- Dr. Eric Carlsen
Top Five Benefits of Meditation
Life can be stressful, especially when you feel as if you’re being pulled in different directions, whether at work or in your personal life. Meditation is a powerful tool to deal with stress and anxiety so that you can take back control and focus on achieving your goals.
Meditation is not a new concept, and with a recent surge in popularity, many professionals, athletes, and celebrities – Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, and Oprah, to name a few – are active practitioners. Whether you own a business, work full-time for a company, or are a stay-at-home parent, meditation can improve all aspects of your life. Here are the top five benefits of meditation: 1. REDUCES STRESS Meditation can help alleviate stress from just about any situation you may be in. When there is a stressor in our life, we react with an instinct to fight or fly (leave) the situation. You may notice your heart racing or a sense of anger that makes you want to be explosive (hence, the need to fight your way out). When you meditate, you are helping that response from occurring in the first place. Meditation gives you the tools to take a step back, breathe and return to a more relaxed state of mind.
2. PROMOTES PRODUCTIVITy If you meditate daily, you’ll notice a boost in your productivity. You’ll be more engaged in your projects and assignments while having a new sense of clarity to execute them.
3. HELPS YOU STAY FOCUSED Another benefit of meditation is that your sense of focus will be enhanced. You’ll stay in the present moment through concentrated time spent focusing on your breath and presence instead of quickly going from one task to the next. If your attention span is short, studies show that even a few minutes of meditation can vastly improve your ability to focus.
4. IMPROVES RELATIONSHIPS When you meditate regularly, you may notice how you’re more grateful and appreciative toward the people in your life. Healthy relationships are important not only in personal but professional settings; in each, you need to feel comfortable sharing your point of view while respecting and acknowledging others’ contributions as well.
5. REGULATES MOOD A regular meditation practice has been shown to improve your overall mood. You’re more in tune with the way you feel and how you react in any given situation. Meditation influences our physical state to be more relaxed and helps us respond more appropriately to our external world. You’ll have a new understanding and sense of self, where you’ll find yourself feeling better and possibly having more energy since your stress levels are lower.
HOW TO START YOUR MEDITATION PRACTICE The benefits of meditation continue to be researched. What’s remarkable about meditation is its convenience and accessibility – anyone can use meditation at any time to bring more balance, calm, and focus into their life.
To ease into your practice, prime your mind and body in the morning – this will ease your mind into a positive state that allows you to transition into a more focused practice.
Once you’ve finished priming, find somewhere comfortable to sit. This can be on your bed, the couch, or the floor with a pillow and blanket. Choose how long you’d like to spend based on your experience and available time.
Now, start slowly breathing in your nose and out through your mouth. Try concentrating on your breathing or on a word the whole time. This may be more difficult than you imagined – but meditation isn’t meant to be easy. If you find yourself struggling, you can engage with meditation by writing down the thoughts and emotions you experience while you sit.
The good news? Even when you feel like you aren’t meditating “well” or “correctly,” you will still begin to see benefits from your practice. Meditation is part of an ongoing journey toward overall well-being, not a goal or skill to perfect in itself.
Once you’re finished, repeat the next morning, at night, or whenever you feel it is needed. Meditation is a tool that you can access anytime to create greater empathy, peace, and focus – regardless of what’s going on around you.
Credit: Tony Robbins