I always thought meditation was a waste of time.
I mean how can just sitting there, doing nothing improve my health or my life for that matter?!! I’m a very busy person, I always have been and I always will be. I would rather do something more productive than sit there and do nothing.
I kept hearing about the benefits so I decided to do some research and there apparently science has shown that there are some seriously attractive benefits to meditation. For example it:
- Increases immune function
- Decreases Pain
- Decreases Inflammation at the Cellular Level
- Increases Positive Emotion
- Decreases Depression
- Decreases Anxiety
- Decreases Stress
- Increases Social Connection & Emotional Intelligence
- Makes you more compassionate
- Makes you feel less lonely
- Improves your ability to regulate your emotions
- Improves your ability to introspect
- Increases grey matter (The grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control)
- Increases volume in areas related to emotion regulation, positive emotions & self-control
- Increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention
- Increases your focus & attention
- Improves your ability to multitask
- Improves your memory
Now that is a lot of scientifically proven benefits of meditation. For me, the fact that meditation improves memory, focus and attention is the most attractive to me. Being an entrepreneur my mind is always in a thousand places at once, so it is pretty obvious why improving these things is the most important to me.
However, no matter what kind of person you are, at least a few of those benefits will be attractive to you.
I hope that if you were a sceptic before, you now believe in the benefits of mediation and how just sitting there doing nothing can make you happier, more relaxed, more productive and smarter.
I think it is worth spending some time every day to meditate.
There are so many different forms of meditation and it can be very hard to get started since you don’t know where to start!
Here are a couple of great ways to get started with meditation.
Simple Breathing Meditation
Set some time, in the morning before you start your day is best, or whenever you get some time. You don’t need to do this for 20 minutes, you can start with just a 5 minute meditaiton. Don’t feel like you need to go all out on day one.
The most important thing is to get into the habit of meditating. When you get better at it you can spend more time each day doing it.
This meditation is just where you sit (you don’t have to sit in a special way, you can do this in a chair if you like), and focus on your breathing.
Don’t try to control your breath, just feel the air going into through your nose and then out through your mouth. Just observe what your body does when you breath. Which parts of your body expand or contract when you breath in and what do those body parts do when you breath out?
Don’t try to control the breath, just observe.
Your mind will wander, and when it does, just come back to focus on your breathing.
Do this for a specific amount of time, like I said above, start with 5 minutes if you’re new and extend that time by 5 minutes every week or so.
You will find that it will get easier to focus on the breathing as you get better at it.
Thinking About Nothing Meditation
Now this one is pretty tough but it is worth it if you give it a try. If you’re anything like me, you’re brain is racing at a hundred miles an hour 24/7 and that’s what makes this so hard.
You sit down, take a few breaths, and think about nothing. This is obviously harder than thinking about your breath because your mind will wander much faster. When it does, just come back to thinking about absolutely nothing.
You will get images in your head, you’ll get sounds in your head. Focus on not seeing and not hearing anything. Focus on silence.
When you get better at this, you’ll start to get closer to “nothing”. When this happens you can focus on what that feels like.
An analogy by the Dalai Lama is that your mind is like a river, when you have thoughts and when your mind is racing, there are ripples. This means you can’t see the bed of the river. When you learn to stop those thoughts and focus on the “nothing”, the ripples will stop and the water will be clear and you’ll start to see the bed of the river.
The bed of the river represents your true mind. You can only feel it when all the chatter in your mind has stopped. If you know how to do this, then tell me how!
Those are the two great ways to meditate when you are first starting out. Like I said before, just take some time in the morning before you start your day. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 – 30 minutes. Start with the Breath Mediation and then try out the Thinking About Nothing Meditation.
Let me know in the comments your experience with meditation and if you’ve tried any forms of mediation that have really worked for you.