Meditation umm you serious? I’m not a hippy and I’m not an alternative medicine guy at all. So when I first came across the topic of meditation, like Soulja Boy or Kim Kardashian’s marriage, I questioned its legitimacy. It didn’t help that sitting in one spot, quietly, concentrating on a single point (or not thinking anything at all depending on the type of meditation) for 10 – 15 not moving is completely against my personality. However after repeatedly hearing meditation success stories on different podcasts and reading an Eckart Tolle book (which is on point, two thumbs up) I decided to give it a try.
What was I gonna loose other than a couple minutes a day?
After a self imposed, two week trial period of consistent meditation I became a believer. In my opinion, meditation is a cornerstone for introspective and spiritual growth / development. Meditation does so much more then just that and scientific studies are showing just that. Below are four benefits of meditation for anyone wondering just what the buzz is about meditation.
Improved focused & concentration
Meditating has been shown to improve concentration and focus in numerous academic studies. As our knowledge of the brain & technology improves, scholars are continuously more positive impacts meditation has on increasing focus and concentration. Meditation offers a significantly cheaper & healthier alternative to medical treatments addressing a lack of focus. Studies are also showing meditation helps reduce symptoms related to ADD & ADHD.
In one study done by the Compuware Corporation they found participating employees who meditated at least five times a week 15 – 20 minutes per session were happier then the employees who did not participate. Participants also recorded experiencing a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in a feeling of purpose for their own lives.
“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, decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.”
Helps to Control emotions
I started meditating during a particularly emotionally stressful time in my life. I begun around the same time my grandmother got sick with Pneumonia. Grandma’s sickness and eventual death was a particularly hard time for myself and my family as we watched the patriarch of our family’s life force dim and eventually go out right in front of our eyes. Meditation was key during this period as I felt a variety of new unknown emotions from a profound sadness, to a mind that quite simply could not turn itself off to name a few things. Meditation gave me the strength to quiet my mind in a time when things were emotionally raw and be able to prioritize things and help myself & family move forward.
In a sutdy done by Leiden University they concluded mindful meditation can help increase creativity. Meditation was found to increase the frequency of divergent thoughts, a thought process related to creative thoughts. This applies to those who are both starting the practice of meditation and those who have been participating.
As technology and methods in the study of brain waves and thought monitoring improves scientists are finding more and more benefits of meditation. As a person who has been meditating for almost a year I am a firm believer in its positive mental and physical benefits. Yes I said physical. Stay tuned for part 2 in this mini series as I look at some of the many more benefits meditation brings. For more information on how to start practicing meditation check out this great article.