Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insightAjahn Brahm
You must have heard people talking about meditation, its benefits, and how it changed their lives. It is a super effective and helpful practice to manage thoughts, improve focus, and manage stress & anxiety.
Meditation is the practice of breathing through nostrils while focusing on an object, thought or activity or trying to clear the mind.
Meditation is not a spiritual practice, rather it is a mindfulness technique aimed at achieving peace of mind which anyone and everyone can practice.
It is not something that requires hours of lessons and reading. Rather it is the simplest forms of practice aimed towards calming your mind, managing stress and increasing your productivity.
Even a 10-minute meditation can calm your mind and improve the energy flow in your body.
Importance of meditating daily
Meditation is an age-old practice that is followed by millions of people on a regular basis. It has transformed several lives, pulled out many people from depression, has given purpose to the lives of millions of people and even cured people of severe diseases.
Here are the benefits which you can experience if you meditate daily:
1. Daily meditation helps in managing thoughts
Meditation helps people in managing their thoughts. The practice of focusing on thoughts while meditating makes people accept their thoughts, allows them to ponder over them and gives them a chance to manage thoughts in an effective way.
Several Entrepreneurs and leaders from different fields meditate everyday early morning to brainstorm ideas and think over challenging problems.
You can also think over your long term and short term goals, and create a to-do list in your mind while meditating.
Meditation serves as an amazing workout for your brain.
2. Meditation makes you happier
Meditation helps you in accepting your thoughts. It makes you accept yourself as you are and hence makes you happy about your status quo. Meditation promotes peace of mind.
To know more about how to achieve happiness apart from just meditating, then read this Ultimate guide to achieving happiness.
3. Meditation is an effective tool to manage stress and anxiety
Wellness Resorts and retreats make their participants meditate every day. Meditation helps people in improving their mental health and also teaches them to manage stress and anxiety.
If you ever stress about anything in life, just meditate and you’ll see the difference. It is recommended to meditate daily, preferably in the early morning.
Meditation doesn’t reduce stress, it helps people in managing it.
To know more stress management techniques, read this guide to Stress Management.
4. Meditating before sleeping at night promotes sleep quality
Meditation solves the problem of Insomnia which is faced by several people. Meditation calms your nerves and relaxes your mind and body.
This leads to proper deep sleep. You can’t experience results from day 1, however, results can be seen in 10-15 days of practicing meditation.
If you suffer from insomnia or are having a difficult day, then you must meditate for 10 minutes before going to bed. Meditation will help you in calming your nerves and suppressing negative thoughts.
5. Meditation sharpens your memory
Meditation sharpens focus, increases attention span and improves memory by affecting the function and structure of the brain. This is because meditation thickens the brain’s cerebral cortex.
These days, several organizations organize daily meditation classes for their employees. Meditation helps the employees by increasing their attention span and reducing stress.
These meditation classes are organized as part of Employee Wellness Programs. Every organization should host such programs to improve the Health, Fitness, and Wellness of their employees.
6. Meditation promotes discipline in Life
Meditating at the same time every day makes you disciplined and sets you upon the path for personal growth.
Meditation also promotes self-love which makes people bring discipline to their lives.
7. Meditation promotes Emotional and Mental Health
Accepting thoughts, analyzing them and making sense of them while meditating can promote your emotional and mental health. Meditation also makes people resilient to angry emotions and makes them more empathetic towards others.
Meditation is a highly recommended practice for people suffering from depression, anxiety, stress and anger control issues.
8. Meditation improves self-awareness
Meditation promotes a person’s ability to view and understand themselves in a more healthy way. Daily meditation promotes the idea of “living in the moment” and helps people analyze their shortcomings and strengths.
9. Meditation helps in controlling blood pressure
Meditation helps in lowering blood pressure by increasing the amount of blood oxygen levels in the body along with increasing the activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. Meditating daily, in general, helps in promoting Physical, Mental, and Emotional health.
There are several meditation mobile apps and Youtube channels which offer guided meditation lessons. These lessons range from solving insomnia to stress and anxiety.
There are several meditation-videos that help in promoting productivity, sleep quality, happiness, and personal growth.
You can also subscribe to podcasts related to guided meditation to get started initially.
Requirements for meditating properly
Meditation is an easy practice and requires minimal things to begin practicing.
The two most basic requirements to start meditating are a quiet place and some motivation to start meditating. A person can look for a silent place to start meditation or can use earphones to listen to meditation music.
Some people prefer meditating while sitting on a chair, while others prefer to meditate by sitting on the floor. One can use a Yoga mat or a carpet to sit on while meditating.
Most people practice timed meditation and therefore a timer is a must.
You can also light Incense sticks or candles while meditating (However, this is just a fancy addition, with no tangible impact on meditation practice)
Common excuses to avoid meditation
To start experiencing some amazing benefits of mindfulness, you need to avoid the following excuses:
- Meditation is boring.
- I can’t stop the flow of thoughts in my mind.
- I don’t have time.
- I can’t sit still for too long.
Avoid making above excuses and get to meditation.
Anyways, it doesn’t ask for too much to meditate- just spare 20 minutes of your time and energy daily in the beginning.
How to meditate
Meditation is not at all difficult.
It is an art.
People can learn it through practice.
No one can master meditation since no matter how much a person meditates, they always get to learn something new about meditation and about themselves.
The following are the steps that people should follow to start meditation.
1. Find a quiet place to sit
Meditation involves focus and for that, you require a quiet and comfortable place to sit. You could sit on a chair or on the floor.
Several people also meditate while in the office to reduce stress.
If you can’t find a quiet place in the office, then you should put on earphones and listen to meditation music and start meditating on your chair.
2. Sit in a correct Posture
Posture is of utmost importance while practicing meditation. Incorrect posture makes your body feel too relaxed and can reduce the intensity of your attention, thereby causing your mind to wander more.
Incorrect posture can also cause body pain.
If it is too difficult for you to sit in a correct posture, you can lie down on the floor and then meditate. Always practice timed meditation while laying on the floor since you might fall asleep in the process.
Many people find it difficult to maintain proper posture while meditating initially. Therefore, if you are a beginner, then you can take support against the wall to maintain proper posture.
3. Start Breathing
It is advisable to breathe and exhale through nostrils only. You can also breathe in through nostrils and breathe out from the mouth. However, prevent breathing in from mouth.
Meditation involves focusing on something. That something can be thoughts, memories, objects.
You can also chant something while meditating. Most people prefer chanting “OM” or some religious slogans while meditating.
4. You can use Meditation Music
You might find it difficult to focus while meditating due to noise or probably just due to a lack of concentration. Meditation music can be really helpful in this situation. It can help you focus on and reduce distraction from the external environment.
People usually practice timed meditation and they use alarms/ timers for that. However, sometimes the timer and alarm sound can be really disturbing and irritating. To solve this issue, you can use meditation music for their desired duration.
There are many meditation music available on youtube for a duration starting from 5 minutes and then increasing in intervals of 5 minutes.
Meditation music is not just useful while meditating, it can also be used to reduce outside distraction. You can listen to meditation music while studying, while working on a project, or even while traveling.
What this music does is it calms your mind and improves your focus.
You can meditate for as long as you want to. However, as a beginner, you should start with 10 minutes of meditation, twice daily: once in the morning and once before going to bed. You can increase your meditation time every week by 5 minutes.
It is advisable for working people to meditate for at least 30 minutes every day to improve their productivity and manage stress.
If you find it difficult to manage stress and workload, then read this Guide to achieving Work-Life Balance.
To summarise, you should ideally follow the following steps to meditate:
- Find a comfortable place to sit.
- Sit in a correct posture.
- Start breathing and focus on something.
- Turn on meditation music if there is too much distraction.
- Start with 10-minute meditations and then increase the time by 5 minutes every week.
Misconceptions about meditation
- Meditation is a religious practice
Meditation is not a religious practice. People belonging to any religion can practice it. While some people chant religious slogans while practicing meditation, you can choose to practice silent meditation or guided meditation.
E.g. one of the world’s most famous meditation center: Vipassana allows people from all religions to participate in its retreats.
- You need to wear a particular type of khaki clothes to meditate
You can meditate in any type of clothes. It is not necessary to wear Yoga pants or loose Khakhi clothes to meditate.
Your clothes must be comfortable so that you can sit in the correct posture while meditating.
- Meditation involves clearing the mind and preventing any thoughts from appearing.
Meditation involves giving your mind something to focus on. This focus point can be anything: an object, a goal, a thought/ memory, a problem or even an emotion.
It is very difficult or probably impossible to switch off thoughts. However, you can reduce the amount of attention you pay to them.
- There is an ideal place and time to practice meditation
There is no ideal time or place to practice meditation. You can meditate anytime, anywhere. But it is advised to practice meditation early morning to give yourself an energy boost.
If your daily routine involves handling stress and traveling too much, then you can meditate before going to bed to have a sound sleep.
- It takes several years to witness any benefits from meditation
This is wrong. Meditation has both long term and short term benefits.
Short term benefits of meditation include better sleep, positivity, reduced anger, etc. Long term benefits of meditation include improved attention span, long term memory, increased grasping power, reduced stress, and anxiety, etc.
Meditation is a highly followed practice. There are several Retreats and studios which teach meditation to their participants.
Meditation is highly helpful in managing stress, and therefore several organizations have started organizing on-site meditation classes to improve their employee productivity and performance at work.
If you are someone who has never practiced meditation, then you should start right away. It will do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit.
Just start with 2 sets of 10 minutes meditation in the early morning and before sleeping at night. If you are a working person, then you should meditate once at the workplace as well to reset your mind.
Coupling meditation with a digital detox on weekends is also very helpful to set the entire week in-flow. It just takes some motivation to start practicing meditation. A week’s practice is enough for you to realize its benefits like deep sleep and less anger. You can have your own at-home retreat on weekends to practice meditation, clean eating, digital detox, and hobbies.
Meditating regularly will make you more sympathetic, happy and caring towards other beings