Benefits of Meditation
The most fundamental way of changing into a more wellness focused lifestyle is to meditate – this is not just what meditators say, it is a scientifically proven fact.
Here are some of the benefits.
1 – Stress Reduction
Stress causes sleep disruption, anxiety, burn-out, depression and negative lifestyle problems. Often the medical professionals prescribe medication to supress the symptoms, but the most effective remedy to remove the cause of stress is meditation.
Many studies by internationally acclaimed medical institutions, such as the US based Mayo Clinic recommends meditation as part of their treatment of stress, and it is also recommended by the US National Centre for Complementary & Integrative Health among many others.
2 – Pain Control
The main elements of meditation are mind and body control; the process of meditation is akin to separate body and mind, almost like putting the body to rest while still controlling one’s mind.
This means that it is possible to “talk” to whatever pain one might feel and politely ask the pain to take a break. Sounds weird, but it works.
3 – Improved Sleep
Trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night? While there may be underlying physical or mental causes to your sleep problems which need to be addressed separately, meditation is an excellent sleeping pill.
Often the wandering, uncontrolled thoughts that run through your head cause you to lie awake – these can be willed into quietness by mediating for a few minutes. Get out of bed, sit in a quiet area with your eyes closed, get your wild thoughts under control, and breathe slowly. When calm, get into bed and if need be, observe your breath while breathing slowly – and off you go to sleep.
4 – Self Awareness
We are slaves of our own thought process, it’s like we have another persona controlling our thoughts and often this persona is not very kind to us, telling negative things that ultimately leads to a negative self-worth.
With better control over the thought process and what thoughts should be listened to, meditation can remove the negative thoughts and help us find the better self.
5 – Attention Span
Ideally meditation should be a daily practice of an hour or two but realising that it may not be possible at the beginning (although you will probably get hooked), even a few minutes a day in deep meditation will make a positive difference.
The fact that you will gradually be able to focus deeply during your meditation will automatically improve your ability to focus on your work and personal life.
6 – Kindness
Most schools of meditation have some form of Metta Bhavana, either as a full meditation practice or as part of the session. For instance, Vipassana uses Metta Bhavana to conclude a session and it is basically a way to offer forgiveness to those who have acted against us and to ask for forgiveness from those we have harmed.
The fact that one must realise this aspect of life, think trough it and offer forgiveness and apology is a profound way to improve kindness – it makes you feel relieved.
By the way, the same fee-good factor can be experienced when letting someone pass the road in front of us or helping an old lady carry her groceries.
7 – Addiction
Smoking too much, having a peg too many or trouble controlling your diet? Here meditation also helps with self-control; the simple fact that you can persuade yourself to meditate every day is proof that you have self-control.
With every meditation session increasing your ability to control thoughts, you will also be able to control your urge to attach yourself to your addiction.
How to Meditate
Let’s be clear – although meditation may be attributed to Gotama Buddha who lived more than 2,500 years ago, meditation is NOT a religious practice.
There are many different techniques and although I have a personal favourite in Vipassana, I can’t claim I have a have tested them all, so you will have to make your own decision. Here are a few alternative techniques:
Guided: This is a technique based on forming mental images which invoke positive and pleasurable feelings. It involves not only vision, but also smell, sounds and physical shapes and textures. Often meditators are guided by a teacher.
As the name indicates, one is either given or creates a mantra which can be a word or a short sentence which is repeated.
This form of meditation aims to broaden the conscious awareness by focusing on what is experienced during meditation and to accept the present moment.
Very similar to Guided Meditation, a mantra is repeated in a specific way to create a state of relaxation and peace.
The above article reflects my own personal views and was written based on my own studies and experiences over the past 25 years of being a spa and wellness professional and pursuing my own personal wellness lifestyle. I am not a medical professional or otherwise qualified to give medical or treatment advice.