It’s an ancient practice that’s more essential today than ever, given our high-pressure lifestyles. With so many people now looking for ways to dial down, hop off their hamster wheels, and tap into their breath, researchers have begun to take notice.
Surprising studies show the manifold benefits of meditation, and confirm what Buddhist monks have always known: meditation is a powerful tool to mastering our states of mind.
Here are 8 things you didn’t know about meditation:
1. Meditation Makes You More Efficient
Since meditation boosts concentration and productivity, you can be sure it will help you in every area of your life.
Have trouble staying focused in those dull work meetings when some monotone speaker is presenting? Do you find your thoughts drifting when you should be studying, working on some tedious project, or doing a task that doesn’t particularly excite you?
Since meditation helps us rein in our unruly thoughts and become more cognizant of the patterns in our thinking, we become more efficient, able to focus with less effort, and stay the course when we know we should. In addition, studies show meditation adds density to the cerebral cortex, which results in improved impulse control.
2. Meditation Makes You Happier
Like yoga, meditation is a powerful relaxation technique. It enhances our sense of wellbeing and helps us to calm the chaos in our minds.
As we meditate, our parasympathetic nervous system is activated, telling our bodies to rest and digest. The calming experience actually slows your breathing, lowers your heart rate, and sets you up for more happiness.
Side note, we’re probably better looking, more approachable, and prone to making more friends when we radiate happiness. It’s amazing what a bit of meditation can do!
3. Meditation Helps You Sleep
If you’ve ever had trouble falling or staying asleep, you’ve experienced insomnia. It’s no fun staring at the clock and watching the wee hours of the night go by at a snail's pace while your spouse snores obnoxiously beside you.
Mediation is shown to help insomnia, as it triggers relaxation and helps us unwind.
4. Meditation Increases Immunity
Want to take fewer sick days from work, and spend less time nursing the common cold, flu, and other ailments?
Keep exercising regularly, taking your vitamins, sipping green smoothies, and start meditating, too. Make it part of your “enhanced immunity” tool kit.
5. Meditation Makes You Mentally Sharper
This goes along with number one, but there’s a bonus here: you’ll gain a better memory with regular meditation.
That’s because meditation helps you become more mindful and less distracted, which is often the problem when it comes to making mindless mistakes and misplacing those darn keys!
6. Meditation Promotes Better Sex
Yup, you read that right. Better sex is a side effect of meditation.
A relaxed you will not only be up for the action more often, you’ll be more engaged and better able to tune out your email alerts and other mood killers.
7. Meditation is Much Less Complicated Than You Imagined
There’s a common misconception about meditation, and it keeps those who need it most from trying it. Meditation is not dull, or insanely difficult. You don’t have to light candles, chant, or sit tall and erect. It’s not about clearing your mind -- that’s not even possible, man.
There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, and there’s a style for every meditator. Find what works for you.
8. The Benefits of Meditation are Immediate
You don’t have to wait for this stress elixir to take effect; the benefits of meditation are immediate. Furthermore, you don’t have to clear an hour from your schedule, or sit in Lotus for any length of time.
Meditate every day, for as few as 15 minutes, or as long as you like. Some days you’re bound to need it more than others -- Mondays, perhaps!
Now that you know there’s an antidote to anxiety and the overwhelming power of our thoughts and emotions, are you eager to try meditation? Perhaps you’ve found a method that works for you. Tell us about it in the comments below!