Everyone has that one desire that he/she feels would make everything better. Unfortunately, blinded by big and at times impractical ambitions, few people overlook one simple but fulfilling process – meditation. Research shows that meditation comes with numerous short-term and life-long benefits for your physical, emotional, and even spiritual self. Here are some of the benefits of meditating.
1. Meditation can make you healthier, fitter, and better looking
Mayo Clinic, one of the leading wellness and fitness centers says that meditation may help fight off diseases that are especially affected by stress and negative thinking. By meditating and easing the pressure on the brain, one is able to overcome stress and reduce its negative effects on the body and the immune system, increasing your chances of healing and immediately making a positive impact on your mood and general health.
Research also shows that meditating leads to an increase in the mitochondria, referred to as “the energy centers of the cells” by health and fitness expert Lisa John. This in turn leads to increased metabolism, allowing your body to burn more fat and calories even when you are idle for a fit and shapely body.
Meditation also causes positive structural changes in areas of the brain associated with cognitive, sensory, and emotional thinking, consequently reducing some of the negative physical and mental aspects associated with aging – you get to look and feel younger for longer.
2. Meditation can make you happier
Stress is mostly caused by negative thoughts that never seem to have a definite answer or solution. As the brain goes on thinking these thoughts, it tires and becomes overwhelmed, leading to a feeling of depression, loneliness, and stress.
By meditating, the brain is able to focus on a single thought and let go of other thoughts for a while, giving it time to relax and refresh. What’s more, the brain is better capable of analyzing different bits of information when meditating, increasing your chances of coming up with a solution to your problems and allowing you to see the positive side of every situation.
Meditation also helps the body, mind, and spirit feel connected and at harmony, further eliminating the feeling of loneliness, depression or self-hatred and self-pity.
3. Meditation can increase your performance at work
A research conducted in 2012 put up two groups of workers to work on a certain project in an office setting with a time limit of 20 minutes. After the initial test, one group received mindfulness training (training in meditation) while the other did not – both groups were then put to the same test.
The researchers noted that people in the group that underwent mindfulness training were able to handle the stress better and performed better as compared to the other group.
4. Meditation can improve your brain’s functioning in the short-term and long-term
In 2012, scientists associated gyrification – a process whereby the cerebral cortex grows and folds – to meditating, among other things. Gyrification is a sign of increased brain capacity and consequently better and faster brain functioning as the process occurs and as life progresses. Additionally, MRI scans show that meditation helps reinforce connections between brain cells, further increasing its thinking and processing capacity.
Coupled with other long-term benefits, this helps the brain improve with time and experience some of the benefits of meditation even when you are not necessarily meditating.
5. Meditation improves the quality of sleep
Aspects such as health and stress significantly affect the quality and duration of your sleep. Among other things, meditation helps calm the brain and bring harmony to your entire person, making it easier to sleep and significantly improving the quality of your sleep.
To this end, always meditate when lying on the bed whenever you feel sleep evading you. This will not only help you fall asleep at that time, it will also improve and shape your sleeping habits for long-term benefits.
6. Meditation can improve your social skills
As a friend, you should always be there to help your friend whenever the need arises. Unfortunately, most people find this hard considering that they also have personal problems to deal with, some of which may involve their self-image.
By meditating, you are able to overcome most of your emotional, mental, and spiritual problems, allowing you to understand yourself and your friends better and offer the appropriate help when it is needed – you are able to make a better friend and partner.
7. Meditation improves brain storming and makes you smarter
As mentioned earlier, meditation helps lessen the pressure on the brain, allowing it to analyze individual thoughts better and come up with solutions to your problems. Just in the same way, you are able to brainstorm better and come up with more and better ideas by meditating.
What’s more, meditation helps the brain to grasp information better and retain it for longer. This comes in handy for scholars and learners as it aids in learning and answering tests, improving grades and making you smarter.
Mindfulness – tips for meditating
Mindfulness is a broad section of meditation, and one of the most common. Here, you simply focus your mind and thoughts to a single thing, be it breathing, a word, a phrase or even a chorus from a song. While it sounds simple, most people find their brains wandering off to other thoughts, interrupting meditation.
One simple rule to ensure your meditation sessions are smooth and flawless is consciousness – always be mindful of your thoughts and when you find your mind wandering, let go of the stray thoughts and concentrate on your initial point of focus on meditation.