As the day comes to a closure, we start to feel worse instead of feeling satisfied with the day. All of the craving and longing throughout the day and the numerous hours glaring at the computer screens leaves us drained completely by the end of the day. There is no room for introspection and taking the time to reflect on everything.
There’s a lot of monkey chatter going on in our minds and self-criticism is at an all time high. With so much to take in every day, how does one still manage to remain sane and mindful? Well, the people who are succeeding in their life while being content and mindful will tell you that meditation is the answer.
Everyone around is promising the benefits of meditation and how good it is for your life and health. While there has been a recent upward trend in the mentioning of meditation for a mindful life, it has been in practice since the 1500 BCE from the times of the Hindu traditions of Vedantism. With the concerns of stress and anxiety rising at an alarming rate, there is more mentioning of ‘Dhyana’ or Sanskrit for meditation.
Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch, 50 Cent, Lena Dunham, Jennifer Aniston, Padmasree Warrior Oprah Winfrey, to name few, are some of the most outrageously successful people who practice meditation daily. It is what keeps these people from staying sane while handling all of the nuances of the day.
Meditation: The silent retreat you need
‘Meditation is good for you, You must try it’, is something you might hear very often over the past couple of years. While we all know intuitively the benefits of practicing meditation on a daily basis, it takes much more than that to compel people to practice it. Of all the chaos that surrounds us on a daily basis, it has become important to cherish silence and take a break on all of the fuss around us. This practice of silent retreat is all about taking your time and space to process everything that is going on in your life.
Meditation preaches to simply concentrate on your breath and focus on one thing. Sitting silently, focusing on your breath and trying to calm the mind is what meditation is all about. Now while this may sound mundane, the simplicity of meditation overshadows the benefits associated with it, which we’ll be talking about in a bit.
Living life in the present moment and worrying about the future or feeling sorry for the past is something you are never taught anywhere. Living in the present moment is as difficult as simple it may sound. All of our cravings are the cause of the increasing stress and anxiety levels and it is a plague that has struck all over the world. We often forget about our inner selves, the one that makes us who we are, all for the promises of the hoax of the material and success cravings. Meditation brings the mindfulness back to us and helps in regulating all of those emotions inside of us. Meditation helps people in developing self-discipline and practicing taking on one thing at a time, in the world that has accustomed to multi-tasking as the norm.
Scientifically-backed benefits of Meditation
First let me tell you what Meditation won’t do for you! Meditation won’t mend your broken relationships, it won’t make you any happier or it does not make one behave better. While that may sound as a bummer, the simplicity and approach of ‘Less is More’ makes meditation as effective as it gets. Now, let’s lay down the scientifically-backed of Meditation and how it can help your life and your learning process.
You get more focused
In our addiction with the digital world and multi-tasking, we are losing focus of the present moment, of the here and the now. Do you ever find it hard to concentrate on your tasks at hand, no matter the situation you’re in? A lack of focus is one of the primary concerns of many people all over the world and meditation would help you fix the issue. According to a study by the University of Washington, meditation was found to make people better focused on a single task. Moreover, meditation helps in fighting stress and anxiety, two of the main causes of distress and discomfort among people.
You become self-disciplined
Be it in learning a new language, trying to quit smoking or anything that you’re trying to achieve, it takes a lot of self-discipline. Recent studies have shown that meditation helps people improve their self-discipline abilities, given the effect it has on the self-control regions in the brain. Consistent meditation helps people to develop a sense of self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-awareness. Meditation helps people becoming more conscious and aware of oneself and awareness.
You become more healthy
According to multiple studies, meditation was found to help people recover quickly from acute respiratory infections and also reduced the risks of a heart attack stroke. Reduce your health care bills by taking care of your body through regular meditation. A perfect combination of a healthy mind and body is struck through the daily practice of meditation. The health benefits of meditating far outweigh the difficulties associated with making it into a daily habit.
Brings clarity and peace of mind
According to a paper published by Psychological Science, meditation was found to help people come to terms with their shortcomings. This self-awareness helps people achieve peace of mind and brings clarity to the events in one’s life. Paying attention to one’s present experiences is important and consistent meditation could help you achieve it easily.
Sharpens the mind and consciousness
According to a study in UCLA, meditation helped its practitioners preserve their brains better, with better quantities of grey matter compared to those who didn’t meditate. With improved concentration and focus skills, meditation helps people improve their memory retention and recalling. Meditation has been found to help people manage ADHD, improve cognitive skills, decision making and an overall better information processing ability.
How to get started with practicing Mindfulness
So now that you’ve come to the terms with the fact that meditation is beneficial in more than one way, how do you get started practicing meditation. First of all, remember the fact that overdoing meditation won’t help you much. Remember the mantra, ‘Less is more’. Practicing meditation, even for three to five minutes a day is much better than doing it for 2 hours straight one day and not showing up the entire week.
Start small. Take 10 minutes out of your busy schedule daily to connect with yourself. It is usually tougher in the beginnings, to sit ideally, simply concentrating on your breathing. But over time, it becomes easy & within first 2 weeks, you could start seeing the benefits.
Practice meditation, Practice mindfulness.
Free Guided meditation Source:
Here is a list of free guided meditation sources that you can listen online or download them to listen to offline. Thanks to Chris Winfield for putting up this great list.
- UCLA Mindfulness Research Center
These 8 audio tracks are a great introduction to mindfulness meditation that you can practice on your own.
- The Chopra Center for Wellbeing Podcast
Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D. run The Chopra Center for Wellbeing and put out excellent guided meditations on their podcast. The sessions focus on specific themes ranging from gratitude to taking the plunge.
- 20+ Hour Playlist on Spotify
This is a wonderfully curated playlist of guided meditations for Spotify users.
- YouTube is FULL of guided meditations
YouTube is a goldmine of guided meditations. You can choose to watch & listen or just listen. The link above will bring you to a list of the most popular ones.
This site offers a wealth of guided meditations from different teachers and on many different themes. Download them all for free or stream them directly.
So, what about you? What were the challenges that you came across as you first began meditating daily and how did you deal with it? Shout out your thoughts and comments below.