Ohmmm … my god. This is boring, and such it’s a waste of time. If this is your thinking when you’re trying to meditate because you read online about its benefits, you’re not alone. I’m sure that many yogis and masters of meditation have gone through this exact feeling. Whether you’re a life coach, empowerment coach, or just on a journey to be more self-aware, meditation will help you to reach a state of flow (aka: optimal experience).
The term “meditation” is understood differently throughout every culture, religion, and race. It’s diverse in definition but one common ground is this: You’ll find a sense of delight and stillness.
“Meditation is not an instructor. Meditation is like ointment for suffering man. It’s a warm, soothing lotion that heals the soul.” – Ryan Holiday
Call me crazy but, when you have found that place of serenity and pure blissful joy within, the skies suddenly seem like an azure blue that you’ve never witnessed before; the greenery around causes you to experience a unique rejuvenation; the wind seems to blow through your hair, not flip it all over your face.
The Benefits of Meditation
Sitting there doing pretty much nothing is not as easy as it sounds. But the benefits are profoundly worth-it.
A few measurable health benefits from meditation are:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves blood circulation
- Promotes blood flow to the prefrontal cortex
- Reduces pain
- Alleviates Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Promotes better sleep quality and prevents insomnia
I mentioned promoting blood flow to the prefrontal cortex earlier – let me explain how that affects your daily life.
The prefrontal cortex is the one orchestrating your executive functions such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, and self-control.
Optimizing your executive functions can lead to better attention span (not like a goldfish), organization and planning skills, initiating tasks and staying focused, regulating your emotions, and keeping track of what you’re doing.
Example: Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is an amazing example of having the power of meditation. Known for his ability to think out of the box to solve problems, scientists who literally took his brain to study it noted that it had a link or strong communication between his left and right brain – this is the effect of meditation and a phenomenon called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is a theory that is best explained using the analogy of computers. Yep, something like the latest MacBook. Our brain is a complex program which constantly reprograms by itself, on its own. It is the malleability of our neural circuits which works together with neurogenesis (birth of new neurons) to reshape the way we think, remember, and behave.
Meditation, Brain, and Sleep
Meditation has a positive effect on another part of the brain called the amygdala. This results in feeling happier (thank you dopamine and endorphin), and lowers our fight versus flight stress response.
Less Stress = Ability to Think Clearer
Solitude and relaxation of the mind helps to unlock your creative potential and helps you solve problems with a whole different angle and perspective with the power of meditation.
How to Start Meditating in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: Find an optimal place
The environment plays a huge factor in the effectiveness of your meditation. Find a place that is quiet with minimal distractions, somewhere that you feel safe and comfortable.
Step 2: Position
You can either choose to sit (but don’t slouch), lie on your back, kneel, float … okay, maybe not float. That’ll be creepy.
As long as you know you won’t have to fidget every five minutes – it’s fine. Then close your eyes.
Step 3: Breathe Deep and Slow
Inhale through your nose and exhale from your mouth. Take deep, slow, and long breaths.
Step 4: Focus and Visualize
There are a few options for this. You can either focus on your breathing (air feels cooler when you breathe in and warmer when you breathe out), a word, a short phrase, your ‘ohms’, or a vivid mental scenery.
Step 5: Don’t Resist
At some point, you’ll start to have thoughts randomly bombarding you. Just let them happen. They’ll go in a while. Focus on nothing but whatever focal point you’ve chosen (step 4).
Try and test it out yourself! We all have a long list of problems and stressing thoughts – some of those we’re not even conscious about. Meditation helps you to realize these problems, pin-point them, and come up with creative solutions you never knew you’d conjure.
Jamie is a B2C health copywriter and health enthusiast with a background in nutrition, health, and wellness, helping health businesses accelerate in leads and sales.