The Real Benefits of Meditating and Why We Should Be Doing More

Meditation is one of those practices that, like flossing, we know we should be doing but rarely are. Terms like “mindfulness” have become so mainstream now with meditators gracing the cover of Time magazine and huge corporations like Google offering courses to their employees so they can learn how to meditate. And all for good reason, there is plenty of research being done at major universities showing why meditation is good for your mind, your health and your life.

So why are we so reluctant to take the time to sit on a mat and just close our eyes for 20 minutes? Is it the mental racket that will inevitably ensue each time we slow down? Or maybe we just don’t have time. It seems like one more thing to do each day and there just simply is no space for it. I’ve heard all the excuses and cycled through them myself.

My meditation practice had been on and off for some time until 2012 when I decided to start a daily meditation practice to see if it had any real benefits. As you know, we don’t ever do something just to do it, we want results! And 10 minutes everyday of putting my butt on my cushion, turning my phone on silent and going inward have had some noticeable results:

  1.  Feeling less stressed—meditation is a proven method to reduce stress from the body and mind. It removes physical tension and mental anxiety. Starting my day with meditation helps me to have a more calm stance when situations that are not so Zen come up. I can approach them and deal with them from a calm and relaxed state.
  2. Having better health—mediation strengthens the mind/body connection prompting us to make better choices when it comes to what we choose to put in our mouths. It also allows us to tune in to the signs that our body gives us when we are getting sick or when we’ve over exerted ourselves. As a bonus, meditation also normalizes our blood pressure and strengthens our immune system.
  3. Having more energy—people who have stuck to their meditation practice long term were found to have reduced signs of biological aging and higher energy levels than non meditators. They also had faster reaction times, a stronger immune system and significantly better eyesight and hearing. I have definitely found meditation to be more energizing.
  4. Being better at work—the concentration that is necessary to keep your attention inward during meditation has noticeable effects on the brain contributing to neuroplasticity and increasing gray matter in the cortex of the brain. This results in the ability to focus and think more clearly. After my morning meditation practice, I’m able to prioritize my day and keep my focus on the things that really matter instead of constantly feeling distracted and pulled in different directions.
  5. Honing in to your intuition—meditation quiets the incessant flow of thought and activity and allows us to access our intuition, which is always there but oftentimes ignored. Since meditating, when my intuition whispers something to me, my mind is quiet enough so that I can listen.

As a reminder–yoga, doing artwork, cleaning, or listening to music or doing any sort of activity when you don’t have to think much is NOT meditation. Sitting still in one place, closing your eyes and bringing your focus inward is how meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. There is really no reason to go and mess with a practice that has been working for that long!

Think of it as an experiment and challenge yourself to start a meditation practice of just 10 minutes a day. I think you will start to see profound changes in your life. I cant wait to hear how its helped you!

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