As part of your personal spiritual practice, you’ll definitely want to establish a meditation ritual. Meditation allows you to incorporate the element of routine to your subconscious, which is where we need to begin to affect real change in our lives. The benefits of meditation for our minds are well-documented, so rest assured it will be worth it to make meditation a habit. So, what are some benefits of meditation, anyway? Read on to find out!
What is Meditation?
You’ve probably heard of meditation, but if you don’t exactly know what it is, you might be confused as to why it can be beneficial.
Meditation has been around for at least 3000-5000 years and first documented in India and China. But it’s unclear if the documentation found by researchers is referencing a practice that people had already been doing for a long time. It could just be they were creating language to describe a new technique. Suffice to say, people have been enjoying and growing from meditation for a long time.
We describe meditation as a technique used to focus on a particular element, usually the present moment. When we do this regularly, we can retrain our brains to be quiet, which allows us to tune into our inner selves. Our inner voice isn’t very loud, and our everyday routine and all the noise in our environment drowns it out.
Why do we want to hear our inner voice? It’s where all our innate wisdom and guidance for our lives come from. When we can listen to this part of ourselves, we have clarity about life choices that we wouldn’t otherwise have.
Types of Meditation
There are many kinds of meditation. Finding the right one for you is just a matter of deciding what you want from it. Here are 5 of the best-known types.
- Mindfulness Meditation – helps you to stay in the present moment
- Loving-Kindness or Metta Meditation – enables you to cultivate loving and peaceful feelings
- Breathing Meditation – a technique which brings awareness to your breathing
- Transcendental Meditation – teaches you to rise above your present state of being
- Zen Meditation – similar to mindfulness meditation, often part of Zen Buddhism
It’s been proven that regular meditation can alleviate stress. When we experience emotional, mental, or physical stress, our bodies release the stress hormone cortisol. However, one study conducted using mindfulness meditation found that the inflammatory response caused by cortisol was reduced. Some research has also found that meditation may also improve the symptoms caused by stress-related conditions such as fibromyalgia and PTSD.
Better Sense Of Well-Being
Who doesn’t want to experience this? If you suffer from panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other type of concern, meditation can be a life-saver. It’s been shown that meditation can improve and reduce symptoms related to these conditions. One study done in 2018 at Michigan Technological University showed reduced stress on the artery walls of the participants, who suffered from high levels of worry, after a 1-hour session.
Feel More Connected
In this age of constant distractions, interruptions, and superficial connectedness (like social media), re-establishing genuine connections is very important and healing. Regular sessions of meditating will have you getting in touch with yourself, first of all, on a deep level. When you do this, you will be better at listening to and trusting your own inner guidance. We all definitely need more of this.
As you become more tuned into and at peace with yourself, your close relationships will benefit as well. You will relate to your loved ones better, and your sense of empathy will grow, helping you to understand and navigate challenging times with more emotional stability.
At one time or another, many of us have experienced insomnia. Maybe you have a looming deadline at work, and you’re having difficulty with the research you need to do. Or possibly your best friend is going through a difficult time and you’re worried about her. It’s so frustrating to be tired, yet have your mind running full tilt when you only have a small window of time to get precious sleep.
Meditating right before going to bed can help you get to sleep sooner and stay asleep longer. As you become more experienced, you can redirect your brain when it wants to “run away” with random thoughts that lead to insomnia.
How and Where Do I Begin?
So, how do you start with meditating? First, you need to decide what you want to gain from your meditation practice. Do you want to have better sleep? Do you want to connect with your soul and inner wisdom? Do you want to train your mind to focus and let go of random, distracting thoughts more easily?
Once you figure out what your meditation goals are, you can find meditations that fit what you want. There are many guided meditations out there if you’re not sure what to do once you start. One thing to keep in mind as you set out on this path is to prevent your meditation from becoming a chore. If you don’t force it, it will be much more beneficial for you.
Are you going to try meditating? What are your goals for your meditation practice?
Loving Life–The Reboot!