I have been meditating for decades, using the attention focusing power of meditation to shape and optimize my brain. I knew from experience that meditation worked for me. Science is now catching up and meditation is becoming as important as regular physical exercise to your well-being.
Here are 10 reasons why you should meditate.
- Meditation exercises your brain. Meditation, whether in mindful awareness of your breath or by doing guided meditation, strengthens your mind. Researchers have now found that regular meditation can literally rebuild the brain. As with exercise, there are many different ways to work your brain.
- Meditation improves cardiovascular and immune health. By helping you to let go of the thoughts dominating your mind, meditation induces relaxation. A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that 40 of 60 high blood pressure patients who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication.
- Meditation makes you healthier. Meditation reduces the stress-related hormone cortisol which is linked to all sorts of chronic problems. Meditation also improves immune system function.
- Meditation makes you happier. Researchers have found that regular meditation improves mood and makes people more optimistic and upbeat. It also reduces anxiety and depression.
- Meditation slows aging. By reducing stress hormones, meditation slows aging. If you want to retain youthful vigor and feel younger, meditation can help.
- Meditation makes it easier to learn. Researchers have found that regular meditation improves your ability to focus, skills necessary to learn new things. Learning new things keeps us flexible, focused, alive, and invigorated, making life feel more worthwhile.
- Meditation makes it easier to get things done. Getting things done when you don’t feel like getting them done requires the ability to focus. Because meditation improves brain function, you are more able to focus, concentrate and get that to-do list conquered.
- Meditation makes you manifest better. Those who have worked with my meditations in the past know one thing: focused attention makes you a better conscious creator. By training your ability to focus your attention, you are more likely to create the things you want in your life. All of conscious creation is focused attention on the things we value and want to experience more of.
- Meditation might land you a better job. Because businesses are learning that regular meditation makes you happier, more adjusted, and more focused, they’re looking for new employees in meditation groups.
- Meditation improves intuition. Meditation helps you to become present and quiet the mind. When you reduce the mental chatter that often dominates our experience, you become much more aware of another sense of awareness: intuition. When you’re more connected with your intuition, you make better decisions, have less stress, and feel more in alignment with your inner knowledge: your own inner GPS.
How do you meditate?
Like exercise for the body, there are many ways to work your brain. The best meditation, like the best exercise, is the meditation that you enjoy doing. At first, you’ll want to experiment and watch many videos about meditation. You’ll want to listen to guided meditations that can help you find your own rhythm and mindfulness.
The key is to manage expectations. If you think you’re going to sit in mindful awareness for two hours, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It would be like me expecting to ride the Tour de France and win tomorrow. You’ll have to work your brain, and work up to longer periods of time. Start with 5 minutes, then slowly work up to more time in mindfulness.
You can begin your meditation right here, right now.
- Find something to anchor your attention. Use your breath, a word or phrase, and stay present with that focused attention.
- Exercise that attention. As you hold that attention, let the thoughts, feelings, desires, or emotions wash over you. You’re not trying to make your mind blank, you’re only looking to exercise your ability to remain focused on your anchor of attention while these transient experiences come… and eventually go.
- Make a commitment to hold attention for at least one minute a day. As you do it more, you’ll want to do it for longer periods of time.
Above all, enjoy the process. Find ways to play as you meditate. Find ways to use meditation in situations that used to cause you stress, such as waiting in line. Or use playful words as your anchor of attention that elicit a giggle response, then practice letting go of the joy as well as the stress. You’ll explore more of your consciousness and discover that you are not your joy, not your pain, not your worries, and not even your thoughts. You’ll find out who you are, and you’ll discover that you’ll want to explore even more.
If you want more resources to help you gain focus in meditation, please check out: