Recently I’ve been trying a lot of new things. One of which is meditation. Previously the word ‘meditation’ was enough to put me off from doing it. When I thought of meditation, a long haired hermit yogi, sitting alone with one arm raised up in the air for the past 20 years came to mind (seriously).
I thought it was all a hippy type ‘save the trees’ sort of thing. I was actually laughing to myself the other day about the changes that have happened to me in the course of a year. I meditate, stopped eating meat (as hard as it is), grow bonsai trees and previously had long hair (although I cut it last week due to the heat wave in the UK) figure that one out!
I couldn’t really understand the reasoning behind meditation. Although the more I read the more I heard the amazing benefits of meditation. So I decided to give it a shot. It’s been around 4 months now and I meditate every single day without fail in the morning when I wake up and in the evening when I go to bed. If I miss a day I feel… well I can’t really describe it.
My best attempt to describe missing meditation is that it feels similar to not checking my phone for a long time to see the missed calls and any important messages I’ve received. I feel as though my day goes not as well as it could and I don’t feel on a ‘high’ like I do when I mediate in the morning. I find missing mediation also gives me less toleration and I get impatient quickly.
I just feel ‘out of sync’ with myself. Strangely enough this is how I felt the whole time before I started meditating, but I thought that was normal so I was none the wise to it. Well it turns out it wasn’t normal. It’s just how I let myself become by not being aware of my thoughts and feelings throughout the day.
There are certain things that I can say every human being should do. And after trying meditation, it tops that list. There is one mind blowing study that I came across;
Meditation vs Murder, An Awesome Experiment!
In the summer of 1993 in the city of Washington USA a carefully controlled 2 month scientific experiment was performed; led by John Hagelin a renowned quantum physicist.
Hagelin and his researchers wanted to show how easy and simple it is to reduce crime and social stress by using meditation to intervene from the field of consciousness. Scientists and researchers got together a large group of experienced mediators in the city of Washington during these two months to perform a large scale group meditation in a field.
The group started off with 800 mediators and the scientists gradually increased the group size to 4,000 by the end of the experiment. The researchers and scientists predicted they could get the crime rate to drop by a whopping 20% without any verbal or physical intervention, during the two month summer experiment.
Needless to say the police department ridiculed the experiment and the police chief actually went on record to assert that the only event that would reduce crime that much in Washington during the summer months would be “20 inches of snow”.
Washington experienced a 23.3% drop in violent crime during the experiment! Without ‘20 inches of snow.’ Furthermore soon after the study, as the researchers predicted, the crime rate began to rise again. On top of that, when the previous 5 year crime rate stats were checked, they found that this 20% decrease during the two month time period was a one of phenomena!
Crazy right? I was mind boggled. I later found out these experiments were carried out many times across different countries in the world with the same results; a drop in crime rates. Meditation lets off positive vibrational energy that is not just beneficial to you, but also to the environment around you.
Here are 7 awesome reasons why you should try meditation;
1) The Express Highway to Achieving Your Goals!
All the successful people in the world from world-class athletes, managers and performers, when tested, have all shown high levels of what’s called ‘brain integration.’ This means that their brains are wired with strong connections between the different areas, they have heightened attention, and they’re able to think quickly to deal with problems.
U.S. neuroscientist Dr. Fred Travis noted that this is the key to the successful individual because it’s the fire starter behind the creativity that leads to success.
And guess what? A study from Harvard Medical School demonstrated that meditation causes changes in brain waves that actually improve the brain’s functionality i.e. brain integration.
Research by research by J. Schooler showed that meditation increased the ability to multitask and think outside the box!
Imagine the ability to have improved heightened attention, quicker thinking, deal with problems more effectively and to think outside the box? I think you’ll agree they’re some of the abilities we can never have enough of!
2) Kicking Stress, Depression and Anxieties Ass!
When we relax our bodies and minds during exposure to stressful situations of life we naturally centre ourselves.
Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital experiments showed that meditation caused a ‘relaxation response.’ This is the opposite to the human stress response of fight or flight.
Studies from the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that the relaxation response alleviates anxiety and also has positive effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and brain activity.
This study describes the effects of an 8-week course in Mindfulness Meditation on anxiety and depression symptoms. The experiment was carried out on a group of individuals that had a lifetime of mood disorders. The experiment concluded;
“Overall, the results suggest that mindfulness meditation practice primarily leads to decreases in ruminative thinking, even after controlling for reductions in affective symptoms and dysfunctional beliefs.”
There will always be ‘potential’ stressful situations in life, but how we eternalise and deal with them determines if we perceive them as stressful or not.
3) An Ever Lasting Supply of the Chill Pill!
When we meditate we gain control. Miiind control (*eirre music plays) … like Dr Xavier from Xmen (don’t start walking around trying to read people’s minds, I was only joking).
We gain control of our own rebellious wondering mind and thoughts. This is a great skill to acquire.
This is because by gaining control we can choose that we think about on a regular basis and decided to cast away the limiting, negative thoughts that we tend to experience from time to time.
A Harvard study identified mind wondering to negative thoughts as being linked to unhappiness.
Furthermore, Madhav Goyal, who led a study by Johns Hopkins researchers, said that with daily meditation for depression;
“We found a roughly 10 to 20 percent improvement in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo groups. This is similar to the effects of antidepressants in similar populations.”
4) Boost in Social Life!
Meditation helps you focus on the moment, not worrying about the million unimportant things that are going on. With a greater ability to focus we become greater listeners.
Sometimes our minds can drift when people are talking to us. As much as we try to pretend we are listening, others can sense if we really are. Meditation gives us a greater ability to stay in the moment when others are talking to us and everybody likes a listener!
- L. Fredrickson’s (1998, 2001) ‘broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions’ shows positive results from a field test that meditation increases social connection & emotional intelligence. The experiment concluded;
“Results showed that this meditation practice produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.”
5) Makes you Wise!
When you meditate you gain perspective. By observing your mind, you understand it. You realize you don’t have to be slave to it. Our minds throw tantrums, get grumpy, jealous, happy, sad and everything in-between.
We do not have to let that flow out into our experience. We can control what we think therefore we can control how we feel. Meditation is like our own computer antivirus software.
When we meditate we are able to run virus scans on our central computer (our mind) and decided if we’ve been affected with trojans and all other crappy viruses which is akin to negative feelings and limiting thoughts. We can then wipe that sucker clean. This makes us feel clearer and have a greater perspective on our life and situations.
There are so many benefits to meditation with proven studies that it is seriously surprising that some people don’t try it (I was one). I have found many great benefits of meditation and it has turned into one of my favourite things to do. There are many ways to meditate; you have to find a technique that suits you best. 5-10mins a day is fine for someone starting out.
3 Reasons People Give Up on Meditation After the First Few Times;
1) They Expect too Much too Soon.
You mind is like a muscle. You have to train it and use it to make it stronger. Meditation can and will give excellent results but some people expect things to happen with their first day of trying meditation.
That’s like going to the gym for one day in your life and expecting epic results. You probably will find that it takes a few weeks to really get into the swing of meditation as I did. Learning to control your body and mind is a skill that needs to be worked on.
2) They Rush
Some people tend to rush their meditation because they feel like they are wasting too much time. When you rush something you don’t get it done properly.
Rushing means you have other things on your mind and defies the objective of meditation. You need to relax and let go of all things when meditating.
3) They Try too Hard
Some people want the effects of meditation so bad that they actually try too hard. By worrying and trying too hard you block your mind with negative thoughts. The key is relaxation of mind and body. This can be extremely difficult for some people at first, but it is well worth the time!
I took me a while to get into meditation and understand my mind. Our thoughts wonder around and check in and out. The key is to detach yourself from them, and if you find you get carried away and lost in the thought, don’t beat yourself up over it. It happens all the time. Just simply redirect your mind off them and back to your concentration point. Which leads me on to…
2 Helpful Meditation Tip’s:
1) One good way to get the hang of meditation is to concentrate on your breathing. When your thoughts wonder, divert your attention back to your breathing.
2) A huge key to meditation that helped me improve dramatically is letting your body completely relax. When you keep your body still, relax all your muscles and release tension I have found that your mind automatically follows.
So there are 5 awesome reasons why you should try meditation! Give it a try, the results are seriously worth the time and effort.
Do you meditate? If you do what techniques do you use? You can let me know in the comments section. If you know anyone that will find this useful, please share the post by using the social media buttons at the bottom or on the top left, Thanks!