June 11, 2022
Articles

Six Benefits Of Meditation

For ages, the eastern world has practiced the art of meditation. Let us learn the benefits of the practice.

Six Benefits Of Meditation

What Is Meditation

Meditation is a state of mind when you are focused (either on a single object or on nothing). It can be defined as a set of techniques that can be used to achieve a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Some key things to know about meditation are as follows:

  • The techniques of meditation have been in practice for thousands of years in different cultures.
  • Almost all the religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc.) have a tradition of using meditation practices.
  • Meditation can be used both for religious and non-religious practices.

Types Of Meditation

There are several types of meditative practices. Some of these are as follows:

Focused Attention Meditation (FAM)

Focused Attention Meditation involves focusing all your attention on a specific object while turning out everything else around you. The goal is to focus on a single entity rather than on nothing (common in classic meditation). Typically your focus is on sensory stimuli like sounds, visual items, tactile sensations, tastes, smells, and even your breathing.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is a mental training that teaches you to focus on the present. It combines meditation with mindfulness. You learn to observe all your feelings and accept them with a non-judgmental mindset. The techniques usually involve deep breathing and awareness of body and mind. Practicing mindfulness requires you to have 10 minutes of your time, a quiet place to sit, and a judgment-free mindset.

The Benefits Of Meditation

Improve focus

Studies have shown that improved attention seems to last up to five years after mindfulness training. A 2010 study investigated improvements in sustained attention with training (~ 5hr/day for three months), which consisted of meditation practice that involved sustained attention on senses (e.g., breathing). The results showed significant improvements in the perceptual understanding of the subjects.

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Reduce stress

Practicing meditation lessens the inflammatory response in people exposed to psychological stressors, particularly for long-term meditators. A 2016 study conducted on long-term meditators (>9000 lifetime hours of meditation practice) showed that meditation could stress reactivity and therapeutic benefit in some instances.

Photo by Trinity Kubassek from Pexels

Improves relationships

Mindfulness practices also help improve relationship quality due to a reduction in stress and mental calmness. For example, a 2016 study showed that mindfulness resulted in lower pressure in 88 couples. The scientists took cortisol levels (a hormone indicative of anxiety) before and after fights. The couples who practiced meditation were

Reduce inner chatter

Mindfulness helps you reduce the chatter in your mind. By observing all your thoughts, you come to accept them. Once you can recognize your thoughts, they no longer worry you anymore. It is similar to achieving an Inbox Zero — where you no longer have any more messages to take care of. You can truly focus on the present and live a happy life.

A 2015 study out of Yale University found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts — i.e., “monkey mind.”

Increase productivity

Increased focus and reduced stress give way to increased productivity. When you are ready to work, you can focus on it for longer hours, hold more thoughts in your memory, and go deeper into your ideas. These are generally good signs for productivity and can help you create new ideas.

Anti-aging

A 2015 study at UCLA on long-term meditation found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than non-meditators. Participants who’d been meditating for an average of 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout their brains. “We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions previously associated with meditation,” said study author Florian Kurth.

Photo by Savanna Goldring from Pexels

How To Meditate

Here are the steps for meditation:

  1. Take a seat: Find a seat that feels calm, quiet, and comfortable to you.
  2. Set a time limit: You can choose a time limit. Ten minutes is good to start with.
  3. Make it a part of your routine: Meditating at a specific timeslot is better. Early morning when your mind is clear is a good time. Some people meditate when they are about to go to bed. It can help you fall asleep.
  4. Feel your breath: Find a focal point. You can use your breath or chant a mantra. It will help you bring your focus away from random thoughts in your head.
  5. Observe your thoughts: When in meditation, observe your thoughts. It is very similar to how you would watch clouds move in the sky. It will help you deal with the many thoughts that might be clouding your mind.
  6. Be kind to your wandering mind: If you find it hard to meditate, don’t worry. Be calm with yourself and keep the practice going. Over time you will become at ease with your mind.
  7. Close with kindness: Close out the session with happiness and gratitude.

Ravi Tandon

Entrepreneur, Writer and Speaker

Ravi is a poet, innovator, and entrepreneur Having spent his life between two different continents (India and the USA), he is now undertaking a journey of self-discovery. Ravi got a degree from Princeton University and lived in California, working at software startups. Having seen the fast-paced life of tech startups, Ravi followed his dream of creating a collection of poetry that will positively influence lives.

About Ravi

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