Nowadays, there are so many different options that are good for your health, it becomes difficult to decide which one is actually beneficial for you. With every kind of class possible, and the new year just beginning, it becomes more stressful to decide which direction you want to go.
But, if you're looking for something that is just as great as yoga, barre, Pilates, or any other trending workout, and one that you can even do at home (free!), then you should try meditation! In case you need a little more convincing, here are 11 reasons why you should try to meditate:
11 It Improves Your Productivity
Who would possibly think that sitting and doing nothing could improve your productivity? As strange as it may seem, sitting in stillness for a brief period of time actually allows you to be more productive later. According to Time Magazine, studies have shown that meditation allows the mind to focus clearly on one thing at a time, eliminating all distractions and producing greater efficiency. The ability to control the mind to concentrate fully and completely on one task absolutely stimulates productivity. Furthermore, Time states that meditation can improve your attention span, refine your focus and sharpen your memory, all of which can lead to greater productivity in your everyday life.
10 It Helps With Creativity
Anyone who works in a creative field is often faced with being mentally blocked creatively. Unable to produce a product leaves you frustrated, fueling your mind with negativity. According to filmmaker David Lynch, he believes that negativity is the enemy of creativity. By allowing yourself to step back and meditate for a brief moment in this situations, allows you to rid your body of that negative energy. Meditation also makes you concentrate on the now and requires that you focus all of your energy on what it is you want to accomplish, this can push that creativity forward, and who knows, maybe during your meditative state, your mind imagines the next greatest idea!
9 It Establishes Self-Control
PickTheBrain.com states, “Meditation has been shown to be one of the most powerful ways to increase willpower.” How is this? Studies show that the practice of meditation increases blood flow to the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for controlling your actions, your thoughts, and even your feelings. So just as you gain muscle strength through the body when you workout your muscles, you gain neural connections through the brain when you “workout” your mind, improving connections between the areas accountable for self-control. The process of meditation teaches your body to sit still and your mind to do the same. This practice of discipline translates over to any other area of self-control in your life, whether that be eating less junk food, maintaining your temper, or quitting smoking. Learning the power of controlling your mind can drastically change immeasurable aspects of your life.
8 It Boosts Your Health
Countless studies have been conducted about the positive effects of meditation on the body and the mind and how it affects overall health and wellbeing. Time and time again, meditation has been scientifically proven to positively improve general health. WebMD cites meditation as an effect remedy to ease chronic pain, anxiety and stress. Furthermore, it states that meditation can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, boost your mood and immune system, and resolve issues related to pregnancy. Not only that, but Frontiers in Psychology studies show that meditation has also been linked to decrease age-related gray matter atrophy in the brain (meaning that meditation can help to keep the brain matter healthy and young slowing the onset of dementia).
7 It Cultivates Self-Awareness
Meditation is a process in which one is forced to sit wholly and completely with him/herself. No distractions, no judgments, no interferences…just the practitioner and his/her own mind. To many this may be intimidating. However, the practice of meditation teaches one to really focus inward, to really become self-aware. Taking the time to sit and become an “observer” of your own thoughts really allows you to notice how your own mind works. Once you understand the way that your mind establishes and works with thoughts, you can truly begin to manipulate the way that you think allowing your attitude and outlook to create whatever outcome you desire from any situation.
6 It Grounds You
The practice of meditation teaches you to become self-aware, present and ceaselessly patient. These two forces ground you and establish a firm connection to reality. If you allow the “monkey mind” to control you, your thoughts will spring from place to place and create dramas and assumptions that do not even exist. Instead, practicing meditation teaches you to observe your thoughts and observe your reactions creating awareness, mindfulness, and acceptance to keep you grounded in actuality, truth, and the present moment.
5 It Calms The Mind
Meditation has long been known to be a practice that relieves stress and calms the mind. Mayo Clinic describes meditation as a simple and fast way to reduce stress, stating that spending even just “a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.” The practice of meditation teaches you to silently reflect and to focus on your breath. This simple process allows the mind to literally take a “breather” and slow down. Taking just a moment or two to soothe the mind (particularly when feeling stressed), can really affect your tranquility. Meditation teaches you to find serenity even amidst the storm, calming the body, the breath and the mind all at once.
4 It Improves Sleep
This is evident! Meditation requires you to shut out the bad and just relax your mind, so it is no surprise that if you meditate you will sleep better. By meditating, you are in a more relaxed state and have a clearer mind, so when it comes time to falling asleep, you have a better grasp on being successful because you know how to let go.
3 It Teaches Patience
The practice of meditation is no easy endeavor. Although the theory of the process may be simple enough, the actual practice is infinitely harder. Attempting to sit still and quietly is hard enough, but attempting to silence the mind is even more difficult. The practice takes a lot of time and a lot of dedication, devotion, discipline, and, most of all, patience. You cannot try once and become frustrated and then quit. Learning to truly meditate may take years and years of dedicated practice. The process of returning back to your meditation even after failed attempts with the hope and faith that one day you will succeed is the beauty of the practice. Meditation teaches faith and incredible patience. The famous yogi Sri K. Pattabhi Jois once famously said: “Practice and all is coming.” Practice now, and have the patience and faith to believe that the rest will follow.
2 It Draws You Into The Present Moment
Meditation is a practice of presence. Becoming fully aware and mindful of the moment at hand is one of the truest forms of meditation. Meditation teaches you that life exists in this very moment. The past is behind you and the future is not promised. All that you have is the here and now. The practice draws your awareness and attention to this moment encouraging total and complete presence by simply slowing your mind and focusing on your breath. The Guardian states “living in the moment really does make people happier,” so by combining mindfulness and encouraging presence, meditation can actually make you generally happier as a whole.
1 It Teaches You To Let Go
Meditation is all about the process of letting go. Letting go of negative emotions, letting go of past hurts, letting go of judgmental thoughts, letting go of expectations, letting go of disappointments…letting go of anything that does not serve you. As simple as it may sound, the actual practice of letting go is not easy. Meditation teaches you to make that process easier. A common mantra (or phrase) used by practitioners is “this, too, shall pass.” This mantra teaches you that everything in this world is ephemeral. Nothing is permanent and, therefore, nothing can be held. This applies in so many ways to the meditation practice. If an itch arises as you sit in meditation, try not to scratch it. Accept that this, too, shall pass. If a negative thought crosses your mind, try not to indulge it. Accept that this, too, shall pass and let it go. Acknowledging and accepting this fact teaches you to truly let go. Sonia Rocotti epitomizes this concept with her beautiful quote: “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” Let go, and allow your meditation practice to teach you all of the secrets of life.