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Why You Should Meditate and How You Can

Meditation is no longer for Buddhist monks and yogis. It’s for everyone. Just as exercise is essential for a healthy body, meditation is a surprisingly beneficial workout for your mind. Over 300 clinical studies have confirmed how a regular practice can positively impact your life. Results are far-reaching; ranging from better quality sleep to feeling less lonely. Here are my three main reasons why you should meditate.

 

  1. Meditation positively impacts your health. Benefits include lowering blood pressure, anxiety levels, increasing immune function, physically vitality and potentially slowing down the ageing process.
  2. Meditation positively impacts your happiness. Raise your feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, increase your sense of peace, boost your emotional intelligence and improve your relationships with others.
  3. Meditation positively impacts your performance. Think more clearly, handle stress more effectively, improve your memory recall, do better in exams and feel more motivated.

This scope is remarkable. If this was a pill, I think you’d be taking it.

There is, however, a reason meditation is a practice- it takes practice! Those results don’t come after one meditation, just as fitness doesn’t immediately occur after one gym session. But you can learn and once you have learned you can practice.

Before we discuss the all-important how to meditate, let’s first bust meditation’s biggest myth. Meditation is NOT clearing your mind and/or experiencing no thinking. You WILL think thoughts. You will become distracted. This is normal and natural and not failure! Instead, you expect thoughts or other forms of distractions and use them to gently guide your practice.

 

If meditation isn’t no thinking, what is it?

At its essence, meditation is the art of gently focusing the mind and simply re-focusing the mind every time it becomes distracted. Simple. But not necessarily easy... Just as getting fit requires regular exercise, learning to meditate means training your mind, ideally through daily practice. Like exercising, sometimes you may do it and enjoy it and sometimes you don’t. This is OK. Fitness comes from doing exercise. Similarly, the benefits from meditation come from working your mindfulness muscle by meditating.

 

How do you meditate?

Start by sitting upright. You want to achieve a state of alert relaxation. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Shut your eyes and notice how you feel: what you can sense in your body? What are you aware in your outer environment? Focus in on your breath until the timer sounds.

Please note- distraction is normal. Simply notice whatever form the distraction takes (thoughts of lunch, an itch, noisy car, etc.) and gently bring your focus back to your breath.

Improved health, greater happiness and better performance- I know you want this. So why not start today and over time, watch your world begin to feel brighter and better.

 Want to get going now? Look below. We have a free 5 minute meditate that you can download now.

Alternatively, come and learn to meditate with us! Register your interest in our next course here.

 *This article originally appeared in Peninsula Living and North Shore Living.

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