No matter how many demands you have placed upon you during the day, meditation is an option that you can easily make the time for.
Even just setting aside five minutes for yourself can make the difference between a frazzled, miserable mess at dinner time and a balanced, calm person who is ready to take the next step, no matter where it leads!
Meditation has become a very popular subject, and for good reason.
But what is meditation about? And how can you put it to work for yourself?
You Don’t Need Hours, You Need Consistency
Many people operate on the assumption that if you do a lot of something, it is going to be better for you than if you do a little of something. Of course, this mentality is rarely applied to the foods we eat, but generally we have the idea that bigger is better in a lot of cases.
However, when it comes to the consistency of meditation, this is not necessarily the case. People who believe that meditating for a long time but infrequently may ultimately be missing out on the benefits of those who meditate consistently but for shorter amounts of time.
While all meditation can be beneficial, consistent practice tends to have the most long term effects. Even if you only meditate for five minutes daily, it can have more lasting effects than a twenty-minute session every week. The chemicals that meditation encourages in our minds are more effective when they are produced regularly, such as the gamma waves that promote neuroplasticity.
Longer meditations do have their benefits, however, if you want to create lasting change in your life through meditation, it is better to be consistent with it. In fact, taking just a few moments out of your day to clear your mind is bound to make it easier for you to obtain the same level of calm during stressful situations, many of which may require you to have a split-second to make a reactive choice versus an objective point of view that prevents the situation from escalating to unhealthy levels.
A lot of people might be discouraged by meditation because they have only ever heard of guided meditations that can last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour, or Zen meditations where you are meant to repeat mantras for several minutes at a time. But there are several ways to meditate, many of which can be done in just a few minutes. And it is very important to be able to create a space of peace in your mind that you can visit at a moment’s notice.
It doesn’t take hours of daily meditation to get to a place where it begins to benefit your brain and body without a conscious effort. Inf act, a simple exercise of meditating ten minutes per day is all it really takes to see some really tremendous results. Once meditation has become a consistent practice, we will have trained our brains to be more objective and flexible so that we can find the harmony in almost any situation without reacting in a way that causes more harm than good.
Constant meditation helps us to remain adaptable and objective, while also giving us the security of knowing that we have a peaceful place to fall back on should we need it throughout the day. When we are tested emotionally or mentally, meditation helps us to cope with these obstacles and stay balanced, whether we meditate for an hour a day or ten minutes!
How Meditation Can Help Prevent And Potentially Cure Symptoms Of Depression
Meditation can be an important part of healing your body and spirit, but it can also be a great way to begin to heal your mind.
When you are depressed, the brain is generally having some chemical issues. Our neurotransmitters are lacking in the good vibes; namely serotonin and norepinephrine.
A lot of people rely on antidepressants to get the job done and get those neurotransmitters working again, however, time and again studies have shown that many antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, can be dangerous and actually cause worse problems than what they are trying to treat.
Fortunately, other studies have also found that meditation is a natural way to get those neurotransmitters working again. By utilizing the power of meditation, our brains are able to naturally produce more of the feel good neurotransmitters so that we are better able to prevent and manage depression symptoms naturally.
Another great benefit of utilizing meditation as an antidepressant rather than using pills is that meditation is a fix that can last a lifetime, while with pills, there is always a risk that you will develop a dependency and find it difficult to survive without them. Some antidepressants can be so dangerous that trying to get yourself off of them can even cause you to feel suicidal. Missing a day of meditation, however, will likely not have that effect.
Meditation is a tool that we can always keep in our back pocket for when times get tough. If we practice it often enough, it can help our minds stay balanced and prevent us from having reactive emotional outbursts or other unwanted or extreme reactions to outside stimulus. You will be able to better manage our emotions by looking more objectively at problems. Meditation helps us to have a more balanced approach to stressful situations, which overall can be a huge boon to anybody who is prone to depression or already suffering from it.
There are so many incredible benefits to meditation. The fact that it can actually produce the chemicals in our brains that are lacking when we suffer from depression seems like a strong indication that we were meant to take time out of our day to reflect and seek out the solitude in our lives.
Most of us have an unhealthy tendency to fixate on the negative; another fun aspect of the brain called the negativity bias. But with meditation, we are better able to see the world with just enough objectivity to remain positive and continue working toward our goals.
This sense of motivation is crucial to people with depression. It can make all the difference between someone who is struggling to get out of bed in the morning and someone who is ready to tackle the next project and move their lives in the direction they want it to go.
If you are someone who has ever struggled with depression, considering meditation as a way to help keep your brain regulated is a great option. Finding a peaceful place can help you in more ways than you could count, so give it a try today!
Meditation Improve Anxiety Disorders
Meditation is a great tool for anybody who has ever suffered from an anxiety disorder.
The primary goal of meditation is to clear your mind and to be able to bring your attention to the present moment. You are meant to create an aura of peace surrounding yourself and create a safe place in your mind where you can escape if things get overwhelming, without detaching yourself from the world or your life.
Generalized anxiety disorder is very common in today’s world. Many of us find ourselves overwhelmed by the things going on around us, and seek to find comfort and control when we feel our security is being threatened. In learning to utilize meditation, we are providing ourselves with a very useful tool that we can access during any situation. We will learn to breathe mindfully and keep our attention on the present moment rather than succumbing to panic attacks or hysteria.
Anxiety disorders can be complex and can manifest in many ways. Often, anxiety can cause sleep disturbances or result in shallow and unrestful sleeping patterns. Fortunately, meditation has been proven as a way to help us to sleep more soundly. It helps us to process the stresses that we feel on a daily basis so that they are not creeping just below the surface when we finally get a chance to lay down and relax our bodies and minds.
Meditation is a way to help us to train our minds.
People with anxiety disorders can very much benefit from this type of training. It can be easy for our thoughts to go astray, and when this happens, it can be very confusing and even a little bit scary.
Fortunately, utilizing techniques like mindfulness meditation can help us to stay focused on the here and now, rather than following the uncertain paths that our thoughts might take should we begin to experience anxiety. This tool is incredibly beneficial to sufferers of anxiety, and can be practiced until strengthened fully.
Whether or not you suffer consistently from anxiety or it only creeps up on you once in a while, learning how to practice mindfulness meditations is incredibly useful. A good way to begin is to simply close your eyes for a moment and focus on your breathing. What does your body feel like as you breathe? How quickly are you inhaling your breaths? What do you hear around you? What do you smell?
By taking your attention away from the thoughts that are causing your anxiety and focusing on the current world around you, you can begin to stay in the present moment and interrupt the disruptive neural pathways that are causing so much more harm than good. This way, you may find yourself much better equipped to handle the stresses of daily life without suffering from as much anxiety as you may have before.
Anxiety can be a very disruptive presence in your life, but in learning to practice mindfulness meditation, it can be a force easily reckoned with merely using the power of your own mind!
How Does Meditation Aid Sleep ?
In today’s day and age, insomnia seems to be creeping up on a large majority of people. Insomnia can be defined as a disruptive sleep cycle, whether because of difficulty falling asleep or because it is difficult to stay asleep.
Most of the time, insomnia has roots in psychological disturbances, which can make it hard for our brains to shut out our thoughts and focus on getting a good night’s rest. A lot of us tend to experience a lot of sensory input throughout the day, going from one situation to the next without really giving ourselves a chance to process what we’ve experienced.
Those unprocessed thoughts and experiences can leave our minds reeling but are forced to the backburner. The time they are most likely to surface is during our attempts to sleep, because that is the first time during the day that we have allowed ourselves to be still and quiet where our minds are able to be reflective and calm. Sleep disturbances can easily arise because of this, and insomnia is often the result.
However, there are a few ways to prevent and treat insomnia, and meditation is one of them.
With meditation, we allow our bodies the opportunity to process those overwhelming events and give ourselves a chance to reduce stress and find our equilibrium before it attempts to ambush us during the times we should be allowing ourselves to get rested up for the next day.
Meditation is proven to help us reduce stress, which is a huge benefit when you find yourself suffering from insomnia. People who are suffering from anxiety, whether it is a disorder or not, have a tendency to lose sleep or find it difficult to gain restful sleep experiences. With the stress reduction provided from meditation, it can aid us in enjoying a more restful sleep experience.
Meditation can help us to manage anxiety symptoms throughout the day and compartmentalize our thoughts so that they are not overwhelming to us. In learning how to consciously clear our minds, we are providing ourselves with the necessary coping mechanisms we need to let go of the things that are bothering us so we can find some peace in the silence.
Even if we don’t catch ourselves dealing with the thoughts we weren’t able to process during the day as we lay down to sleep at night, they are there and the unspoken stress they cause can linger with us. But if we are able to meditate and focus on ways to better ourselves and improve our lives, then we can lay down at night knowing that things are going to improve. Insomnia is much worse when we find ourselves feeling stuck.
Fortunately, meditations, particularly mantras and mindfulness meditations, along with loving kindness meditations, are a great way of helping us to deal with stress and focus on better things. Even if we don’t know exactly where our stress is coming from.
Utilizing meditation as a tool will help us to clarify those things that can cause us stress so we can begin a plan of action. Starting in the morning.
Can Meditation Reduce Blood Pressure?
With the combination of the Standard American Diet and a low priority for exercise, it isn’t any surprise that heart disease is easily one of the most dangerous things North Americans have to worry about. Not only that, but the stresses of daily life are constantly plaguing the population. Everybody wants, and needs, to succeed. And the stress associated with such important tasks can cause blood pressure to rise. Sometimes, stress can cause other issues associated with heart disease as well, such as stress-eating unhealthy foods that contribute to poor health.
Ultimately however, meditation is a great way to help keep that type of stress in check. Rather than allowing the negative cycles to persist, meditation can provide a way for us to unplug from the world around us and refocus our minds onto things that are not as overwhelming. When we engage in stress-relieving activities, our brains respond very physically. Chemicals such as nitric oxide are released and it is found to be helpful in reducing blood pressure.
In fact, one study even found that people who managed to keep a regular meditation schedule were able to lower the dosage of the blood pressure medications that they had been using to keep their health in check. That isn’t to say that if you start to meditate, you should immediately cut down on the dosages of whatever medicine you are taking. First, reach out to your doctor about your new lifestyle change and see if there is the option to reduce dosages later on down the line.
Reducing stress is a huge key in reducing blood pressure. When we find ourselves getting stressed out, our bodies react. Our hearts beat more quickly, we get flushed, and we generally suffer from tightness in the chest or other limbs. Stress is known as the silent killer for a reason.
But meditation is a cure. While it may not always reduce the stressful situations you experience in your life, it does provide us with a great coping mechanism that allows us to build up our resistance to stress and process negative events in a healthy way rather than letting them bring us down. No matter what style of meditation you choose to utilize, it has a high chance of reducing your blood pressure. Whether you are simply focusing on your breathing, practicing mindfulness, or listening to guided meditations, taking the time away from your hectic life to focus inward is a great asset.
While we can’t completely cure the world of heart disease, we can at least take steps in preventing it from affecting us as badly as it could. In lowering our risk of heart disease by practicing meditation and lowering stress, we are ensuring ourselves, and those we care about, that we are capable of handling whatever life throws at us in a healthy way. In learning more about meditation, you may literally save your life!
How Meditation Improves Cognitive Functioning
Many people might be surprised to learn that when we take the time out of the day to meditate and quiet our minds, it actually helps us to focus better. Not only that, but it can make us more adaptable and able to thrive in stressful situations.
Scientists discovered that meditation is an incredible resource when it comes to promoting gamma wave activity.
These gamma waves provide people who meditate on a regular basis with the ability to better control their thoughts and actions. This control is incredibly important, especially when it comes to dealing with situations that can cause us to feel overwhelmed and reactive.
If we are able to be less reactive with our words and thoughts, it can significantly decrease the instance of conflict in our lives. If we are operating based on a more objective standpoint rather than a highly emotionally charged one, then it can bring much more clarity to the situations we find ourselves in. This can make it possible to avoid confrontation and harbors a more genial and positive atmosphere rather than a rash or combative one.
When we are not reactive, we are better able to find a harmonious perspective and ultimately influence others to communicate in a calmer way. Rather than escalating a situation through reactivity, we are able to show the world a more balanced face and encourage those around us to treat us more respectfully, as we treat them more respectfully in turn as well.
One other great effect of meditation is neuroplasticity.
If we are encouraging gamma wave activity, it can also lead the brain to function at an even higher level, promoting the ability to really adapt to new situations with ease rather than through stress and misunderstandings. Change is one of the most difficult things for most people to deal with, but in practicing meditation, we are priming ourselves to be less effected by necessary changes and rather allow ourselves to embrace this necessary and inevitable part of life.
Ultimately, stimulating the production of gamma waves is integral in helping us to maintain a balanced point of view no matter what level of stress a situation may give us. We are able to maintain a precious objectivity that can help us maintain a healthy attitude and allow us to see the possibilities in every situation rather than in feeling trapped and unhappy or confrontational.
A higher level of cognitive functioning is therefore experienced with the practice of regular meditation. We can gain a masterful level of control over ourselves and the way our brains react to specific stimuli.
Meditation has been utilized for centuries because it is something that works. We can find more peace and harmony in our environments when we are not actively escalating situations because we feel panicked or out of control. By utilizing mediation as a form of achieving balance, we are literally wiring our brains to view every situation with a balanced approach that can improve our functioning in the world and prime us for a better life!
Trauma and Meditation: Finding Peace After Tragedy
There is an alarmingly high percentage of people in the world who have experienced trauma.
Whether in childhood or in your current life situation, trauma and grief are constantly associated with a person’s behavior and mental health. When we experience a traumatic event, the stress that our minds experience can completely change the way we interact with others and how we experience the world from then on.
Most forms of trauma physically change the way our brains are wired. The neural pathways in our minds form networks of reactions to specific stimuli. This can cause incredible strain on us as we struggle to live with a “new normal.”
Fortunately, there is the hope of healing. No matter how difficult our experiences may be, the neural networks are flexible. We can work to restore our balance and rework the connections our minds have made with the onset of trauma. And in so doing, we can gain control once more over our emotional and mental integrity.
Most forms of trauma benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a way to help us to interrupt bad thoughts with good thoughts so that triggers and negative stimuli are not so overwhelming.
Meditation can also be a great way to redirect your thoughts and gain a more masterful control over your feelings.
In utilizing meditation, we can take the time to sit down and take a breath if we find ourselves triggered by an event that we encounter. We can carve out a “happy” place, or more importantly, a safe place in our minds away from the negative thoughts surrounding each reminder of our trauma.
Mindfulness meditation is a particularly effective tool in treating PTSD and other problems that can arise with trauma. It is a way to disconnect ourselves from the bad experiences by focusing on the present moment. In doing so we begin to redirect our brains and allow our neural pathways to form new paths away from the triggering event and toward a deeper calm.
Loving kindness meditation is also a great way to help your mind recover from the pain of trauma and abuse. If you have experienced something that has left you feeling like you are not valuable, loving kindness meditation can help you feel more comfortable with yourself and find compassion for your flaws. This way you can allow yourself to grow in a healthy and honest way.
Trauma and abuse can also leave us very angry. This is another benefit of loving kindness meditation. This form of meditation can help us find the capacity to forgive the unforgivable and allow ourselves to let go of past hurts and focus on a life of compassion and regrowth.
No matter what you have experienced, considering meditation is a great step toward finding strength, peace, and healing. We can learn to forgive the harm we have endured and create a safe space where we can move forward with our lives with confidence and understanding.
Now that you know what is meditation about, the only thing left for you to do is START!
You can do it!by