The Amazing Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling unable to hide the signs you’re out of balance. You can observe these signs in others more easily when they are under stress. Perhaps they have a deadline they think they won’t meet or they’re waiting for results of serious medical tests. Perhaps their finances are worrying them. There could be a million reasons why one might feel out of balance.

If you’re feeling very stressed at the moment, then you need a coping mechanism. If you don’t, there could come a point at which you explode. That’s not a point you want to reach, but it would lead to a release of emotions. There are techniques such as meditation that help us relieve stress and emotions so we don’t get out of balance. In this post, we explore the benefits of meditation for people who desire success in their professional and personal lives, which translates to accomplishing more goals and to feeling greater contentment with oneself.

The Background on Meditation

Before we explore its benefits, let’s consider what meditation is and what it does for the body. We can start with a working definition that summarizes meditation in its many forms. There are a wide range of approaches to meditation and what people believe it will do for their mind, body, and soul. Think of meditation as a time spent alone or with a group of people meditating under a guide. You could spend anywhere from a few minutes to many hours in solitude. You will probably have your eyes closed and urge your body to relax your breathing. You will direct your mental focus to a specific thought or mental image. You will focus on how your body responds to the theme of the session. You may get some important insights from your inner self on the topic. Or, you might just allow random thoughts and feelings to enter your consciousness during the meditation session, which may shed light on what’s stressing you out or upsetting your equilibrium. Some people find it helpful to record what they discover through meditation as they go or right after they complete their exercise.

Meditation’s Top Benefit = Mindfulness

A major advantage of meditation is that it forces us to be mindful. When we are mindful, we’re more accepting of whatever the situation is in the present. When we are mindful, we can pause to consider a stimulus or a situation before we react. We can take a moment to review the situation at face value and respond from a logical perspective. This is a preferred alternative to reacting from an emotional perspective like anger, guilt, or jealousy. Through meditation, we can create an important “one-second mental space,” which is crucial for business leaders who work under many stressful conditions and have numerous competing deadlines and people demanding their attention. You can train anyone, from the CEO to the customer service rep, to incorporate meditation and a mindfulness mindset into their day. 

Meditate to Improve Brain and Immune Function

According to one study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, a panel of participants who did engage in mindfulness meditation were shown to have positive changes in brain and immune functions. It is important to note that the participants were given an 8-week training program in mindfulness meditation, which suggests that they were able to build up to the successful practice of their technique over time. They had professional guidance rather than just teaching themselves how to meditate. Incorporating meditation into your life and deriving its benefits may require participating in some kind of formal program, which you might find for free online.

Increase Positive Emotions Through Meditation

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a discipline called loving-kindness meditation can lead to positive results. When people in the study engaged in daily meditation, they were able to accumulate their personal resources, including increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased symptoms of illness. The thinking is that they were going to increase their body’s daily exposure to positive experiences. Even if you don’t practice loving-kindness meditation, you should experience positive emotions from any form of meditation.

Decrease Daily Stress Levels When Meditating

When you meditate, you don’t need medical proof that you’re going to decrease your stress levels. When you stand, sit, or lie down and be calm and slow down the rate of your breathing, your body will use less energy to maintain that state of being. You will feel calmer, which will lower your blood pressure. From this perspective alone, you can reduce the effects of stress on certain illnesses through daily meditation, such as heart diseases, panic and anxiety disorders, and some cancers. There are also forms of meditation like Tai Chi, which dates back to ancient times, that involve gentle movements of the body. Tai Chi is actually a martial arts discipline, meaning not every meditation must be performed in a very relaxed state with little movement.

Meditation = Reduce Feelings of Anxiety and Depression

Through meditation, you may be focusing your attention on something or you may be using guided imagery or completing a body scan. There are many ways to invest your mind during the session. If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, focusing your mind on something other than your current fears or feelings of sadness or hopelessness will be a welcome distraction. You will, at least for the minutes or hours of the session, do something positive. You will feel calmer and more balanced. Many people start with relaxed breathing in a comfortable position and immediately feel better in the moments that follow. They may be able to calm down enough to realize that an overwhelming thought or emotion does not have to occupy all of their time or mental focus. Many meditation practitioners will feel calmer for hours after they have completed their mental exercise.

Meditation Enhances Your Emotional Intelligence

When you meditate, you’re taking time out to listen to your body and to acknowledge your emotions. You’re temporarily escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life. This helps you become more aware of your current emotional needs, and, by understanding yourself, you can begin appreciating more emotional needs in others. Through meditation, you will attain fresh perspectives that make every situation not just about you. Meditation helps you perceive the bigger picture. You can slow down every reaction during your day because you took the time to calm yourself and become more self-aware. 

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