Let’s try another Morning Beans miniseries. I keep talking about meditating, so how about we go there for a small side trip. Think of it as a free, mini-cation from your stressful day. I found, as I began to learn to meditate, that a lot of the info out there is confusing. It’s not all about a candlelit, incense-filled and darkened room with lots of Ohms going on. Meditation has many benefits, and it can be a useful tool to have in your armory.
Meditating daily is not only perfect for relieving stress, but it can help lighten up some of the symptoms of anxiety, depression, even eating disorders. For some of you, meditation will contribute to increasing your creative potential, and maybe even your energy levels. No, it isn’t just for bedtime anymore. Meditation makes it easier to stay healthy and productive in the crazy place we call the world.
Let’s get basic and talk about the benefits of meditation, Bean style. So yeah, always caffeinate first, unless it makes you hyper. Then wait. No sense being at the starting line when you’re brain and body are trying to regroup. Let’s start with the physical side. Some of the benefits of meditation are:
- Reduced stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Boosted immunity
- Pain relief (this is sort of advanced, but my guru says it works)
- Better heart health (and no icky aftertaste!)
Emotionally, meditation has lots of core benefits as well, such as:
- Increased happiness
- Better productivity
- Creative boost – (get those minds and hands ready!)
- Better periods of concentration.
OK, so, you’re thinking, “gee Helene, we know this.” I know that, but we need to start at the beginning. So now, let’s move on to the spiritual benefits of meditation. Meditation, done correctly, creates a bridge, a balance of sorts, between our inner worlds (yup, those voices in your head) and the outside world (society). Most of us only experience our physical bodies and the core levels of our minds. But what if you could delve deeper and find your peaceful place anytime you need to get away and de-stress for a few? Awesome, right? Of course. Meditation lets you tap your truth, you know, the one they’re all raging about in the media. “Find your truth.” Well heck peeps, it’s inside of you, deep inside. By creating a balancing act between our inner dimensions (yes, we all have depth) and reality, we can increase our awareness, productivity, and emotional well-being.
Something you might begin to feel or notice if you meditate is wakefulness: a sense of being present, mindful and in the moment. You will become more aware of your environment and yourself. Want to try this? Don’t even meditate, just sit outside, quietly. Focus on everything and then nothing. Breathe. You can hear the orchestra of nature- the leaves rustling, the lizards scarping the dirt, birdsong, etc. It is as if you are a detached observer, floating, listening, feeling, healing. You begin to feel a little more connected.
Any meditation you do is a positive reflection. For some, traditional silence, comfy pillows and incense work, others need something a bit more high-tech. Whatever method you choose, be sure to use soft music or a quiet space to be a buffer against loud noises. Be sure to set up an environment that will enable you to de-stress and detox every time you need to meditate.
How about those studies? I would be remiss not to mention them. There have been many. From the Zen Study to Harvard, and they all have found that meditation is beneficial to humans. From the ability to improve concentration and your attention span to improved alertness and visual acuity. Meditation is to your brain, what exercise is to your body. So what are you waiting for? A recent study at Harvard Medical School showed that deep meditation, relaxation through yoga, can alter your body at a cellular and a genetic level. Now, who doesn’t want designer genes?
Increase that gray matter! Meditate! And of course, caffeinate! Below are my tactics for a good meditation.
MBB brings you a recipe for mindful meditative success.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!