Meditation is something that has numerous benefits, including physical and mental health aspects. Even though there is tons of information on the topic of meditation available online, some people still view it as a mystical impossibility.
I thought I would clear up a few of those misconceptions and maybe change the perspective a few people have about meditation by bringing you these 7 bits of information.
1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO TWIST YOURSELF INTO A PRETZEL
Or more specifically, you don’t have to sit in Lotus position, or with your body in any certain posture to enjoy the benefits of meditation. You don’t even have to sit on the floor at all; meditation isn’t strictly about how your body is positioned. There are some who have practiced meditation for several years and they will tell you that sitting with a certain posture will improve your results, but beginners can reap the benefits just as well by laying down or sitting in a chair.
Meditation is the practice of making yourself aware of your breath, paying attention to your thoughts, and tuning into yourself. It can be done standing, sitting in traffic, inside an elevator- anywhere really. It doesn’t matter what is happening outside, it matters what is happening inside. Author of Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace, Pedram Shojai, says, “Anywhere you are, you can drop into a state where you’re becoming aware of your breathing and becoming aware of what you’re feeling. It’s really about understanding how to engage the practice at any time and ideally all at times.”
2. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL TO MEDITATE
Although there are many people who are spiritual who practice meditation, you do not need to be a spiritual person or follow any particular belief system. Meditation is simply a way to release and heal from stress, and it is scientifically proven to decrease anxiety, and improve ones overall health. Regardless of beliefs, you will benefit fro meditation.
Read: Emotional Balance: Why it is So Important in Our Lives
3. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MEDITATE FOR AN UNCOMFORTABLE AMOUNT OF TIME
If you are just beginning to try meditation, and you want to gain a better relationship with your breath, Shojai says that even 10 minutes is enough. Consistency is more important than the amount of time spent in meditation. He explains it by saying, “meditating consistently allows you to draw on that sense of calm when you actually need it. A little bit every day builds a cushion against stress and keeps you from getting knocked off your perch.”
4. DON’T WORRY ABOUT HAVING A SILENT MIND
Some folks have tried meditation in the past and thought, “I couldn’t quiet my mind. My thoughts were racing. It was too hard.” The fact is, the mind runs on auto-pilot; it’s doing it’s job when it creates thoughts that fill your mind. When you are in the state of meditation, you are aware of all these thoughts going through your mind and your trying to remove them. The idea isn’t to stop all processes of the mind, but to be observant of them.
Remember, the key to being successful with meditation is to avoid discouragement. If you finish a session and feel that you have focused too much on your thoughts for the duration, don’t let yourself feel bad about that. Allowing yourself to go through the options has gotten you a full step closer to reaching your goals. Practice makes perfect- so practice, practice, practice.
5. THERE ARE MANY STYLES OF MEDITATION – KEEP GOING TILL YOU FIND ONE THAT FITS
Mindfullness meditation, mantra meditation, yoga meditation, visualizations… There are so many different kinds to choose from that surely one will fit into your lifestyle. We all have quirks and things that set us off, or light us up. The great thing about meditation is that there is a style for everyone. Personally, I browse through the guided meditations on YouTube and find ones that are made for whatever I feel I need help with- morning energy, anxiety, worry, stress, etc.
Read: Simple Things You can do Every Day to Make Yourself Smarter
6. YOU HAVE THE TIME
Time is something we all want more of, and think we have too little of. You may think that you are too busy to add a practice of basically doing nothing to your daily routine, but Shojai believes that meditation can improve your relationship to time. He specifically mentions two ways: meditation is restorative to the nervous system, so it can improve your energy which allows you to tackle your daily tasks easier. It can also improve your ability to focus, which will make you more efficient with the time you allow for yourself.
“When I hear I don’t have enough time I’m actually hearing I don’t have enough energy,” says Shojai. “If you can be more efficient and more powerful with the time you’re given then you can use time as your ally.”
7. THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION ARE RECEIVED IMMEDIATELY
A lot of people incorrectly believe that you need to spend years meditating in order to receive the benefits from it. Because of this, they become discouraged and believe they will not experience any positive results for a long time. This is not the case. There have been studies done that show there are beneficial results on the body and mind after just 1 -2 weeks of regular meditation. One study by Harvard University found that in as little as 8 weeks of regular meditation, there was visible growth in certain areas of the participant’s brains. Those areas were associated with empathy, memory, and even stress regulation.
So as you can see, there are many, many benefits to this practice, and it is easier than you think. You can do it, and you have the time.