We are all looking for the secret pill to reducing stress and living a fuller life. I realized over 20 years ago that taking a deep breath and being in the present moment gives me an immediate shot in the arm to feeling calm.
It’s not that stress and daily pressures are going to immediately float away, but I determined that with a regular meditation practice, I am more equipped to handle the chaos of life with balance, courage, and grace.
Here are my top 8 benefits of meditation.
1. Reduces Stress
After only a few minutes of mediation, I can easily feel myself slowing down. Meditation creates the opportunity to pause and take it easy on a physical and mental level.
It also has a direct effect on the central nervous system, because it reduces the body’s production of stress chemicals called cortisol. It also increases the happy mood-enhancing chemical called serotonin.
2. Increases Focus and Clarity
We have all experienced chaotic, mind-spinning moments where we can’t seem to focus on anything. Meditation calms the brain, so you are not flooded with uncontrollable thoughts.
In the practice of yoga, this is called the “monkey mind” because it bounces from tree to tree. By focusing on the breath, I am able to focus, and establish a mental sense of clarity.
3. Gives a Blast of Energy
Not only can meditation calm the mind, but it also recharges me in the middle of the day. When I feel tired and lazy, taking a few moments to pause gives the chance to focus quietly on balancing and increasing energy.
Meditation can be an easy and immediate burst of energy to carry me over the hump.
4. Lets You Sleep Better
There are many nights, even after an exhausting day, that I find it difficult to fall asleep. This is mostly due to a busy mind. With the calming effects of meditation, I find it much easier to sleep and it definitely helps me with insomnia.
5. Enhances Creativity
By clearing the mind of busy thoughts, I am also able to let go of rigid personal perceptions. When those murky thoughts wash away, the gates of creativity are open.
A free and opened state of mind is a beautiful platform for cultivating, thinking and sharing my true self in many forms of expression.
6. Increases Self-Awareness
We have over 60,000 thoughts running through our tiny heads every day. Those thoughts include a mix of ones we actively engage and those we are not fully conscious of.
When I meditate, I am able to pick up on those thoughts in a more clear and precise manner. During meditation, I become fully conscious of what I think, the way in which I think, how I feel, and what I truly desire in life.
7. Keeps You Young!
Mediation has this amazing ability to slow the aging process. Research has shown that regular meditators have a lower biological age than those who don’t mediate.
Mediation reduces the body’s production of free radicals. These free radicals are responsible for tissue damage, disease, and aging. As a result, mediation brightens my skin, reduces the number of wrinkles and age spots, and keeps me healthy long-term.
8. Makes You Happy! Happy! Happy!
Plain and simple, people that mediate are happy people. Not surprising if you’re sleeping better and experiencing less stress every day!
These are just some of the many great benefits that I personally experience from my meditation practice, and I have no doubt you will reap all these benefits too (and more)!
The article was written for DoYouYoga.