Carla S. - November 27, 2020
The Importance of Meditation
Meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it’s been around for a lot longer than that; thousands of years! While there’s no exact time that meditation started, it was referenced in India’s written texts that date back to 1500 BCE.
If you’re curious about why is meditation important, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to share a comprehensive look at the many benefits of meditation. Keep reading to find out why meditation is important.
What is Meditation?
The official definition of meditation is “the continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation.” But it’s so much more than that, and there’s no right or wrong way of doing it. It’s simply the practice of going within and being present.
Some people use meditation to focus on a particular thought or idea. Others let their minds wander, not trying to focus on anything. Different techniques fall under certain religions or mindfulness practices.
However, it’s essential to know that meditation doesn’t belong to any ideology or group. It is a practice that anyone can do and should.
Misconceptions About Meditation
Meditation is a purely positive practice, but there are plenty of misconceptions that people have about meditation, and we’re here to clear them up. Here are the most common ones:
There's Only One Type of Meditation
When people picture meditation, an image of someone sitting cross-legged with their hands poses comes to mind. What they don’t realize is that there is more than one way to meditate. A couple of active methods include Qi Gong and Tai Chi, which focus on meditative movements.
There are other types of meditation, like the traditional Buddhist meditation method, which involves mantras and visualization. Many people also incorporate meditation into everyday activities like cleaning and cooking.
To Have an "Empty Mind"
Meditation is often associated with the idea of having a completely clear mind, so they think it’s impossible for them. But as we said, there are no hard and fast rules for meditation. Some people find it more beneficial to allow their thoughts to flow while remaining present.
Allowing your mind to wander in this way will help you observe your thoughts and feelings from a higher perspective. While some techniques focus on limiting your thoughts, like meditative absorptions, all methods are meant to build reflective awareness.
It's All About Being Still & Quiet
You don’t have an empty mind, but you don’t have to be completely still and quiet either. Many mediation methods are meant to help you focus your attention and calm your mind throughout the day.
When you start, you may find it helpful to stay still and quiet, but as you progress, so does your ability to concentrate. That means you can try different techniques or practice mediation any time of day, whether you’re at work, relaxing, or taking care of errands.
Meditation is Only For Stress
Although meditation is a suitable method for reducing stress, it’s not the only reason to do it. There is a wide range of benefits that come with it, so even if you’re not feeling overwhelmed, it could still be a good idea.
Some benefits of meditation (which we’ll go more into below) include enhanced self-awareness, lowered blood pressure, and improved memory. Considering this, we think anyone can benefit from a regular meditation routine.
On top of that, even in Buddhism, the traditional goal of meditation is to explore the meaning and purpose of life, better understand yourself, and develop a deeper existential awareness.
It's an Immediate Cure All
There are plenty of benefits you can start to feel right after your first meditation session, like feeling calmer. But depending on what you’re working on, the positive effects may take longer to notice. Not only that, it may take several tries before you feel comfortable.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for people with anxiety or depression to struggle with meditation at first. That’s because they may experience more of the same thoughts that cause them distress, but the point of being mindful is to let thoughts come and go without attachment.
They Already Know the Benefits
Some people brush aside the idea of a daily meditation practice because they think it won’t benefit them. They typically have a preconceived notion of what it is and what the advantages are. But the benefits of meditation are wide-ranging and are still being studied.
Every year, it seems like more new information is shared about this therapeutic practice. For instance, researchers have just begun to understand how much of an improvement it can have on the memory. They’re also working on getting a better grasp on meditation’s pain-relieving effects.
Why is Meditation Important?
Some people think that meditation doesn’t have anything to offer them, but they don’t realize the vast array of benefits that come with it. If you’re feeling a little skeptical, read on. We’ve created a list of some of the most notable improvements meditation can make in your life.
Are you looking for a way to regulate your mood and stay happier more often? Then meditation is the solution for you! What many people don’t realize is that happiness is a state of mind. That means you don’t have to chase it; it’s already inside of you.
All you have to do is brush away the clutter that covers up your inner peace and throws your mood into disarray. Daily meditation will help you tap into this part of yourself easier and maintain that frame of mind for longer.
Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Not only does meditation increase your happiness, but it also reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. This is excellent news, considering how stressed the world is. According to the 2019 Global Emotional Report, one-third of the world is stressed.
That doesn’t include the number of people who also suffer from anxiety or depression. Fortunately, you can find relief in meditation. Even just a few minutes every day will significantly reduce stress.
Self-awareness is another buzzword thrown around recently, but it’s more than a trendy topic. When you’re self-aware, you can honestly reflect on yourself and your life without judgment.
Doing this will help you manage your emotions, respond to stressful situations, and keep goal-oriented. In other words, you’ll feel more in control of your life. By mindfully acknowledging your feelings, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself.
Keeps Your Memory Sharp
Many people believe that our memories weaken as we age. While this is true to an extent, it’s something you can avoid. By taking care of yourself and engaging in activities like meditation, you will help your memory stay agile, especially your short-term memory.
One recent study from Berkeley University found that a regular mindfulness practice helped participants retrieve recent memories easier. If you want to keep your mind sharp, then a daily meditation routine is a must-have.
Helps Control Pain
If you suffer from chronic pain caused by diseases like arthritis, meditation is surprisingly beneficial. There have been numerous studies that show a link between meditation and pain tolerance.
One review of 38 such studies found that individuals who meditated regularly felt decreased pain and better quality of life. More research needs to be done on this topic, but so far, yoga appears to be an excellent practice to develop for anyone trying to manage pain.
Improves Your Sleep
It’s easy to understand why so many people don’t get enough sleep in today’s hectic world. Instead of looking for an over-the-counter or prescription medication to help you sleep, why not try meditation instead? This simple practice can be a powerful tool to help you fall asleep.
Not only does this deep relaxation method put you to sleep, but it also increases the length of sleep and improves your sleep quality. Whether you have regular insomnia or you need help shutting your brain down, meditation is the solution you’re looking for.
Helps You Stay Focused
Between family responsibilities, work, and technology, it’s easy to get distracted. Unfortunately, all these interruptions can seriously affect your productivity. If you need help focusing your mind and being more productive, you should add meditation into your daily life.
Whether you want to believe it or not, the human brain wasn’t wired to multitask, but we continuously try and do it. Switching from task to task only lowers your level of concentration, but mindful meditation allows you to refocus your mind so you can direct your attention to the right things.
There is no fountain of youth, but there are plenty of things you can do to slow the aging process, and that includes meditation. A recent 18-year analysis of a Buddhist monk found that their brains aged eight years slower compared to a control group of non-meditators.
A primary reason behind this is that meditation reduces stress, something that’s known to speed up the aging process. What’s more impressive is that you don’t need to meditate for extended periods to experience these effects.
Decreases Blood Pressure
Hypertension, the official term for high blood pressure, can create debilitating effects on the body, and it’s more common than many people realize. According to the World Health Organization, 1.13 billion people suffer from it globally, and many aren’t even aware.
Factors like inactivity, unhealthy diets, and the consumption of tobacco all contribute to high blood pressure. Changing these habits is a step in the right direction, and so is meditation. It provides long-lasting effects that can last up to a year!
One of the most important benefits of meditation is its power to spread kindness. This comes from the mood-boosting effects it offers well. Research on this subject typically focuses on Metta, a form of meditation that focuses on developing loving, kind feelings towards yourself and others.
A meta-analysis of 22 studies on Metta was recently done, which found that continuous practice of this type of meditation resulted in more positive feelings. Over time, these feelings only continue to grow, leading to an increased sense of happiness.
Near Immediate Benefits
Meditation doesn’t just offer tons of benefits; they kick in almost immediately. Things like improving your mood and overall sense of calm can be felt as soon as you start. Best of all, these benefits will only grow stronger as you continue your meditation practice.
The point is to train your mind to become calmer and more stable. While there are plenty of immediate advantages to meditation, it’s meant to be a long-term practice. So stay patient and stick with it to fully experience the full breadth of benefits.
How to Start Meditating?
Knowing the benefits of meditation, you’re probably ready to get started, but how do you do it? Don’t be intimidated. It’s a simple practice that only requires a few minutes. Getting started is easy, but if you’re unsure where to begin, follow these basic tips.
Don’t Overthink Things
The number one thing that holds people back from developing a solid mediation practice is overthinking. They’re too concerned with how to sit, how to breathe, and what to think. But remember, there is no wrong or right way. Just relax and let go.
Start With 2 Minutes
Don’t feel pressure to meditate for 20 minutes straight. While that’s a good goal to reach for, it’s not necessary. The best way to start is to start small, so you should shoot for 2 minutes of uninterrupted mediation the first few times. As you make it a habit, you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend on it.
Do it Every Morning
The best time to start is in the morning. It’s even better if you can do it as soon as you wake up. During this time, your mind is uncluttered and free of distractions. Meditating in the morning is also an excellent way to ensure you turn it into daily practice.
Add Meditation to Your Routine
Meditation is easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and there’s a lot of benefits that come with doing so. From getting a boost in your mood and better sleep to reduced stress and a sharper memory, there’s a lot to love about it.
Now that you know the benefits of meditation, it’s time to get started! If you’re looking for additional ways to keep your mind and body healthy, shop our selection of at-home workout equipment now!