There is no person who could not benefit, even if it just be slightly, from meditating. It is challenging to select only five benefits that can occur from regularly participating in a meditation practice, but if you are not sure about trying it out this top five list may just give you the little encouragement you’ve been looking for. Meditation is a skill that is learned through practice. Just like any other skill, there will most likely be challenges and struggles. It is important to be patient and kind with yourself surrounding your meditation practice, especially if you are new to it.
- Improves Concentration
A major part during the practice of meditation is to acknowledge your thoughts as they pop into your head and then let them go, returning to whatever focus your mind had previously been engaged on (i.e. your breath, a phrase, an object, a sound…etc.). Learning this skill of redirection, through meditation, can be utilized in other areas of your life. You will become accustomed to shifting your attention back to what you were doing before you were distracted…you see how this could be applied in virtually every area of your life.
- Stress Reduction
Stress can cause serious physical side effects. Through the process of meditation, a person can lower his or her stress levels. Firstly, meditation requires a person to have some down time, as it is commonly practiced with a person sitting, quietly. This calmness can help to put some of the unnecessary stressors of life into perspective. Sitting still and embracing relaxation also helps to lower your nervous system by lowering the amount of production of cortisol, which is known to be your body’s stress-related chemical.
Integrating a meditation practice into your life can actually help you sleep better. There have been studies that show that, as little as a ten-minute meditation practice, daily, can help a person fall asleep easier and stay asleep. Being properly rested can, in turn, help many other aspects of your life. It is common knowledge, that unless you have a severe disease (something that requires antibiotics, or other prescribed medications), sleep, in addition to ample fluids, is known to be the best medicine. Hence, teaching your body how to attain healthy sleeping habits and patterns, through meditation, can also help to keep you healthy.
Commonly, people think that meditation is just sitting and thinking about nothing. It is almost impossible to just make your mind go blank, especially as a beginner to meditation. During a meditation practice, you will have to focus on something. One of the most common tools used in meditation is one’s own breath. Focusing on deepening your breath, through conscious breathing and meditation, you can stimulate your respiratory system and increase your blood circulation.
That is right—meditation can actually increase your ability to extend kindness and forgiveness, both inwardly and externally. Through many studies, it has been found that people who practice loving-kindness meditation, raise their ability to experience and emote compassion towards themselves and also towards others. This particular type of meditation focuses on the development of one’s internal kind thoughts and feelings about him or herself. Through this loving-kindness meditation practice, one’s personal skill of focusing on one’s self-loving-kindness is then extended outward to a person’s family, friends, acquaintances, and eventually to one’s enemies. The more you practice loving-kindness meditation, the more freely you will practice kindness and the more you will experience positive feelings.
As revealed in the above list, meditation can be an incredibly useful tool for all individuals. There is no need for a person to place unattainable meditation goals on him or herself, right off the bat. Start slowly, and build your meditation muscles up gradually. The important thing to remember surrounding meditation is that it will always be there for you. You can take your meditation experience at your own pace, in your own time.
If you are interested in learning more about meditation, there are many places to gain further information. A good starting point could be a quick online search, as there are many videos and audio tracks you could do in the comfort of your own home. Additionally, many yoga studios will offer meditation classes or will, at the very least, be able to point you in the right direction. If you aren’t sure about trying it out, remind yourself of the above benefits and remember that you have nothing to lose in giving it a shot.