Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. These life-altering practices have been around for millennia, and virtually every spiritual path integrates some form of them.
Some facts about meditation:
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.
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, mediators are training the mind to remain calm, even in stressful situations.
Meditation helps you fall asleep
Insomnia is a troubling condition – everybody dreads a sleepless night. Sadly, about a third of the American population suffers from some form of sleep deprivation, whether occasional or chronic. If you’re one of those misfortunate folk who stare at the ceiling and count sheep all night to no avail, meditation just might be a solution. An article in the Harvard Health Blog confirms that meditation triggers the relaxation response – which is why some people actually have the opposite problem: they fall asleep as soon as they begin to meditate!
Meditation sharpens your memory
Apart from enhancing your happiness and improving your overall well-being, meditation also helps your memory stay sharp and your concentration remain steady. With mindfulness meditation, you train in remaining aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. Consequently, distractions are less and less likely to sweep you away. Just one more reason why you should meditate.