Meditation isn’t reserved for Buddhist monks. It is a stress-busting exercise that anyone can benefit from. If you’re a busy parent, meditation could help you stay calm the next time your child throws a tantrum. If you’re an ambitious professional, meditation could help you concentrate on delivering quality work that will impress your clients. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, meditation could ease the burdens that trouble you. Whether you want to meditate for religious reasons, stress management, or productivity enhancement is irrelevant. A moment of silence can serve you in so many ways that it would be silly not to do it. If you’re in need of more convincing, please consider these five surprising benefits of meditation.
1. Meditation calms your mind.
We are surrounded by stressful things. Bad traffic, angry customers, difficult co-workers, unruly children, and financial troubles can unnerve even the best of us. Getting upset by every difficulty you face, however, can become exhausting in a hurry. Even worse, your body’s flight-or-fight response is activated every time you get upset, which could lead to a state of chronic stress if you’re not careful.
It’s estimated that stress plays a role in up to 90% of doctor visits, so you should make your mental health a priority. The next time you get stuck in a long line or traffic jam, take the opportunity to clear your thoughts and focus on deep breathing. There is no point in getting upset by an inconvenience that is beyond your control. Meditation will help you understand that these little things aren’t worth your concern.
2. Meditation boosts your focus.
It’s not easy to concentrate on the task at hand in the age of instant gratification, where people expect immediate responses and constant interruptions are the norm. This lifestyle isn’t conducive for creativity or productivity. It is easier to create art when you get absorbed in the act of creation. How creative do you think you’ll be if you can’t focus on your art for more than a few minutes at a time?
Focus is also essential for work tasks, especially strategic planning that requires you to make decisions based on where you imagine your business will be in several months or years. How accurate do you think your long-term projections will be if your mind is dominated by short-term concerns? Meditation will help you become a better artist and more effective business-owner.
3. Meditation manages your emotions.
Hurtful feelings can eat away at your energy until you lose so much enthusiasm that you resemble a mindless zombie. Remember that all people have been through struggles like business failures, job losses, break-ups, and the loss of a loved one at some point in their life. These troubles, which can feel emotionally devastating at the time you’re going through them, are nothing you can’t overcome.
I can’t claim I handle every struggle effortlessly, but I can say meditation helps me speed up the healing process. When I feel nasty emotions bubbling up, I find it helpful to; dim the lights, close my eyes, sit in a comfortable position, and pretend I am viewing my thoughts as an innocent bystander (instead of an inflicted victim). Ask yourself: “Does this thought serve me?” If not, replace it with a better one. Meditation will help you replace your self-defeating thoughts with empowering ones.
4. Meditation removes your blind-spots.
No one likes to admit their flaws, but you might as well do it, because nobody’s perfect. Pretending that your weaknesses don’t exist is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for dismal failure. In addition, the more a negative habit is repeated, the more it becomes a standard behavior. Most people aren’t mindful enough to realize they have a problem until it’s too late.
It takes more than one beer, cigarette, porno, or poker game to create an addict. These vices typically begin as a rare occasion, but people rarely notice how quickly things intensify until they are trapped by addiction.
You won’t be able to address your faults, weaknesses, or personal demons until you find enough courage to confront them without fear. Meditation will provide you with the distance you need to be brutally honest with yourself.
5. Meditation improves your perspective.
Before you complain about receiving a plate of cold food, remember that 842,000,000 people (or 33% of the world population) are starving. Before you get upset because your living arrangement isn’t “good enough,” remember that 100,000,000 people don’t even have a home.
Please forgive me for getting on a soap box. I don’t say this to mock you or make light of the difficulties you face, but rather to demonstrate that there are people in this world facing struggles that would make yours pale in comparison. Meditation is an opportunity to express gratitude all of the blessings that you have taken for granted.
Meditation can be as brief or as extensive as you would like it to be. I recommend starting with a minute or two and moving up from there. Here are more practical tips to help you begin a meditation habit (even if you’re a total newb).
Read More Articles by Daniel Wallen:
- 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Become a Freelancer
- 13 Motivational Quotes to Fire You Up in the Morning (Make #5 Your Battle Cry)
- Freelancing 101: How to Be Productive at Home (When You’d Rather Be Watching Netflix)