I’m sure you’ve all heard of meditation by now, and some of you might practice it regularly - go you! But for those of you who are hesitant about trying it and think that maybe it’s just a lot of cross-legged sitting and trying not to fall asleep, here are a few great reasons why you should give it a go.
1. It reduces stress
This one is probably one of the main reasons why people choose to try meditation - our lives are stressful, and our stress levels particularly increase around this time of year (not to remind anyone but Christmas isn’t far away!). Studies of people who are considered regular meditators have shown that they have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their brains, making them more resilient to things that can cause stress.
2. Meditation improves cognition
Regular meditation increases our ability to problem-solve and make complex decisions. Some of the most successful people utilise meditation as a tool for keeping their minds sharp and improving their cognitive abilities, which ultimately leads to their success in whatever it is they’re doing. If you can reduce your stress levels and increase your brain’s important functions, you’re going to do pretty well in your professional life!
3. It increases our attention span
Nowadays with so much going on and so much to distract us, we barely take 5 minutes to actually engage with things properly - ever scroll through your Facebook feed while watching Netflix? Meditation is a way to block out all of the distractions and properly focus. By continuously practicing meditation, we can train our minds to focus for longer and increase our levels of engagement with the world around us.
4. It helps us to be kind
Whether it’s showing compassion towards ourselves or empathising with others, meditation helps us to be kinder, more loving human beings. Specific types of meditation, including metta or loving-kindness meditation, help us to increase positivity, empathy and compassionate behaviour toward others. Your overall ability to focus and slow down will also make you able to better interact with your communities and communicate in a more genuine and kind way.
So how do you start?
There are many different practices and tips of which we’ll touch on later in these blogs, but all you need is a quiet place and a little bit of patience.
The idea is not to try to push away your thoughts, but observe them objectively, letting them ebb and flow. Focus on your breaths going in and out, and any time you start to run away with your thoughts, slowly bring yourself back to your breath.
Don’t expect too much right away, there’s a reason it’s called practicing meditation! Do a little each day and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Happy meditating everyone!