This post was originally published on 9/24/2021 and last updated on 6/28/2022
One quick search can show that the practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years. With human beings constantly evolving and creating new things that work better, it’s important to take note of the things that haven’t changed.
So, what’s the deal with this meditation thing?
Meditation Has Many Benefits
Most of which are psychological, but it even has some benefits that are physical as well. This simple practice can aid people with mental illness, help memory loss, and assist those who have high blood pressure. And those are just a FEW benefits of meditation.
In addition to those few benefits, meditation can significantly help those with ADHD, it has been known to help those recovering from addiction as well. Another thing, there have been studies using mindful practices to reduce pain. And those are just three things that aren’t even part of the five other benefits I’m about to list!
“So? I don’t have memory loss or mental illness. I’m fit as a fiddle.” – a super cool person.
Well, cool person, first of all, I am JEALOUS of you and your health. You seem to be living your best life. Except, you aren’t.
This isn’t just for people who are struggling, even if you have no current issues with your mental wellbeing, meditation can help create a sense of calmness in your life. It can help you with decision-making or organizational skills.
Did you know it’s been proven that even minimal amounts of meditation can improve productivity? It lengthens your attention span and trains your brain to be less distracted.
It’s beneficial for everyone and you’d be astonished at how it can change your life.
Why I Got Into Meditation:
One of the reasons I got into practicing this is because of constant fatigue. I tried sleeping anywhere between five to ten hours a night. I ranged from sleeping the day away to not sleeping very much at all. It isn’t healthy for a person to function that way. Bodies thrive on routine and care, and changing the times I fell asleep and woke up, altered my ability to function efficiently. I tried sleep medication, reading before bed, working out, and taking warm showers at night but the only thing that has actually helped is meditating.
The absolute best part of all of this is IT’S FREE! Think about the last time you learned something that you could use for the rest of your life and the whole lesson was free. Even if you need help connecting with your mind and body, there are guided videos on Youtube, podcasts on Spotify, and tons of blogs with detailed instructions. None of those resources cost you a dime. And if you like that, you’ll love the ways it can create a more positive environment in your life.
Benefits of Meditation
1. Improves Sleep
Creating a regular practice of meditation can aid fatigue. You don’t need to spend hours a day doing this. If you were to set aside ten minutes a day where you sit and become mindful in your meditation, it can help your brain function more efficiently.
Also, I have a few mental disorders that make it very hard to focus on one thing at a time. But practicing this helps a person gain control over the thoughts and functions of their own body. Practicing mindfulness can make it easier to relax in stressful situations or when you are trying to fall asleep.
Practicing this is like working out a muscle in your brain. You are just reinforcing the conscious control you have over your thoughts and focus. You are making yourself a superhero in mind control! (But you can only control your own mind.) Meditation is an excellent aid in helping your brain work more efficiently.
2. Aids Depression and Anxiety
The practice of habitual meditation can strongly influence depression and anxiety. Some doctors prescribe meditation like they would anti-depressants.
A lot of times, overthinking about the future, the past, friends, family, or the utter non-control we have in the world can cause moments of stress and depression. Practicing mindfulness helps to reinforce good habits about how to handle stress, which then makes it easier to lead ourselves away from overthinking.
In our brains, the mPFC (medial prefrontal cortex) controls a lot of decision-making and thoughts about ourselves. This area in people with mental disorders tends to overreact when stress occurs. Meditating can help create and solidify calm responses to these thoughts that may appear in our minds. This simple practice can create a healthy habit that, when practiced habitually, can fight these feelings of anxiety and even replace them with constructive helpful thoughts instead.
This breaks bad habits of falling down the rabbit hole of despair and hopelessness and reinforces more calm thoughts if not positive ones.
3. Reduces Stress
Because mindful meditation focuses on breathing and being in the present, this can calm a person and even lower blood pressure. Sitting in a comfortable position and focusing on just breathing deeply and only allowing the present world to come into one’s mind can help ease thoughts of anxiety and stress.
As a beginner, it can be harder to sit still and only focus on breathing. Some people chant while meditating. Yes, the classic ‘om’ comes into play here, but so do phrases like “I exist.” “I am powerful.” A quick search can open up a world of mantras that assist in mindful meditation, you can pick any that speak to you and use them to better focus your mind.
In the long run, it will aid in making your attention span longer. You will be able to spend more time working on projects or figuring out how to solve problems that come your way. You’ll have more control over your focus and your thoughts.
4. Reduces Anger
In addition to reducing stress, meditation can also reduce anger. Anger is often a front for a different emotion we subconsciously do not feel ready to confront yet. Meditating can help make you more mindful of your full span of emotions and can help you to accept your own feelings without judgment.
Habitually practicing meditation can help people have stronger control over their emotional responses to the world. This can help you rewire your own brain to understand other circumstances.
Being mindful of your control over your thoughts and emotions can help remove unnecessary negativity from your life.
There is an idiom like ‘Don’t borrow trouble.’ Oftentimes people make trouble that is not necessarily real. This can be a range of things like assuming someone said something bad about you. Or assuming you are going to get in trouble at your job or maybe assuming you are going to mess something up. See the pattern here?
We all ‘borrow trouble’ because it’s hard sometimes to just expect things to always go well. Well, meditation reminds us that even though things don’t always go well, they don’t always go bad either. You can learn how to only focus on thoughts and emotions that carry substance and let the ones that have little meaning float away.
Mindfulness is a great way to live this narrative. It is the key to not focusing on past pains and instead focusing on the current present life and learning to just be grateful and happy with the bare minimum life has to offer. It’s a course in how to be grateful for the ability to breathe, love, feel, and exist in this world.
5. Aids Neuroplasticity
This is one of the best effects of meditation in my opinion. People are raised with certain biases everywhere and sometimes they need to be unlearned. One of the hardest things to do is unlearn narratives that have been practiced or engrained in our minds from our youth. Everyone has their own variations of thoughts and beliefs that should be challenged.
Meditation helps to break these thoughts and beliefs that can be poisonous to us. Neuroplasticity is the ability of brains to change the way they function and process things. Mindfulness increases our neuroplasticity and makes it easier for us to change our own minds. This can be groundbreaking for people changing the current paths of their lives or perhaps overcoming an addiction.
There have been studies done that show ritual meditating can lead to more surface area in the brain. This helps people in many ways, from having a stronger memory to making decisions easier, habitual meditation can genuinely better you in nearly every way.
One of the factors that makes me a huge fan of meditation is that it’s accessible to everyone. It doesn’t cost any money. You might feel uncertain to just sit and focus on your breathing at home, but lucky for you there are plenty of apps and YouTube videos made for guided meditation sessions.
Just in case I haven’t emphasized it enough, the most important thing to achieve is making it consistent. If you can only donate ten minutes one day, do it! Having longer meditation sessions can aid in making some of these effects stronger but consistency is truly the key to achieving all you can from this practice.
So after listing just some benefits of meditating it’s easy to see why mindfulness is so important. It can be easy to believe this is just crazy-hippy-lady writing and none of this is true. Just check out all of those highlighted words for more information. This practice is worth your time.