Meditation has been around for thousands of years. It is an ancient practice that has been a part of many cultures and traditions, but in recent years it has become more and more popular in mainstream life. Even though it has become more common, there are still a lot of people who don’t know what it is.
My favorite definition of meditation goes as followed; “It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to understand them better as well.”
Meditation helps transform your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. In reality, the benefits of meditation are endless, but here are three huge ones that help enhance your everyday life.
1. It Helps Reduce Stress Levels
When we become stressed, anxious, or agitated, our bodies activate our “fight or flight,” which is also known as our sympathetic nervous system. Once activated your body produces higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline, your blood pressure and heart rate rise, and noncritical functions like reproduction, immunity, and digestion shut down until you have relaxed.
Unfortunately, many people live in a state of chronic stress. This means that their bodies are almost always in that state. Consistent high levels of cortisol can cause weight gain, inflammation, hormone imbalances, and disrupted sleep or skewed sleep patterns. But I don’t think there is anything worse than your digestion shuts down. That can lead to constipation, bloating, gas, stomach aches, and nausea to name a few.
Meditation and breathwork turn on your “rest and digest,” also known as your parasympathetic nervous system. When this system is activated, it lowers your heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels, muscles in the GI tract enable, and intestinal and gland activity increase. This leads to an overall improvement in the gut, endocrine, heart and emotional health.
2. It Brings Awareness
Many people think that meditation is about sitting on a cushion and having an empty mind for at least 30 minutes. Well, that’s not true. It is about staying engaged in the present moment. Staying present allows you to be aware of your current physical, mental and emotional state.
Being aware of yourself and your state is extremely important because it can help lead to a deeper understanding. It enables you to get to the core of things. You can’t make changes or progress if you aren’t aware of your current state, your thoughts or your actions.
3. It Sets you up for Success
I believe that one of the keys to having a successful life is to be proactive. It is essential to be proactive with your thoughts, words, and especially with your goals. And meditation can help that. According to Tim Ferris, “[when you meditate] you’re training your mind for less emotional reactivity…it helps you to become respond-able.”
When you meditate in the morning, you are setting yourself up for a day that is full of awareness, being proactive, and lower levels of stress. But the best part is you’ll be able to enjoy life more because you will be more engaged in the present moment.
To me, meditation is a means of transforming your mind, which in return transforms your life.
How to Meditate:
Start by doing it for 2 minutes every morning and eventually work your way up to 30 minutes.
Use an app:
Guided meditations can be very helpful when you are first cultivating your practice.
- Wim Hof Method (This is my favorite app. I do three rounds of breathing every morning right after I wake up)