Nowadays, perhaps meditation has no longer been a strange practice for human beings. According to some of the earliest written records, meditation came from the Hindu tradition of Vedantism in around 1500 BCE.
Since the 19th century, it has started spreading to other cultures but only becomes more popular until recent years of the 21st century.
So, what is the real meaning of meditation?
Actually, we can understand it as a precise technique for resting our minds and achieving a state of consciousness that is completely different from a normal waking state.
When meditating, your mind must be silent and not focused on any external things existing or taking place around you. It would be so clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused that nothing can distract you in this state.
According to scientific research, meditation can help to improve not only emotional but also physical health, bringing about happiness and general well-being in our life.
Below are the main benefits of meditation you can gain after practicing on the right track:
1. Reduce stress and anxiety
A lot of research has shown that meditation has huge positive effects on our mental health. And stress reduction is one of the most common reasons for people to try this practice.
Normally, much mental and physical stress will result in increased levels of cortisol, a kind of stress hormone.
This hormone then leads to many harmful effects like disrupting our sleep, promoting depression, increasing blood pressure, causing fatigue as well as cloudy thinking.
Exercising with meditation in a long term not only can help to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety, but also contributes to decreasing the stress hormone cortisol significantly.
It will gradually calm down your mind, control strong emotions and then you will be able to achieve balance.
2. Increase concentration
If you are struggling to focus on your study or your work, if you are easily distracted while trying to concentrate on doing something, perhaps meditation would be the right choice to solve all of those problems.
Basically, the goal of meditation is the ability to inwardly focus without being interrupted by other external events.
By mastering this practice, you will attain a more stable state of mind and every behavior is also well-controlled. As a result, your brain is much more relaxed and you will be able to handle life matters in a better way.
3. Lower blood pressure
Besides the benefits that you can gain for mental health, meditation also brings about loads of good effects on your body. One of those is the ability to avoid high blood pressure.
In today’s society, high blood pressure has become one of the most popular diseases, not only happening to people in the middle ages but also to a small part of youngsters. This can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening our brain’s blood vessels, causing them to narrow down, rupture or leak.
Many studies have shown that people who get meditation exercises usually have a lower blood pressure than other people.
Researchers believe that this practice has effects on the autonomic nervous system (which regulates blood pressure). It also slows the activity in the sympathetic nervous system (which narrows blood vessels) and fosters the activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (which helps to widen blood vessels).
4. Better sleep
When doing meditation, your body will learn how to relax or focus on only one object like the breath and ignore every other thought and emotion.
Most of the time, insomnia has resulted from many worries and matters in daily life.
Therefore, practicing meditation will definitely help to reduce and stop the thoughts inside your mind, preparing a better mood to relax at the end of the day.
5. Improve happiness and general wellbeing
Meditation uses the technique called “mindfulness”, or concentrating on a certain object, thought, or activity. Mindfulness was said to be linked to self-regulation throughout the day.
And according to psychotherapists, meditation really helps us to connect with our true qualities. We’ll learn to accept ourselves and practice working with our thoughts in a different way.
That’s why they said meditation can bring about happiness and create peace in your mind.
So, the above are the most important effects that we can get from meditation. Have you ever asked yourself how you can do it?
In fact, this practice is quite difficult for beginners. You may feel very frustrated when putting all your effort into trying not to think about anything but you always end up distracted by some external factors.
However, meditation-based exercises really require patience. You must take it small first before you can completely be professional in controlling your thoughts.
If you are a newbie to the practice, you can refer to the following simple steps for beginners:
- Sit or lie comfortably. Relax your body. You can purchase a meditation chair or cushion to practice more easily.
- Close your eyes. If you are lying, you should wear an eye mask or prepare a restorative eye pillow.
- Keep breathing naturally.
- Focus on your breath and the movement of the body after each inhalation and exhalation. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Try to keep your breath as natural as possible.
- Maintain this meditation for two or three minutes. Then try it for a longer period.
- Try to practice at the same time every day.
Check these two videos for the beginning techniques:
Notes before meditating:
- Choose a quiet, peaceful space
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Do some stretches before you start to make your body more flexible
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Try to straighten your spine as sitting down
And finally, never get frustrated! Try to remind yourself that: Meditation is actually the outcome, not the process. Try to practice at the same time every day to create a habit of meditation, you will gradually become better.