Benefits of Meditation
While I have found that sitting down with a good book is a fantastic way to keep my mind at rest from over analyzing everything going on in my life. I like to call the voices
in my head ‘the committee’. I also have been practicing meditation for about 4 years now. It has worked wonders for my mind and spirit. I feel many people have heard of meditation and have their own idea of what it looks like, but don’t realize how easy it is to start and practice. Meditation is basically sitting somewhere quiet and practicing keeping any thoughts from crossing your mind while focusing on your breathing. It sounds easy but for those that have never tried, keeping your mind quiet is astonishingly difficult. I began meditation when I went to my first drug/alcohol treatment center that was actually dual-diagnosis, which treated body and mind. It has taken me years to obtain a certain level of peace in my mind. It is very worth it, here are some benefits to meditation.
There is so much chatter going through our heads throughout the day that it is sometimes very hard to pick out what is really giving us anxiety or stress on some days. By sitting down and getting still in the morning, nighttime, or even both, we can really take a look at our thoughts and single out what has been providing us some issues. Getting quiet can also make us aware of the things we like about ourselves, positive affirmations, that could really improve our overall mood.
When you go into meditation, whether you are new at it or a veteran of something like Tibetan Tummo Meditation, you are slowing down many systems in your body. Along with your mind you are slowing down your breathing (want to take deep breaths), lowering your blood pressure and slowing down any obsession that may have jumped into your mind recently. Dr. Herbert Benson coined the phrase ‘The Relaxation Response’ when talking about how our body responds to meditation. After doing research, he claims that meditation encourages your body to release chemicals and brain signals that make your muscles and organs slow down and increase blood flow to the brain.
I don’t know about anyone else, but my mind is loudest when I am trying to go to bed. No
matter how tired I am once I lay my head down my mind starts to worry about every problem i’ve ever had and it takes me about an hour to sleep usually. I found an incredible remedy to this problem, if I get still even just for a few minutes before bedtime and practice focusing on my breathing while trying to keep my mind from any thoughts, then my mind is much clearer when I lay my head down on the pillow. It has helped more than anything else I have ever tried for sleep. This is why practicing meditation during morning and night is so beneficial.
If you are feeling overwhelmed about starting meditation or it seems like something you could never accomplish, that’s okay. This is something that takes a lot of practice and consistency, I hope at least that I have convinced somebody to start trying it out, it is completely worth it. Our minds deserve a break every now and then too.
Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery from South Florida. He enjoys promoting mindfulness and other spiritual practices in order to achieve peace of mind.