Meditation is one of the fastest growing practices for developing a calm, centered state of mind. Though the practice has been around for thousands of years and is a major cornerstone of many Eastern philosophies, the Western world has only recently gotten up to speed.
Over the last few decades, there’s been an increasing amount of scientific research into the practices of meditation and mindfulness, and it is now clearly established that these practices have a number of excellent health benefits. In this post we’ll go through a few of them, as well as how to get started meditating.
How To Start Meditating
If you’re interested in getting started with meditation, the best advice we can offer is simply to get started! There are a number of free online meditation courses you can take advantage of, and there’s no end to the guided meditations and ample meditation music available for free on platforms like youtube. See http://thejoywithin.org for more information.
There’s no right or wrong way to get started, the trick is simply to try a few different approaches and see which ones you prefer. That’s probably the best advice I could give any new student: try a number of different styles. Many people try to meditate once or twice, feel like it “doesn’t work” and then get discouraged. By taking a more gentle approach, you can start to meditate without having any specific expectations about what should or should not happen.
Using free guided meditations will greatly help you with that. Here are some guided meditations from UCLA.
Health Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness
First and foremost, meditation has the ability to significantly reduce the amount of stress. It decreases your attachment to common triggers in your external environment, allowing you to step back and take a higher perspective. As you train your mind to remain calm, you then experience a chemical benefit in the brain.
This benefit passes through to many other areas of your health, and can drastically reduce the chances of developing chronic diseases, ranging from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Another important benefit of meditation is that it helps to increase your ability to focus. As you train yourself to quiet your mind, you develop more conscious control over your thinking process. This makes you less prone to distractions and you can learn to direct this newfound focus to be more productive at any task you choose, whether that means accomplishing more at work or home.
Finally, meditation has been shown to increase your overall sense of peace, happiness, and well-being. Individuals who develop a consistent practice of meditation are consistently less likely to develop depression, and will recover from negative events more easily than those who don’t.
No matter how you look at it, this is now an essential practice that everyone should incorporate into their daily routines!