Meditation has been practiced for centuries by many different cultures around the world. It is considered a spiritual development, and has always been practiced within Hinduism and Buddhism.
Through the years, meditation has increasingly become popular in the US and Europe, as a way of achieving a peaceful mind. Still, many people of our generation are unaware of the physical and psychological benefits of 10 to 20 minute meditation practice.
Not only does meditation relax your mind, but it also gently relaxes your muscles. This had led experts to describe meditation as a "reset button" for the body.
In November 2014, Harvard completed an MRI study, proving a regular meditation practice rebuilds the brain's gray matter in only eight weeks.
Individuals with no previous history of meditation experienced a thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. This means meditation not only relaxes the mind and body, but it works wonders for our brain as well.
Many people have heard of meditation, but never tried it. There are so many different meditation techniques, that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Each and every meditation technique represents different values, which means you should choose the meditation technique that suits you best.
What is common for them all are the benefits and values they add to us as individuals, and how they can improve our careers and studies.
Here are a few ways meditation can improve your life:
1. Relieves stress syndromes
As meditation practice often focuses upon clearing one's mind, it relieves stress syndromes like anxiety and nervosity. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge from Harvard Medical School talks about how mindfulness meditation may ease mental stress, by explaining:
If you have unproductive worries [...] You might think 'I'm late, I might lose my job if I don't get there on time and it will be a disaster!' Mindfulness teaches you to recognize 'Oh, there's that thought again. I've been here before. But it's just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self.'
Keep in mind that relaxing and de-stressing the mind is very different from sleeping and hitting that "snooze" bottom. Sleep mostly benefits the body, and helps the body feel refreshed and re-energized, whereas meditation is purely a practice of the mind.
Think of it as a workout for your mind.
2. Aids calmness and emotional stability
After practicing meditation for a short period of time, you will start experiencing the calming effects of the practice. It can compare to the instant relaxation you get after a Bikram yoga class. This should give a conscious or unconscious insight to what you want, which can be used when making career choices.
By clearing your mind, you will have the ability to control your emotions more freely. Within mindfulness meditation, the main focus is often to gain the ability to choose freely between positive and negative feelings.
3. Helps to appreciate things and stay in the present
4. Improves creativity and learning ability
When feeling stressed, we tend to focus on certain challenges and problems, which shuts out possible creative ideas and projects. When practicing meditation, you gain excess energy and power to think outside the box and to get more creative.
This will benefit the way you handle tasks, and it might even increase your creativity and innovative ideas. The surge of energy after clearing your mind will also improve your ability to learn and master new skills.
5. Increases self-esteem and concentration
As you get more comfortable with your inner-self, you will be able to concentrate on yourself and your needs. This improves your ability to concentrate on your studies and work.
An empowered concentration will boost your self-confidence, and give you ideas of what you can and cannot manage. This way, you do not overload yourself with dozens of tasks and projects.
6. Improves the immune system
Studies show meditation creates a positive mental environment, and the immune system responds to positive thoughts. This means meditation helps the immune system flourish.
A strong immune system improves the body's defense against the flu and other illnesses. This means less sick days at work, and more time for traveling and enjoying life to the fullest.
Want to get started?
If you want to start your meditation journey and wish to achieve the benefits that come with the practice, start by figuring out which meditation technique works well for you.
Begin with guided meditation sessions that you can find online.
Mindfulness meditation is very simple and ideal for newbies, while other meditation techniques can be more spiritual. Visualization meditation can be very beneficial, if you aim to achieve certain career or study goals.
As soon as you have found one or more techniques that work for you, plan your meditation sessions ahead. A good way to make meditation a healthy habit is to do a 30-day meditation challenge.
After this, you should have incorporated a daily habit that will help to improve your career, study life and overall happiness.