How Does Meditation Work?
Meditation is a technique that entails resting the mind to achieve a certain level of consciousness, which helps calm your mind and stabilises your thoughts.
In the process of meditation, you get to fathom all levels of yourself while also experiencing the consciousness within you. Meditation is not a form of religion, but instead, a science that follows a specific order with definite principles and verifiable results.
Let’s face it; we are living in unprecedented times where stress and pressure dominate our daily lifestyles. As a result, we are constantly looking for something that would offer comfort and make us happy.
The problem is that most people seek for happiness in the wrong places forgetting that true happiness only comes if one has a clarity of thoughts and is happy from the inside.
One of the ways to lead a happy life is by incorporating meditation into your lifestyle.
As you meditate, you should ensure that your body is relaxed, and your mind is clear and inwardly focused. In that process, you are awake and alert, but your mind should not focus on the events happening around you. Instead, focus on remaining in an inner state and allow your mind to be silent. As soon as your mind is calm and you are not distracted, meditation deepens.
What Are The Benefits?
Out of the many perks that meditation offers, a few are listed below:
1) Helps in the Management of Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression issues, you should consider mindfulness meditation as it’ll help you feel calm and relaxed. In 2014, a study was conducted to evaluate 47 mindfulness trials in a subject group of 3515 participants. The results of the study showed that meditation helps to relieve signs of anxiety and depression. The subjects who engaged in meditation had lower levels of the stress hormone called cortisol.
If you are meditating, you gradually learn to calm your mind so that you are not overwhelmed by strong emotions. Therefore, every time you find yourself in a stressful environment or situation, you can calm your mind and achieve balance.
2) Enhances Self Awareness
Meditation helps you to understand yourself better so that you can be your best self. If you engage in self-inquiry meditation, for example, you get to understand your perceptions and beliefs regarding different life aspects and how you can improve your relations with people around you.
If you are used to having self-defeating thoughts, you can also engage in meditation to help you take control of your thought habits and develop constructive patterns. As a result, you get to think of ideas that add value to your life.
A research conducted on 40 older adults and women found that when they engaged in mindfulness meditation, their feelings of loneliness significantly reduced when compared to a control group that was awaiting admission into the meditation program. That is because meditation helped them to stop having negative feelings, and instead, focus on positive aspects of their lives.
3) Helps to Improve Relationships
If you’re going through issues in your relationship or you have problems relating with people, meditation can solve your problems. For a start, meditation helps you to develop empathy so that you’re not always thinking about yourself. Instead, you get to understand the thoughts, feelings, and emotional state of the people around you. This means that you won’t be in regular conflicts with your partner since you understand them better.
Again, since you also understand yourself better, you’ll know the things that you do that annoy or rub your spouse in the wrong way. You can therefore choose to avoid those behaviours or talk to your partner about them so that they also understand you. The result is that you will have a happy relationship.
4) Reduces Memory Loss
As you grow old, your brain becomes slow and this may lead to frequent memory lapses. The good thing is that regular meditation can help to improve your clarity of thinking and attentiveness, thus keeping your mind young.
One of the methods of meditation that helps to improve memory is Kirtan Kriya (kundalini yoga) as it combines a chant with the repetitive movement of fingers to keep your thoughts focused. Several studies of memory loss have shown that people who engage in Kirtan Kriya meditation have improved ability to perform memory roles. Other studies have also shown that older people who meditate can concentrate on a task for an extended period without losing attention.
5) Helps to Fight Addictions
In most cases, addicts want to quit their addiction, but they’re unable to break their dependencies. Regular meditations help to boost your self-control while also making you aware of the triggers that lead to addictive behaviours.
A study conducted on recovering alcoholics showed that when they were exposed to meditation, their ability to control their craving for alcohol improved drastically.
Typically, addictions are manifested in the form of negative behaviours such as excessive alcoholism or drug and substance abuse. They could also entail normal cravings that people have, such as food craving or coffee craving. However, any product can be harmful to the body if it’s consumed excessively.
6) Helps to Relieve Symptoms of IBS
Research indicates that about 25 to 45 million Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. Globally, 15% of the world’s population is also suffering from IBS.
IBS is a condition that is characterised by abdominal pains, bloating, altered bowel behaviour, and cramps. The exact cause of this condition has not been established yet. Still, daily relaxing meditation has been found to cure symptoms of IBS. This was confirmed after numerous studies by researchers at The State University of New York. They even went further to declare meditation as the best option for managing IBS.
My Own Method For Meditation
Getting into a deep meditative state for many people is a problem as they cannot quiet their mind. However, this is nothing to concern about as everyone has the same problem starting out. The main thing is not to worry or think about it as that will make it worse as you put more attention on it, remember, energy goes where attention flows.
My favourite method to meditiate is one I learned from Esther Hicks a few years back and is easy to follow.
- Get a quite place that you will not be disturbed for at least 15 – 20 minutes
- Close your eyes and relax your body, you can give mental commands to do this
- Take a deep breath in for 3 seconds and hold it a second and then release exhaling for 5 seconds and hold
- Repeat this process holding and extending the gap between breathing for at least 8 – 10 times and you will very quickly get into that deep meditative state.
- Your mind will continue with the chatter in the background and that’s ok. I acknowledge the chatter mentally and I tell it that I will get to it later and ask it to leave for now.
- Continue doing this until your mind stops the chatter and reach for the stillness in your mind of peace and tranquillity.
- If you have a question I would mentally ask it then
- Sit and enjoy the blissful feeling for as long as you can hold it.
- Notice any thoughts or impulses you may get either during the meditiation or afterwards and act upon them
While this type of meditation may be for everyone it works for me and that is all that matters, as there is no right or wrong way to do this, it is what works for you.
If you’re aiming to improve your mental and emotional health, meditation is one of the best ways to achieve that. The good thing with meditation is that you can do it from anywhere and you don’t even need special equipment. It is recommendable that you assess different meditation styles to ascertain which one suits your goals. For best results, it is also advisable that you make meditation a daily routine, even if it means doing it just for a few minutes.