meditation
1. Improves Focus
Meditation will help you stay focused on your task and fight distraction and don’t switch between tasks.
2. Better Self-Control
A study says that after 5 days of meditation, you will already experience stronger self-control and control of stress. In comparison, the same study proved that relaxation (any relaxation which is not meditation) doesn’t have such a positive effect on the mind.
3. Faster Stress-Relief
According to Mayo Clinic, even a few minutes of meditation can relieve your stress and bring you inner peace and calm. 1-2 minutes of mindful breathing while waiting or commuting can make all the difference.
4. Anxiety Reduction
Meditation will bring you into a state of deep relaxation which reduces anxiety in the first step. In the second step, training the mind eliminates the thoughts that are running through our minds and that prevents anxiety from popping up.
5. Higher Self-Esteem
Meditation helps you to be more satisfied with yourself. It’s linked to our own negative thoughts and doubts, which are eliminated by the meditation. The state of calm will have a positive effect on many different aspects of life.
6. More Positive Emotions
8-week clinical training program explored how meditation affects emotions and found out that left-side of the brain (which is used more by the optimistic people) was activated during this training.
7. Increases Satisfaction with Your Life
Meditation increases your satisfaction with your life by relaxing you, decreasing your feeling of loneliness, pain, and stress and increasing your positive emotions, creativity, and productivity. Is there something left to be unsatisfied with? 🙂
8. Decreases Depressions
Depression is often an inner process during which we jump from one negative thought to another. We are desperate. Nothing goes well in our lives. Switching attention to breathing and concentration on “not thinking” is very essential, because it will help you to start the process of switching thoughts from negative to positive.
Physical Benefits of Meditation
9. Relaxes Muscles
Meditation is not different to other types of muscle relaxation. As soon as you set your mind at ease, the rest of your body will follow. Who wants to switch stretching for meditation?
10. Relieves Pain
Study proves that meditation helps regulate pain stimuli. After 4 days of mindful meditation training, the unpleasant pain was reduced by 57% and intense pain by 40%.
11. Helps You Sleep Better
Almost 1/3 of us have troubles with sleeping. Why is it so? Anxiety is keeping us awake during the night. Stress is waking us in the early morning. Reducing (or almost eliminating) these elements by meditation will consequently positively affect the sleeping pattern.
12. Supports Your Immune System
The 8-week clinical training mentioned above also proved that after that eight weeks of training the meditation, bodies of participants produced more antibodies essential to fight Flu and other transmitting diseases.
13. Reduces Headaches
If a headache is not a symptom of an illness, it’s usually caused by an excessive amount of accumulated stress, lack of sleep or anxiety. Those are all reduced by meditation, thus elimination of headaches will follow naturally.
14. Lowers Blood Pressure
According to WebMD, healthy diet and meditation are natural treatments for lowering blood pressure, and they can have a really significant effect.
15. Reduces Inflammation
As you have already noticed there is a huge amount of studies proving the benefits of meditation. Another study proves that meditation helps the body to fight inflammation.
16. Improves Current Illness
According to WebMD stress and mood take part in the patient’s condition. Thus, meditating can improve this significantly.
17. Production of Stress Hormone Cortisol is Decreased
In 2013, the first study proving the direct link between meditation and lowering of the hormone cortisol (the stress hormone) was released.
Benefits for Your Social Life
18. Improves Relationships
Meditation makes you less judgmental, which is good for you, but it is also good for your family and friends. Study proves that meditation activates middle prefrontal cortex – part of the brain which helps you react intelligently not emotionally. Does that have an effect on your relationships? Oh, yeah.
19. Reduces Loneliness
The same study which was able to prove that meditation reduces inflammation also proved that meditation reduces loneliness. After being exposed to meditation, elderly people who felt lonely felt much better and their loneliness-related behavior downgraded.
20. Improves Interactions with Other People
Meditation teaches you to be present in the moment. That results in getting people around you better. You will not have to ask:”What was that?” again because you will be present and focused on the speech of the other person.
21. Improves Empathy
Being present means that your mind does not wander off, and you can better perceive other person’s speech, emotions, even thoughts, and intentions.
Benefits in the Work Place
22. Makes You Stop Multi-Tasking
The era of multitasking is over. We already know that if we try to multitask our minds are distracted, and we can’t get both jobs done for 100% percent. Meditation helps us focus and eliminate distraction. Thus, we can finish the task quickly and efficiently, and move smoothly to the other one.
23. Supports Your Creativity
As meditation is really a great topic to study, there are also studies proving that meditation helps our creativity. Not only it develops your creativity it reduces anxiety and stress when you are in the process of creation as well. Further, by eliminating thoughts, your brain will also have some extra space for creative thinking.
24. Improves Attention
Being present in the moment doesn’t only mean that we can focus on one task without interruption and then go to a boring meeting and wander off. Meditation affects you in everything you do (if you meditate right). Paying attention to that boring meeting will be a breeze. And if you are the only one who took notes, maybe you should ask for a raise, what do you think?
25. Improves Memory
Many studies prove that meditation actually changes the physical structure of the brain as well as what parts of the brain are used the most. The same part of the brain (outer cortex) is responsible for concentration and for memory, so they are linked. Improving one consequently improves the other one. And with all that focus on the things you are doing no wonder, you can remember them better.
I believe, that if you start to meditate, it will change your life. You will become a calm, mindful, happy and productive person.
…oh yes, and don’t forget about the 520% increase in profit 😉
Keep on the track to healthier life.