If you’ve ever heard anyone crow about their love for meditation, you might wonder what exactly the big deal is. Meditation has been practiced for centuries for the betterment of countless individuals, and to newcomers, it can seem too good to be true. To meditate, you need no special equipment or specific location. You just need a place where you can be quiet for a few minutes and focus. These are five benefits of meditating that should hopefully encourage you to start a practice.
1. Decreased anxiety
Meditation can be a powerful source of anxiety relief. When you have anxiety, your mind can feel like it is running around in circles and that you have absolutely no control over it. Trying to control your thoughts can feel futile because it ultimately is. But you’re under no obligation to evict your thoughts from your mind. Meditation calms the storm by letting the thunder crackle and the wind blow as much as it needs to. As you sit in silent contemplation, there’s bound to be thoughts that you don’t wish to have. You can let them stay where they are as you observe them. When stressful situations and anxious thoughts arise in your non-meditative hours, you can think for a moment about how they appear and how they make you feel. You can learn to distance yourself from anxiety and how to proceed in spite of these thoughts and situations.
2. Depression help
Anyone who has experienced depression knows that it’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Forget feeling sad. Depression is like having every negative emotion rolled into one ball of nothingness. The understanding of depression as being a health issue and not a personal failing has thankfully increased, but we still have a long way to go. There are many root causes of depression, but one of the ways it lingers is getting trapped in negative thought loops. You start to believe awful things about yourself without question. Meditation means coming to terms with your negative thoughts through analysis. When a thought arises, you need to observe it. How did it come about? Is it actually true? You’ll often find that your thoughts are far less truthful than you would be lead to believe.
3. Become kinder
Have you ever known anyone who had an extraordinarily magnetic energy? They’re so very accommodating without being a pushover. You can achieve this through meditation. Negative energy can often be directed at other people and be rooted in things like resentment and jealousy. With meditation, you learn to confront these thoughts and see just how much harm they cause to you. This can be difficult at first, but it’s no more difficult than holding onto grudges and bitterness. Meditation allows you to see others for the humans they are. You can become more understanding of those you love, those you feel misgivings about, and those you don’t even know. The meditative mind is one that is open to all forms of growth and connection.
4. Improved discipline
Some think that meditation is only possible if you’re already disciplined. Discipline doesn’t cause meditation. Meditation causes discipline. Sitting in silent contemplation, focusing on the breath for about 10 minutes at a time is by no means easy. Even Zen masters will acknowledge that their minds are bound to wonder during sits. But a regular practice means you’ll become incredibly disciplined. Impulse decisions can be reduced through meditation, as it forces you to trace back where the impulse comes from. If you feel an impulse to say something insulting to someone, meditation holds you accountable by making you consider where this urge comes from. Nothing comes out of nowhere. Being disciplined is something that so many strive for but are unwilling to actually work towards. With meditation, you can make it possible.
5. Become Happier
The quest for happiness is one that everyone’s on but few are close to completing. People believe that happiness is achievable through material gains and accomplishments. But there’s so much negativity and insecurity clouding their minds that no amount of possessions or accolades could satisfy them. Meditation teaches that the answers really do come from within. If you are at peace with your mind, you can be at peace with yourself. To be content is not to have a perfect life. It’s to accept that the negatives of life should be accepted just as much as the positives are.