What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word meditation? Is it a mental image of the Dalai Lama with legs crossed and hands clasped together? Or maybe an eccentric looking individual in a trance-like state?
Truth is, meditation is simply just the state of thoughtless awareness – a state of peace where our minds are calm and silent, yet completely aware.
I introduced meditation as part of my 10 Days to a Healthier Life challenge. We hadn’t previously discussed meditation at Cool Healthy Life, so I thought this was a good time to share some of the benefits of meditation, as I feel the mental exercise is very misunderstood by most people.
Health Benefits of Meditation
When we think about the health benefits of meditation, most of us believe it has something to do with being relaxed and at peace with one’s self, but are those the only benefits? Heck no. The proper integration of meditation into your daily routine will bring along a whole host of benefits. While some are well-known, others are less understood.
We’ve highlighted five for the Cool Healthy Life community. Read on to learn more.
1) Healthier Body
While we all think of food and exercise being components to a healthier body, meditation plays an integral role in aiding the body:
- Improves airflow, leading to easier breathing
- Lowers cholesterol and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Aids in weight loss
- Enhances the immune system
- Speeds up the healing process following major medical events/procedures
2) Healthier Spiritual Self
Not only will meditation improve your physical health, it will improve your mental state, clearing your mind of clutter and freeing you to understand yourself on a deeper level. Meditation can help you learn forgiveness, increase compassion for others, discover your purpose and even create a deeper capacity for love.
3) Increased Happiness
We all want to be happy, right? Nobody wakes up in the morning and says “I hope today I get upset, frustrated and don’t smile once,” yet how many people really can say they are happy? Regular meditation not only eases anxiety, but also aids in increasing the stability of our emotional state. Problems will seem smaller and less significant.
Clear, focused minds are free of anger and frustration. With this anger and frustration dissipated, we can examine our problems in a less agitated state, and maybe even help us feel like that glass is actually half full.
4) Improved Focus and Clarity
Meditation helps you gain not only peace of mind, but clarity as well. With meditation, it’s possible to experience greater focus and an expanded consciousness. Meditation clears your head of all the noise and helps you focus on the present.
5) Combat Cravings and Addictions
As a society, we battle all sorts of cravings and additions. Almost everyone in the world is battling some type of craving or addiction. While meditation alone won’t eliminate these physical and emotional cravings, it will increase your awareness of the weakness as well as provide more self-control over your actions.
My Meditation Journey
As you may know, I’ve recently started my journey with meditation. I currently practice fifteen minute meditation sessions, and am treating the process similarly to a physical work out. I try to go to the “emotional gym” about five times a week. Right now I practice first thing in the morning, though I started by meditating right before bed. It’s a great way to start the day and focus your energy on what’s important in your life.
I know fifteen minutes isn’t much—more experienced practitioners may meditate for many hours. But fifteen minutes is a really easy way to “lean in” to meditation, and something that everyone of us can do tomorrow!
Meditation is Awesome? “Prove It”
I’ve identified a few of the health benefits of meditation, but there are many, many more. Repetitive meditation does work and it offers innumerable benefits. Are you still skeptical? I thought you might be. Here’s one more reason to meditate: It’s free! You need no special equipment or formal training; just find a quiet spot, close your eyes and take the time to simply BREATHE….
Here is a link to a free meditation site, where you can learn all about many different types of meditation.
Get started and let me know your experience in the comments section!
Until next time,
This Video Caught My Attention
After each post we identify an interesting “healthy living” video that we found particularly insightful. Consider this our version of a healthy living YouTube channel!
Benefits of Meditation
Hear what Dr. Oz has to say about meditation!