“Hey, feeling good, like I should… Feeling blessed, never stressed” Surfaces by Sunday Best.
I love this song! Only I’m not feeling good, I’m feeling stressed because I haven’t meditated in two days.
Before we get into the benefits of meditation I’d like to take a moment to center ourselves so we can reap the benefits while also reading about them.
“Get into a comfortable seated position, sitting up nice and tall, shoulders back and down. Begin to notice breath. Take a deep inhale, feeling the lower belly expand, hold at the top for a count of 5. Exhale, sigh it out. Inhale resilience, exhale the need to control.”
This is a simple centering meditation I like to do whenever and wherever. That’s one of the many beauties of mindfulness and meditation: convenience. You can practice mindfulness while eating, driving, walking, exercising, and so much more. I immediately feel calmer after centering myself. I’ve adopted a meditation practice for a year now (inconsistent at times) but the benefits still continue to surprise me. I am more patient with myself, others, and my practice allows me to love myself where I am right now.
If you want to help heal the world and yourself simultaneously, then I suggest five reasons why you should adopt a meditation practice right here, right now.
Reason #1: Do it for the cognitive gains
If you need one reason to start a meditation practice, then do it for the cognitive gains. It has been reported that adopting a meditation practice can improve focus on daily tasks and the ability to be more efficient at doing so. A study conducted by Ortner et al. also found that those who practiced mindfulness were less likely to be reactive to external stimuli. With dependency on social media on the rise, this study proves to be relevant.
It can be hard to accept the world as it is right now with everything going on from the global pandemic to racial injustice. What would happen if we stopped scrolling for a second to practice mindfulness techniques? Increased awareness, improved focus, less reactivity? This is not to ignore what’s going on in the outside world, rather turn away from reactive engagement to be more proactive. Use the increased energy and focus to hone in on your rights and talents, find the most suitable path for activism, learn a new language, enroll in a university course, write a novel, train for a half marathon, the list is endless.
(Source: American Psychological Association)
Reason #2: Be a less stressed version of you
Meditation helps with lowering stress levels and has reported benefits of helping those with anxiety disorders. The benefits of reduced stress, reduced risk of autoimmune illnesses, and reduction of blood pressure all contribute to a healthier version of you.
If you are less stressed, you are going to function better, both physically and psychologically. The less stressed you are, the more energy you will have to become a better-version-of yourself. It’s your birthright to experience a life in which you are healthy, happy, and at peace.
Interestingly, meditation can contribute to helping you not only feel less stressed, but look less stressed and have a younger biological age. This is due to an enzyme, Telomerase being lengthened after repeated mindfulness techniques, which affects your biological age appearance. Sign me up! I want to look forever young, or at least feel forever young!
(Source: An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda)
Reason 3: To support your system
Pandemic or not, we need to take precautions to help support our immune system. Meditation can help fight off some of these viruses and infections.
I can’t think of a better time to practice meditation than now in the midst of being quarantined and all. Start with the basics and don’t let your immune system be compromised.
(Source: Plos one)
Reason #4: To have more compassion for others
Long term meditators report being more compassionate towards others. When you meditate, you pass less judgment on yourself. Soon you begin to accept where you are in your practice and you transfer that same energy onto others. You accept them for who they are as you have learned to do for yourself.
Empathy and compassion are direct benefits of meditation. Anybody can benefit from meditating and its mindfulness techniques. A study consisting of therapists reported increased feelings of empathy towards their clients when engaging in meditation. They were able to relate more to their clients’ sufferings compared to those who didn’t meditate. They were also more present and sincere.
I continue with my meditation practice because I strive to be more compassionate and empathic towards others and myself. If I’m in tune with how I’m feeling and honest with myself then I can be more compassionate towards others.
(Source: Davis and Hayes)
Reason #5 : To improve your relationships
Take my unscientific advice on this one. I can tell you all about my non-romantic relationships and how they improved from healing relationships with food to family and with friends. These have all improved significantly since I started a regular meditation practice.
On the other hand, when I fall short of practicing consistently I notice it negatively impacts my relationships. I become ill-tempered with close relatives and fall into old ways of disordered eating. I fail to reach out to those who are closest to me when I don’t meditate. I fall into the trap that I need to be perfect in front of my peers and that I can do everything by myself. Spoiler alert: I can’t and meditation reminds me of that. It reminds me to accept myself where I am and it provides me with the comfort and confidence to reach out to people closest to me.
That’s it! These are my top five reasons for meditating and I haven’t looked back since.
Don’t give up hope if you tried one guided meditation and it didn’t work for you. Part of adopting a meditation practice is being open to new experiences with a sense of curiosity and non-judgement. With that being said, don’t discredit all meditations if you tried one and it didn’t work. The benefits are too great to bypass so keep trying with new meditation techniques. There’s plenty of variety out there.
You might benefit from a 5-minute guided meditation, versus an hour non-guided breathing meditation when starting out. Whatever duration you practice, the benefits are still there.
If you are sold on these benefits and can’t wait to adopt a meditation practice, but don’t know where to start, take a deep breath. Celestial Wellness Rose can help you with adopting a practice and inspire you to keep moving forward. Check out our 4 week meditation course that’s being offered for just 99 cents, or book a personalized meditation session today if you’re in the Sarasota-Bradenton area!
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