We all know that meditation is very good for you, but in exactly what way? It feels as though we are constantly reminded about how meditation is so good for the mind, body and soul and we all know that if we did meditate more regularly, it would be super beneficial.
“But sometimes it’s just so hard to sit down and not do anything.”
That’s what is often heard regarding meditation; that it’s difficult to sit down, silence ourselves and sit in stillness. Why is that so? We often say that we are too busy, we don’t have the time, it’s uncomfortable to sit for so long, I can’t stop my mind from thinking etc. the list goes on. We give ourselves so many excuses as to why meditating is almost realistically impossible. We won’t disagree, it is difficult to begin a regular practice of meditation. But just like with anything, meditation needs practice and consistency. Just like how we learn a new instrument or begin to practice yoga, we are not masters at the beginning. Everything gets easier as we practice it more often. That’s how meditation is, sitting still in silence whilst trying to clear the mind, will slowly get easier as we practice it more regularly. Exploring the inner self is a lifetime job that changes the way you feel and changes the way you view life.
So why is meditation good for us?
1. It reduces stress.
Meditation gives us power to control our emotions and take charge of our own nervous system. Research shows that a mindful meditation may be affective to treat anxiety to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy. In a world these days where it’s easy to prescribe a pill for any kind of emotion or anxiety that we have difficulty dealing with, meditation is a simple and natural solution to our problems. It’s a healthier, cheaper and natural way of dealing with the stresses of everyday life.
2. It improves your focus.
A university study showed that with 20 minutes a day of meditation, students were able to improve their tests on cognitive skills, in some cases doing 10 times better than the group that did not meditate. They also performed better on tasks that were designed to induce deadline stress. Other studies show an improved ability to multitask and an increase in concentration. Therefore, it helps not only in increasing mental strength but also could help manage people with ADHD or those who get distracted easily.
3. It benefits our cardiovascular health system.
Meditation induces relaxation, which increases nitric oxide that causes blood vessels to open up and therefore allowing blood pressure to drop. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that out of 60 patients, 40 of them who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication.
4. It slows the aging process.
Studies show that meditation changes brain physiology to slow aging. A group of Harvard scientists ran an experiment where 16 people continued with an 8-week mindfulness course, integrating meditation into their daily activities. At the end of the course, MRI scans show an increase in grey matter concentration- literally, more brain cells. The study also showed that the meditators had longer telomeres (segments of DNA at the end of our chromosomes indicative of biological age). As our bodies age, more of our cells lose their telomeres. Therefore, it is not our age that determines when ‘the clock will stop’ – it’s in the length of our telomeres.
5. It increases happiness.
Scientifically, studies show that with meditation, brain signaling increases on the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions, while activity decreases on the right side, which is responsible for negative emotions. Therefore with more positive emotions, our overall happiness is increased.
Overall, meditation helps you relax, keeps you healthy and improves your performance in pretty much any physical or mental task. In order to see these benefits in yourself, you must have a consistent practice of daily meditation. It’s good to just start slow, even with just 10 minutes a day in the beginning and as you get more comfortable, you can start increasing your practice. We hope you take these benefits into consideration and can slowly integrate meditation into your daily life. <3