Meditation is not only for Buddhist monks on top of the Himalaya. You can – and should – do it too.
We all know that meditation is good, but we often don’t make time for it. We’re caught up in our busy schedule and think of it as a waste of time or that other things are more important. But what if I told you that regular meditation could change your life for the better and that it is actually more important than the errands you have to run, the bills you have to pay, or the presentation you have to make tomorrow?
Tame your monkey mind.
As Bikram put it, “The human mind is like a drunken monkey… that’s been stung by a bee”.
The monkey mind is a metaphor that buddhists use to describe our mind. It acts like a monkey, jumping from branch to branch and constantly moving. The branches are our thoughts, and our mind jumps from thought to thought without rest, which can lead to mental fatigue and anxiety.
While this monkey plays a big role in keeping us on top of our things and remembering important stuff, meditation will control it and put it to sleep for a while. It’s the best way to quiet your mind and find inner peace.
What are the benefits?
More and more, science discovers new benefits of meditation. I will talk about the most relevant and surprising ones in this article but if you want to read more about it, head to liveanddare.com.
Meditation proves to be useful in many areas of our lives, may it be spiritual, physical, or emotional.
Meditation is great if you’re often feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Some of the emotional benefits of meditation are:
- Lessens worry, impulsivity, anxiety
- Lessens stress, fear, depression
- Lessens feelings of loneliness
- Enhances self-esteem and self-acceptance
- Improves resilience against pain and adversity
- Increases optimism, relaxation and awareness
- Helps prevent emotional eating
- Helps prevent unhealthy habits such as smoking
- Helps develop positive social connections
- Improves your mood and emotional intelligence
If that’s not enough to convince you, check out the other benefits:
Shutting down your mind makes it stronger.
- Increases mental strength and focus
- Increases your memory retention and recall
- Improves cognitive skills and creative thinking
- Improves decision making and problem solving
- Improves information processing
- Helps ignore distractions
Just as regular exercise and a healthy diet would, meditation helps you get healthy by:
- Improving the immune system and energy levels
- Improving your breathing and heart rate
- Reducing blood pressure
- Increasing longevity
- Lessening heart and brain problems
- Lessening inflammatory disorders and asthma
- Helping prevent arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Improves sleep
Short term, you’ll experience calmness, peace of mind, deep relaxation, an overall feel-good sensation and the feeling that all your problems aren’t that bad after all.
30 – day meditation challenge
15 to 20 minutes of meditation a day is enough to start with.
It will be hard to shut the monkey mind at first. You will probably get on the train of thoughts more than you want to, but with some practice you’ll eventually quiet your mind and be able to focus.
There are a few methods to help you get there. You can think of a simple mantra and repeat it in your head over and over again.
You can picture yourself on a bench watching clouds passing by, each cloud being a thought. Acknowledge it, and let it go.
If you find yourself on this cloud, just calmly refocus, without judgement. It will happen, so don’t punish yourself.
You can focus on your breathing and on your surroundings. Always breathe with your nose.
You can put some relaxation music to not get distracted by noises. and then, just focus on… nothing. It’s just 20 minutes just for yourself.
My favourite method is picture myself sitting in a dark and empty room, the room being my brain. I see thoughts pop up from time to time and I gently push them away.
Do this 20 minutes every day for 30 days. If you feel comfortable, you can increase the duration.
Meditation can only be good for you. It’s important to take a few minutes a day to focus on yourself and quiet your mind, to be able to take a step back and put things into perspective.
What about you? Do you meditate? How often? Have any tips? If you don’t, what’s holding you back? Have you tried and not liked it? Are you ready to take on the challenge and meditate every day? Let us know in the comments below!