Our daily life is full of anxiety, stress, and workload. There is always something that needs to be done and it seems like 24 hours in a day is not enough to complete the day to day jobs, so we pass more time doing work from sunrise to sunset and even until going to sleep. It would not be wrong to say many people work even when they are sleeping. We have become workaholics and as such we forget that we are killing our creativity, our imagination, and eventually maybe our very souls. Our anxiety, workload, stress, tiredness make us unhappy and directly affect our mind and health and in extreme cases, it might even cause a mental breakdown. For these reasons it’s extremely important to relax our body and mind to prevent the negative impacts of stress and anxiety. Practising the art of Meditation can help us to achieve a calm and focused mind, which eventually can help us become more creative, productive and successful in our life.
What meditation really means
Meditation is simply a practice to achieve mental calmness. It’s such a state of mind when profound and deep inner peace of body and mind is achieved while the mind is completely calm and silent yet, completely alert. It is a state of the higher level of awareness and achieving this higher level of awareness is the main goal of meditation. In this state of mind, brain wave increases up to delta level which enables the brain to work at its full potential. This state of mind helps to increase the healing processes of the human body. It is needless to say that during meditation, body and mind are relaxed, but true meditation is much more than just relaxation. There are various types of meditations, of which Mindfulness meditation, Transcendental, Vipassana meditation are the most popular.
Benefits of meditation based on scientific studies
Meditation is primarily beneficial for stress reduction but the true application and potential is more diverse. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in almost all the religions, but the scientific study of its true potential started in the late 60s when Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School conducted a study on the health benefits of meditation. Since then thousands of studies have been performed to understand how meditation benefits human health.
Many scientific studies have concluded that meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and insomnia as well. An interesting study published in Depression and Anxiety journal concluded that meditative therapies have significant influence in reducing anxiety symptoms. A more recent systematic review and meta-analysis held in 2015 supports the evidence that MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) programs ease symptoms of mental and physical disorders. Studies also found that mindfulness meditation is effective in managing stress anxiety, reducing depression symptoms, and in treating psychosis.
The true benefits of meditation
Tips and Tricks to Successful Meditation
Many of us have enjoyed meditation in some part of our life and many haven’t. Many of us have given up practicing. Some people start meditation under the influence of their friends or families but end up in a few days simply because of the lack of determination, proper technique, motivation or goals to achieve by meditating or simply they don’t see any visible benefits. Whatever the case is we miss the very benefits of it. So we need to start and continue to meditate to discover its hidden gems. Here are the ultimate tips:
1. Set your goals: The most common reason to give up is the lack of predefined goals to achieve. We meditate to discover our potential, gain inner peace, relax our body and mind, fight against stress, find solutions to some problem, seek spirituality, or to increase our immune system. Whatever the reason is, be clear what you are trying to achieve. These predefined goals will help you to continue meditating until you achieve those goals.
2. Be committed: Once you set up your goals you have to be committed. When you are committed, you will do whatever it takes. Most people give up practicing because of the lack of commitment. Be committed until you succeed.
3. Know the basics: It’s very helpful to have some basic knowledge on the subject as you are going to invest your time and effort behind it. Moreover, there are many different ways to meditate. You should know which one is for what purposes and which one is suitable for you.
4. Learn how to: By now you know which particular method of meditation you are going to practice. Now it’s the time to learn how to do that. Everything has some well-established procedure to perform. Meditation is no different. Before you start, learn how to meditate. You can do it yourself or take help of guided meditation.
5. Get some meditation equipment: Yes, that’s right. To complete your preparation, you can purchase meditation products and accessories like a meditation cushion (termed Zafu), meditation mat (termed Zabuton), meditation timer and meditation CDs etc. These meditation products will not only increase your enthusiasm, help you sit more comfortably and practice with pleasure.
6. Select the time: It has been suggested that practicing meditation twice a day is more effective. The best time to meditate is in the morning or before sleep. Select what time best suited for you and when your mind is less distracted. If you have insomnia, meditating at night would be beneficial. You can even sleep in the middle of meditation.
7. Tell your friends: Once you are ready and select the date and time to start, tell your friends who are proactive that you are going to meditate. Once you do that, they will help keep you motivated.
8. Start small: At the beginning, the time seems to pass very slowly and you might find yourself agitated. Start with 2-3 minutes of practice and increase the duration gradually. Once you are adapted and your mind and body start becoming relaxed quickly, you can pass more time in meditation.
9. Make it a part of your life: Don’t miss to meditate a single day no matter what happens even if you travel. If you aren’t able to meditate in the predefined schedule, perform it whenever you can. Make it an integral part of your life, make it your habit, and make it your daily routine.
10. Join related community: Joining a meditation community can be very helpful. You will be able to interact with the members who are meditating for years, ask questions, participate in discussions, meditate with them and get valuable tips and tricks. If you can’t find a community around you, find out and join an online community.
11. You are doing right: When you start meditating you might come up with some feelings, questions, or confusions like I’m I doing it the right way? Should I visualize it this way or that way? Don’t worry. You are doing just great. These feelings indicate that your body and mind are getting relaxed which is the best thing.
12. Find out which method suits best: Once you feel comfortable practicing, try other forms of meditation. Each method has its own approach and benefits. Select and practice the one which best suited to you.
13. Get rid of distractions: Try to get rid of distractions before starting meditation. Make sure that you are in a quiet place and nobody won’t disturb you for a while. Turn your phone and light off and close your eyes so that you can fully concentrate on practicing.
14. Make yourself comfortable: There is no hard and fast rule to meditate in a certain posture. You can meditate by sitting or even lying down. You can even use meditation cushion, meditation mat for comfort yourself. Put on loose and comfortable clothes as well. You can even consider performing yoga beforehand.
15. Enjoy: Meditation is all about bringing inner peace to your body and mind. Enjoy your practice and stick to it. You will discover joy when you practice more and more. Start and end your practice with a big smile.
The popularity and acceptance of meditation have been increased dramatically in the past few years because of its health, mental and spiritual benefits. More and more people are leaning forwards to start meditating and wondering how to start. Taking the first step to start is always vital and I believe that these tips will help you to start your practice and discover your hidden potential.