The practice of meditation helps you to explore different aspects of the mind, creating a habit of mindfulness that affects all areas of your daily life: challenging emotions, moods or thoughts, in addition to positive states like joy, happiness, ease. Over time, a meditation practice can offer us more skillful ways to respond to life (i.e. kindness, patience, compassion, equanimity) instead of habitual reactivity and confusion. And when practiced regularly, this can lead us towards increasing resilience, happiness and ease in all areas of life.
Meditation is not a quick fix like taking a pain relief tablet. With regular practice you will begin to see and feel the results. It’s possible that you’ll notice some changes right away, but if you don’t, that’s normal too, so try not to be discouraged. Greater results are achieved over time and through more patient, dedicated and consistent practice.
In the spirit of brevity, here is a list of just a few benefits to your health and life that can be achieved by meditating even just 10 minutes most days:
- Reduced stress: Meditation may decrease stress. It also can improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.
- Improved memory: Better focus through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can help fight age-related memory loss and dementia.
- Increased attention: Meditation helps with attention span.
- Enhanced will power: Meditation develops the mental discipline needed to avoid bad habits.
- Better sleep: Meditation can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality.
- Less pain: Meditation can reduce pain and boost emotion regulation. Together with medical care, this may help treat chronic pain.
- Lower blood pressure: Blood pressure decreases during meditation and over time in people who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and blood vessels and help prevent heart disease.
- Less anxiety: Regular meditation helps reduce anxiety and related mental health issues like social anxiety, fears and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
- Less depression: Meditation can help reduce the occurrence of depression.
- Greater compassion: Meditation can help you better understand yourself, find your best self, and increase positive feelings and actions toward others.
There are so many helpful applications and websites to get your started or help guide you as you practice. The main thing to remember is the goal is not to “do meditation perfectly”, it is to bring yourself into enough presence of mind that you can be aware when your busy brain begins to veer off into meandering thoughts, so that you can gently guide it back to the present moment. Again and again, the lesson of meditation is in noticing your mind has wandered and helping bring it back, not in successfully thinking nothing. Start with 1 minute, 2 minutes, heck, start with trying to stay present for 10 full breaths! Any time spent doing that will provide some benefit to your overall health!