It feels like everyone these days is stressed out. And as if we didn’t have personal problems, the media is practically designed to wear us down —
- advertisers trying to get us to buy things
- politicians trying to get us to vote for them
- the Next Big Thing to binge watch
- that page-turning bestseller you simply have to read
But sometimes you just need to relax! Calm down the brain, and sink into a space where thinking about the rushing world isn’t so important anymore. And that’s where meditation comes in.
The first benefit of meditation: Peace of Mind
That feeling of calm relaxation you’re seeking? The feeling of inner peace? It’s something you can achieve with concentrated meditative practice. Embarking on meditation can be scary. When I first started, the prospect of trying to shut my brain off was intimidating in a big way. But the thing about meditation is that it’s not quite shutting off your mind, it’s *focusing* your mind, and becoming one with what your mind and body want from you and want from each other. Granted, not everyone uses meditation the same way, but one common factor in all forms of meditation is that an awareness forms of the mind and its senses, and how we perceive the world around us while meditating is very different from when we are simply going about our days.
A second benefit: Physical Stress Relief
Once I gained a better awareness of my mind and body, and I really started to get into the groove of a regular meditative practice I was also able to notice changes — namely I realized that not only was my mind feeling better, my body was too. Because that’s the second benefit of meditation, it’s not just about mental health, but physical health. Stress puts a great deal of strain on the body, and the full embrace of meditation can ease away tension that we don’t even realize we’ve been holding within ourselves.
A third benefit of meditation: It’s like you can do all the things!
Meditation gives you energy. I know I’ve been saying that meditation brings calm, relieves stress, and for many, that brings thoughts of snoozing. And while it’s true that a little bit of meditation before bed can bring some sweeter dreams, a little bit of meditation in the morning also boosts your brain and can give you a kick of clarity in the daybreak that gives an extra buzz to that morning coffee. I know personally that when I first wake up my brain is a mess from whatever dizzying dream I had the night before, and the focus afforded by meditation gives me the concentration to tackle my to-do list with gusto.
When you get right down to it, meditation is a practice that reaps an enormous amount of benefit for very little cost. Sure it can be a little difficult to start at first, but so is everything, and meditation is worth the effort put forward. While it’s true I once avoided meditation myself, I now embrace it wholeheartedly, because the mental and physical benefits have so vastly improved my life, and I’m confident that if you incorporate a meditative practice into your routine these three benefits will manifest for you as well.