What is Meditation
Individuals have practiced meditation since antiquity. Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana) come from the Hindi traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE. The aim of meditation is reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception and wellbeing. To meditate, an individual focuses their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mental clarity and emotional stability.
Meditation is not reserved for the yogis or Buddhist anymore. It has become much more popular in contemporary society due to the many health effects you can obtain through the simple habit. Meditation has even become a daily ritual for many successful people today because the self-reflection of meditation allows a person to think clearly about their tasks and goals for the day.
Advantages of Mediation
1. Clearer Thoughts
Have you ever noticed how clear your thoughts are before you go to sleep? For me, it is here when I come up with some of my greatest ideas or a solution to a problem. Unfortunately, these ideas can sometimes get lost in a dream. But, the reason for this clarity is because your body and mind are digressing from the day and into a state of relaxation. With only your thoughts to think about allows you to look at a situation with clarity.
2. Promotes a Method for Relaxation
As I said before, meditation makes us much more relaxed – and this, in turn, allows us to think clearly. But, why do we become relaxed from just sitting and breathing? If I am always breathing, why am I not continually relaxed? While that would be pretty nice, unfortunately, that is not the case. Our bodies aren’t perfect at breathing. When we intentionally focus on our breath, we can oxygenate our bodies to a great extent. Having a surplus of oxygen running through our veins makes enables our bodies to function to its highest potential. This will, in turn, leads to immediate clear and relaxed thinking.
3. By Addressing Stress – It is Relieved
The reality is that anxiety and stress can be pretty helpful. Generally, our thoughts during meditation can become clouded by anxious problems starting with “Why do I feel anxious?” to “How am I going to make this deadline.” But, as stressful as these questions are, they generally prepare us for the future and give us the power to tackle these challenges. If we were to push these thoughts away, we might be unaware of the fact we need to work overtime to make that deadline. The stress you feel about the upcoming deadline is relieved when you think ahead and prepare. The planning allows you to realize you may need to work overtime to accomplish this assignment. Although you may feel the stress of working more extended hours, it still is much better than the pressure of missing the deadline. This is premise is why meditation works. And the beauty of meditation is, when done right, we can look at our problems as puzzles. Generally, our stress levels when dealing with issues are much lower when we can see them through a Zen lens and proper breathing.
4. Improves Concentration
Meditation allows us to focus on what really matters to us, and block out the rest. If you can meditate in the morning, you can set yourself up with goals short-term and long-term objectives to analyze what you want and how to accomplish these things. Mediation is also proven to help with cognition like memory and focus.
5. Improved Self-Awareness
Being able to dive deep into your thoughts allows you to become more comfortable with who you are. Your thinking starts to have reasoning. If you are angry or anxious – meditation enables you to find the explanation for these feelings. This self-drive also allows you to become more comfortable with yourself.
7. Slows aging
Meditation has been proven to reduce signs of aging. This makes sense because we already know meditation reduces stress, and stress is one of the main contributors to aging. “Cognition seems to be preserved in meditators,” says Sara Lazar, a researcher at Harvard University. Lazar adds that meditators also have more gray matter – literally, more brain cells.
8. Helps with Cardiovascular and Immune Health
Meditation induces relaxation causing stress (or cortisol) goes down. Cortisol usually causes us to reach for unhealthy foods like sugar, fats, and carbohydrates. But, by inducing relaxation, instead of cortisol, or body increases the compound nitric oxide that causes our blood vessels to open up causing out blood pressure to drop.
9. Reduces Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Knowing the advantages of how meditation can make you feel, it is no wonder that it is used as a tool for people in recovery. Three studies made with Vipassana meditation suggests that it can help reduce the cravings and urges associated with substance abuse. At Coalition Recovery, we help our clients learn the proper techniques of meditation, so they can learn the self-efficacy and tools to stay clean longer.