Updated: Feb 18
When the topic of mindfulness comes up, there are people out there who still imagine that meditation is the domain of "free spirits" or "hippy dippy types". The fact is that there’s nothing woo-woo about mindfulness and awareness meditation. These life-altering practices have been around for millennia, and virtually every spiritual path integrates some form of them.
Though it has its roots in Buddhism, non-secular mindfulness meditation as practiced today is accessible to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Despite its remarkable popularity, you may wonder “But why should I meditate?”.
To begin to answer this question, here are three interesting facts about meditation below and why it is important.
3. Meditation helps you manage anxiety, stress and depression
The transformative potential of meditation shouldn’t be underestimated. Studies conducted at the University of Wisconsin proved that meditation has physiological effects on the brain. For example, researchers found that the part of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety shrinks when meditation is practiced consistently. By focusing on moment-by-moment experiences, meditators are training the mind to remain calm, even in stressful situations. Along with this, they also experience significantly less anxiety due to uncertainty about the future.
2. Meditation benefits are almost immediate
The numerous health benefits that result from meditation are another great reason to adopt the practice. Certain benefits can start making themselves felt very quickly after people start sitting. A sense of calmness and peace of mind are common experiences, even if this feeling is fleeting and subtle. In an article published in Forbes online, attorney Jeena Cho lists six scientifically proven benefits that you may not have been expecting, including a reduction in implicit race and age bias.
Some people worry that meditation is having the opposite effect because their minds seem busier than ever. Our advice: stick with it, and keep your sessions short. Meditation isn’t about wiping the slate of your mind clean, it’s about being aware of what appears there. And you’re a step ahead: you’re already noticing how busy the mind can be.
1. Meditation makes you happier
People who meditate generally lead happier lives than those who don’t. Meditation is known to enhance the flow of constructive thoughts and positive emotions. Even a few minutes spent meditating regularly can make a big difference. Scientific evidence supports this claim: extensive studies were conducted on a group of Buddhist monks as they were meditating. The pre-frontal cortex of the monks’ brains (the part associated with happiness) was found to be extra active.
As meditation practice develops the most fundamental axis of our being, it’s essential to rely on clear, progressive and genuine meditation methods from authentic guides.
There are many mindfulness apps like CALM and Insight Timer. You can also find countless guided meditations on YouTube as well as many of your favorite coaches and leaders' websites.