If your anything like me the word "meditation" creates the image of a person sitting cross legged with their arms rested on their knees, thumb and middle finger touching, eyes closed and the sound of monotone humming or water in the background. It is interesting most people will have a similar image of peace and serenity to pair with the word "meditation" but few people actually meditate. WHY? I just don't understand why people who are always moaning about being to busy, exhausted and having headaches etc... never meditate. Sometimes I think that as we excel in intellect we assume that the answers to life are hard to find and complex in explanation leaving the simple and consistent answers to life's problems are frequently passed by and ignored.
Meditation is a glorious tool that provides a multitude of benefits. A few benefits that I would like to focus on are:
- Meditation increases happiness in your life
- Meditation dramatically reduces stress, anxiety and tension
- Meditation improves confidence and self motivation
You might ask "how can meditation improve my happiness?" Well the act of mediation shifts the brain's activity to the left side of the frontal lobe which has the effect of calming. Anxiety disturbs us and creates feelings of stress that result in unhappiness, calming is the opposite to anxiety. Meditation helps you relax increasing your happiness. Meditation is an opportunity to put aside your TO-DO list of floating thoughts and focus on finding peace and listening to your body. This time of giving back to your body rejuvenates it, filling you with energy and joy.
Most people associate meditation with reducing stress. As discussed in the above paragraph meditation utilizes the left frontal lobe which increases happiness and a happy demeanor will enhance ones ability to handle stressful situations. Often as people's stress build their body responds by tightening muscles which can result in chronic pain. Meditation will increase the oxygen intake and send much needed oxygen to specific muscles enabling them to release. Meditation is a beautiful reminder to release, relax and breathe; three things which the body desperately needs to enjoy optimal health.
Meditation really schools you to listen to your body and most importantly to your breath. Breathing is a glorious action that instantly can have the ability to calm you. Meditation and breathing are great tools to help enhance your self-confidence and motivation. Meditation breaths life and vitality into your being, it leaves you feeling renewed and more able. Some people think that meditation will just make you sleep, and some forms are designed to have that effect but meditation can also be highly invigorating as it requires precision and a deep focus.
How to Meditate
First things first, you need to find a quiet place. It is really important to make sure that you are not tired so choose a point in the day when you are reasonably alert and energized. It is really important that you are comfortable, wear clothing that is loose and sit on a cushion to increase comfort and stability avoiding any distractions. Do not eat before meditating as after a meal your body tends to feel lethargic and fatigued. It is wise to take a shower before meditation so early morning would be a choice opportunity.
In meditation it is important to have your back straight but it is not necessary that you sit in the lotus position (legs crossed) if it is more comfortable to sit on a chair that will work just fine, the most important aspect is that your back is lengthened. To encourage the mind to release thoughts and achieve one pointed focus the use of incense, candles or relaxing music can help.
Before meditation decide how much time you will commit to it. When prepared for meditation it is important to try to train the mind to achieve one pointed focus. This can be really challenging for some as minds are always ticking with TO-DO lists. A couple of things that help the mind single out distractions are:
•Focusing on the flame of a candle
•Focusing on listening to the sounds that are around you
•Focusing on your breathing and how it affects your body
•Focusing on lengthening your spine
•Focus on a specific affirmation
Meditation is a powerful tool that clears your mind and fills you with joy, releases stress and improves motivation amongst many other things. I challenge you to enjoy the daily and life long benefits mediation has to offer.