photo credit: BStok Production
3 Key Benefits of Daily Meditation
I did it! I, the person who rarely commits to anything for more than a few days, has been meditating for a year now. I’m bursting with joy, not only because I pulled it off, but because of the benefits of daily meditation.
Let’s be honest here. I don’t always have 15-30 minutes every morning to meditate. I also, don’t do it twice a day. But my commitment was real and I found ways around my busy schedule. That’s because meditation doesn’t have to take place in the perfect quiet setting, or for a specified time. Yes, it’s nice to have a quiet room or be out on the beach when you are meditating, but it’s not a dealbreaker. You can do it anywhere, even as your plane is about to take off for an exciting adventure. That’s kind of my favorite place to do it actually, as I am quite the nervous flyer and meditation calms me down.
I kicked my excuses to the curb and gave it my all. Even if I only closed my eyes for a few minutes and took in some deep breaths on the train, I counted that as a mini meditation session. After all, we are busy people, aren’t we?
With that said, 70% of the year, I did spend on my favorite chair in my office, actually meditating for about 15-30 minutes every morning. I adapted to the routine of waking up, brushing my teeth and plopping myself on my chair. Once I learned a few meditating techniques I had the confidence to put aside the guided meditations and spend that time on my own, with my own thoughts.
If you believe that you are only good at meditating if you can turn your thoughts off completely and have a perfect time just sitting with yourself without any interruptions, you are in for loads of disappointment. Except for a very few extremely disciplined people, who have likely meditated for years at a time, that’s very hard to achieve.
In fact, according to Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. in Psychology Today, "Most meditation teachers will tell you that having your mind wander during meditation is perfectly normal and that bringing your attention back to your meditation every time you notice it wandering is simply part of the process," So don’t be so hard on yourself, there is no perfect way to meditate and you need to simply find what works best for you. No matter how it’s done, the benefits are just astounding.
Here are the 3 key benefits I found, from meditating this past year.
1. My mood improved tremendously.
Waking up on workdays no longer became a hassle of wishing to sleep in for a few more hours, or dreading my schedule for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I still didn’t look forward to working some days, but I woke up looking forward to meditating. That calmed my mind and soul in ways I didn’t think were possible. Thanks to my meditation routine, my mood shifted from focusing on the negative parts of my upcoming day to waking up and looking forward to my morning ahead.
2. My stress levels decreased.
I used to have days full of anxiety and stress about upcoming events or things that needed to be done in the week ahead. Although I still get stressed out about things, after meditating, I noticed that my stress levels decreased tremendously. I am now able to get out of my stress funk and actually think clearly when I need to, which was nearly impossible for me in the past.
3. My focus improved.
I used to have brain fog for days. I couldn’t even remember what I had for breakfast earlier in the day, and studying was an incredibly strenuous task for me. I used to think that I simply had bad memory, but meditation proved me wrong. I am now able to recall events with clarity and grater speed, without having to beat myself up about it.
Well, there you have it. Meditation is such an amazing way to improve your cognitive and emotional health. No one truly knows when or how it started, but there have been mentions of it in India and China dating as far back as the 6th century BC, making it one of the oldest forms of mindfulness in the history of the world. Moreover, mentions of meditation like practices have been found in various cultures and religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I find that so fascinating. It seems to be a practice uniting all of humanity.
If you’d like to start meditating, don’t feel like you need to have the perfect setting or a lot of extra time to get started. Even a few minutes of meditation every day has tremendous benefits. Start reaping those today!