With summer here, it’s time to relax. To let yourself daydream. To take time off from your usual frantic schedule. To free yourself from the rigors of daily life and quiet your mind. Lack of structure used to be a feature of summer vacation, but we seem to be increasingly programmed. Maybe it’s time to recapture some of that quiet time through meditation. It turns out it’s good for you.
1) Harness the Power of Your Mind. Meditation can help you silence your monkey mind, so called because your brain constantly moves from one thought to another, like a monkey swinging on vines. When your brain is calm, you can concentrate better and increase your attention capabilities. Studies show your productivity improves. And your ability to learn and recall is better—you may even get better grades in school.
2) Reap the Benefits of Reduced Stress. Practice an experiment right now before you read the next paragraph. Breathe in. Breathe out. Deeply. Just that one mindful breath will calm you a bit. When you practice meditation and concentrate on your breathing, you will feel less stressed because you will actually BE less stressed. Meditation helps decrease the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When you reduce stress, many health benefits follow.
3) Build Your Body and Mind Awareness. When your brain is calm, you can begin to notice your own feelings and emotions, and then you are better equipped to control them. You can pay attention to changes in your body and take care of aches and pains before they become more serious. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, studies show meditation will decrease that suffering. And interestingly, your levels of empathy may increase. Further, those who meditate are more confident in themselves than those who don’t.
4) Dive Deep into Your Soul. Even though meditation is an important part of some religions, it is not necessary to be religious to meditate. But you may find your spirituality increases. When you quiet you mind, you may discover more knowledge of yourself and your life’s purpose. You may find an inner peace that inspires you and enriches your life’s journey.
There is a reason yogis have practiced meditation for centuries. There are clear benefits, many of which are now backed by scientific research. The key is to practice meditation consistently. Science shows you can literally change the way your brain functions. The result is you will experience life in a more balanced, holistic way.
Next week I’ll talk about how to meditate, and offer some techniques that will help you start and maintain your practice.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: http://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.