We’ve all seen a growing trend around meditation, and as much as we don’t enjoy short term trends and fads, we completely believe in and agree with the evidence on the benefits of meditation.
Despite some misconceptions and scepticism around meditation, it is simply a peaceful act of tuning in to your thoughts and building a sense of calm awareness and mindfulness about yourself and your surroundings.
Meditation recharges your mind, productivity, boosts your mood and energy. “Meditating for 20 minutes also equates to taking a 1.5 hour nap, but you won't have that "sleep hangover" afterward. Instead, you'll feel awake, refreshed and more conscious.”- Emily Fletcher, meditation expert at Harvard University.
Because practicing meditation helps you to quiet your mind and make you more self aware, it can be beneficial physically, mentally, and emotionally. Meditation is commonly used to treat mental health disorders, addiction, and everyday stress, as well as to heal physical ailments and promote better sleep.
Here’s how practicing meditation can positively affect the quality of your life:
- More productivity, better decision making ability, creativity: Meditation every day can help increase your creativity, intuition and connection with your inner self," says Burke Lennihan, a registered nurse who teaches meditation at the Harvard University Center for Wellness. People who meditate regularly are shown to be able to think clearly when making decisions.They’re more rational in their ability to deal with challenges and various situations they may face.
- Improves mood: Studies show that practicing meditation regularly has increased daily experiences of positive emotions. These findings show that following mindfulness meditation practices significantly affects the brain and immune system positively. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology also found this to be true.
- Improved dialogue with yourself and mental state: Incorporating meditation in your daily life also enables you to just watch your thoughts, experience them without trying to control or react to them. This helps clear your mind and declutter it given our over-stimulated and stress prone lifestyle. This is incredibly relieving and you’re additionally able to start creating a healthy dialogue with yourself, improve critical thinking, break unhealthy habits by helping you detach from emotions associated to an action, enables you to understand your thought processes and have more control over what you think.
- Less stress, tiredness and fatigue: With meditation’s stress relieving effect, it substantially reduces anxiety and blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure makes you less susceptible to heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. “It appears to produce changes in brain activity. It also can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol...that’s released in response to stress” says Dr. Deepak Bhatt, Harvard Health Letter.
- Treats mental health disorders: A research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2014 found meditation to be helpful in relieving anxiety, pain, and depression. For depression, meditation was about as effective as an antidepressant.For someone prone to depression meditation can be incredibly therapeutic, as opposed affecting people’s productivity, relationships, work life and so on. By making meditation a habit, people can reduce the symptoms before they even start as it increases overall calmness and boosts mental clarity. Meditating also helps you stay in the present moment in comparison to focusing attention to the past and the future, which can potentially negatively affect all aspects of your life and relationships.
In addition to providing mental, emotional and physical benefits, meditation can additionally be done anywhere for as long as you want. You could meditate with your eyes open or close, focus on sounds around you or on your breathing only, focus on an object- it could be anything as long as you are decluttering your mind and transcending to a peaceful state. Starting with 5 minutes is definitely optimal. But seeing as this practice increases mindfulness, reduces individuals' experiences of stress and ultimately reduces the risk and severity of stress-related diseases, this is likely to become one of the best habits you’d have adopted.