Scientific research has found a positive correlation between meditation and a host of fantastic benefits. Everything from sleep and concentration, to memory and learning can be improved by implementing a steady meditation practice. It can even help with depression.
Here’s a look at how you can start a meditation practice and begin taking advantage of these wonderful benefits.
But first — let’s better define what exactly meditation is.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of training your mind in awareness. It is a practice that emphasizes deep breathing, observation, patience, focus, calm awareness, and radical acceptance.
How Does Meditation Actually work?
It’s important to note that meditation for sleep works differently than meditation for depression, and likewise, meditation for anxiety works differently than meditation for stress, etc. Still, there are some through-lines. Most of all, meditation works by re-teaching your brain how to think and emote. With continual practice, the simple act of meditating can help you focus better and reroute your thoughts when necessary. Meditation gives you more control and authority over your mind and emotions.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation. The goal of mindfulness is to focus and accept anything and everything you are experiencing. This starts with careful observation and intense focus. You might notice things like the sounds of distant birds, traffic, or even the TV on in the next room. You can observe your breath, how your joints feel. Finally, you can take stock of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that enter your awareness.
While on public transportation, brushing your teeth, raking leaves, or any other time. When mindfulness is done within a meditation, you will sit, lie, or walk, and aim to note, observe, and accept what’s happening around you during this peaceful time.
How Meditation Helps the Mind and Body
How Meditation Helps in the Workplace
Many workplaces are beginning to implement meditation spaces and meditation instruction for their employees. Why? The benefits are simply too great to be missed — even for offices, factory settings, and other workplaces. Specifically, at work, regular meditation among employees can promote:
A better sense of comradery among coworkers
Fewer stressed-out employees
A more peaceful work environment
More satisfied clients and customers
Fewer sick days and other absences
How Meditation Helps in Anxiety
Meditation can help “rewire” the brain to stop focusing on distracting, anxiety-filled thoughts and emotions. Many people with chronic anxiety have this problem: They linger on anxious thoughts as if doing so will fix problems or slight issues in their lives. To the contrary, this habit is generally a waste of energy — worries that have no benefit. Therefore, training the mind to leave these tempting thoughts alone can release anxiety and promote a calmer, more relaxed attitude.
How Meditation Helps Sleep
Meditation is perfect for eliciting the relaxation response. In doing so, it can help quiet your brain before bed, which will in turn help you sleep better and for longer.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation?
Here are just a few of the amazing benefits you can expect from your meditation practice:
2. Enhanced focus and lengthened attention span
3. Help with bad habits and addictions
4. Controlled anxiety
5. Better emotional health
6. Improved posture
7. Sounder sleep
Frequently Asked Questions About the Benefits of Meditation
Q: Can meditation help with pain?
A: Yes, meditation can help recenter your thoughts if you are struggling with significant or minor pain. Often, discomforts are accentuated because we focus on them fanatically. By training your mind to find other things to do instead of obsessing over your pain, you can relieve some of the distress for yourself.
Q: Why is meditation so hard?
A: Meditation may be mildly challenging. It can certainly be difficult to continually tell your mind to refocus. Still, meditation shouldn’t feel impossible. If it feels so difficult that you want to quit, it’s quite possible you are being too hard on yourself during your meditation.
Q: What to do if you can’t meditate?
A: If you can’t formally meditate (in the traditional position, for example), that’s okay. Try mindfulness meditation while doing whatever task you need to do at the moment. This means putting your full attention on your task and observing and accepting everything about it.
Q: Can you meditate wrong?
A: Technically, yes. While there is a wide breadth of meditative practices and forms out there, there are some types of meditations that would, of course, be incorrect. For example, meditating on completely negative thoughts, meditating in a terrible position, or meditating for entirely too long would all be wrong meditation practices.
Unwind Your Mind With Professionally Guided Meditation
Meditation is a skill that will serve you for a lifetime. When practiced regularly, it will not only help reduce stress, but it will also improve your memory, judgement, organization, and focus.
If these sound like welcome changes in your life, sign up for one of our Unwind Your Mind sessions to try meditation for yourself. For your first session, we’ll match you up with your own personal instructor who will help you feel renewed and refreshed in just 25 minutes.
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Written by Clint Johnson
Clint teaches Yoga, Pilates, breathe, and mediation to students and teachers all over the world. Prior to joining the wellness world, CJ as his friends call him, started his career as a MBS derivative trader and portfolio manager on Wall St. Clint is the founder of Anahana, and holds an MBA from INSEAD.