The Benefits of Meditation and How to Get Started

 

When was the first time you’ve heard about meditation?  Was it during a stereotypical martial arts movie where a meditating monk is an absolute must? Or did your yoga friends tell you about it? Maybe the term appeared on your Instagram feed while you were procrastinating at work. 

Either way, meditating is something that grew so much in popularity, it’s hard not to scoff when you hear somebody talking about it. After all, what’s so great about meditation? You just sit around in an uncomfortable position, eyes closed, waiting for time to pass. Right?

Well, not exactly. Now, I’m not here to point out that you’re wrong and say that you absolutely need meditation in your life. I’m just here to try and make you look with fresh eyes at what you think you know about it.

Because after all, I was also once in your position. Yeah, you heard that right. I used to roll my eyes every time I heard the word ‘meditation’, and I was so sure that it wouldn’t fit my active way of living. But once I started looking into it and practicing it, I began to understand why people do it.

The truth is, meditating helped me in more ways than I could say. And today, I want to tell you more about meditation, and show you how you can get started. So, let’s get to it:

 

What Is Meditation?

Meditation can be over complicated by some people.  It is true that it can be defined as a technique through which a person can obtain mental and emotional stability, improve certain cognitive functions such as attention, self-awareness, compassion, and empathy. These results are achieved through practices that involve deep thought and forming a more complex relationship between mind and body.  It can also be simple mindfulness techniques such as closing one’s eyes, focusing on relaxed breathing and allowing thoughts just to come and go like clouds that float on by.

Although meditation is practiced in many religious contexts, it plays an especially big role in Buddhism and Hinduism, because of the many benefits that meditation has been proven to have, it’s practiced outside its religious context.

Westernised meditation can be split into two big categories:

  1. Focused/concentrative meditation — while practicing this kind of meditation, you focus on things such as your breathing, or you concentrate on a particular idea
  2. Open monitoring/mindfulness meditation — on the other hand, this kind of meditation concentrates on reaching a state of awareness, becoming more mindful

 

The Benefits of Meditation

Maybe meditation wouldn’t be so popular today if it weren’t for the benefits it provides. Because it works and it helps out so many people, it has become its own phenomenon, turning into a technique known and accepted by many more people. 

Now, you might be thinking: ‘What’s so good about meditation?’

Is it just the fact that it teaches you how to become more relaxed and patient? Yes, meditation does instal those things into your being, but it’s so much more than that. Meditation has more benefits on the human body and mind.

Meditation reduces stress, anxiety, and depression

The truth is, we’re living in hard times. A lot of people are dealing with debts that are going to take years to pay off, struggling to find jobs that they like, or working in stressful or dangerous conditions. And this doesn’t even cover half of it.

It’s quite easy to become prey to negativity and sink into depression this way. One of the best ways to fight stress, anxiety, and depression is positive affirmations and mindful meditation. A study even shows that once one starts continuously meditating, the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, drop significantly. 

Meditation improves sleep

We all know that stress and anxiety are major destructive forces when it comes to maintaining an orderly sleep schedule. (see my last log on The Importance of Sleep and How to Sleep Well) They might even cause severe cases of insomnia. 

But how does mindfulness meditation help you sleep? Well, it relaxes the body, untenses sore muscles, and induces a calm state of mind which facilitates falling asleep. So if you’re suffering from insomnia, or just have a hard time falling asleep, try integrating meditation into your pre-bedtime routine. 

Meditation enhances emotional and personal development

Self-awareness, compassion, empathy, kindness, attention, self-worth. These are all things that meditation can enhance within a person. It might seem like a stretch, but on the whole, meditation can make you a better person. 

For example, just practicing meditation can help you calm down and become more patient, especially if you’re a person that gets fired up easily. 

Also, self-inquiry is something widely practiced during meditation. This can help you get a better grasp of your emotions and thoughts. 

Because meditation helps with anxiety and depression, it also plants a seed of self-love in the mind. This promotes compassion and kindness not only towards the self, but also towards those around us. 

 

How To Get Started

By now you’re probably wondering how you can start meditating. Well, the easiest technique includes the following steps:

  1. Find a comfortable position to sit in
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing
  3. After a few moments, move your focus to your body. Notice how each separate part feels and moves as you inhale and exhale

The secret is to keep your focus relaxed. If your mind starts wandering, it doesn’t matter, recognise it, then shift the focus back to your breathing. Try starting with just a couple of minutes per day, and build up to meditating for around 15-20 minutes per day.

Our thoughts are like clouds when we meditate, we would like to see the blue sky but sometimes small clouds float in the way.  That’s fine, allow them to float on by and the sky will return.  Oh, and some days the sky may be grey and full of clouds, but just remember the blue sky is still behind them.  Relax and allow the blue to shine through.

Of course, these are just the basics, but feel free to explore and try out more complex meditation practices. 

 

Bottom Line 

Now, I know meditation seems like a piece of cake. You might think that all you need to do next is watch some YouTube videos and follow a few easy steps and boom! You’re meditating. 

While this might be accurate for some, other people have a harder time when it comes to meditation. And there’s no shame in that. This just means that they need somebody to guide them through the process. 

If you need somebody to show you how it’s done, or you just want somebody to help you turn your life around, then you’ve landed on the right page. With my experience and knowledge as a life coach, I can show you how to transform your bad habits and thoughts into good habits and positive vibes. 

So if you’re ready for a change, be it in your professional life or your personal life, then reach out and let’s start working on your journey.