Why should you meditate? A number of years ago, I was sitting with a close family member who was in recovery after suffering a heart attack. We were discussing ways to help lower his blood pressure and I suggested he try meditation. Of course, I was immediately scoffed at and the whole idea was quickly dismissed, but I persisted and I’m glad that I did. I found an online lead meditation that was only 15 minutes in length and not religious or spiritual in any way. We sat down together and the strangest 15 minutes of my life ensued. The instructors voice was very soothing and easy to listen to and I proceeded to nod off about 15 times in 15 minutes. The amazing part of this story is that after taking my relative’s blood pressure post meditation, it had dramatically dropped.
I think many of us associate meditation with religion or spirituality and while that is absolutely fine and your personal choice, meditation itself has nothing inherently religious or spiritual about it. Meditation is like stretching. You can build a lot of “ritualization” and “spirituality” around stretching, or you can just work your muscles and stretch. And just like from stretching, there are a lot of positive outcomes from meditating on a regular basis.
WHY SHOULD YOU MEDITATE
Focus. We are surrounded by a lot of noise, both visual and auditory, on a daily basis. It comes at us from every direction and it can get overwhelming and difficult to sort through. Spending a few minutes meditating every day goes a long way to helping you slow down and train your mind to focus on what it important. I find that when I take some time for myself, I am able to shut out the noise I don’t want to hear and this calm follows me throughout my day.
Attention and presence. There are times when I find myself completely overwhelmed with everything that is going on around me. I’m usually working on several projects at once, someone is talking to me and inevitably, my dog comes over demanding to play fetch. Rather than doing one thing well, nothing will meet my standards even if it gets done. If any of this sounds familiar, try including meditation into your life. You’ll find that you are able pay better attention to what is happening in the moment and you find it easier to sort through everything that is being thrown at you .
Eases anxiety. Almost everyone suffers anxiety to a degree, some more than others. If you can learn to slow down, center yourself and focus then you will find that you are able to step away from anxiety inducing situations and view them more rationally, rather than emotionally. The mind has a very powerful feedback mechanism, which amplifies anxiety. Consciously dampening frantic thoughts generating more frantic thoughts is one great technique for lessening anxiety’s impact.
Increases memory. When you are able to streamline your thoughts and weed out any distractions, you’ll find yourself being more productive and able to remember and incorporate more facts that you have already learned.
Better health. We all know that stress can negatively affect our well being and having the ability to take charge of our emotions will, over time, lead to a healthier you. When I’m running or putting myself through a long stretch session, I like to use some breathing and focusing techniques that are commonly found in meditation. They help me relax my body and gain that invaluable mind body connection.
Working in a creative field where I am constantly being judged and compared to others, I can definitely appreciate the idea of staying positive and embracing a clear focus.
Do you or have you ever meditated?