Since we were children, we have been taught the importance of physical hygiene. Yet, here in the West, the majority of us weren’t taught good mental hygiene. Meditation is a type of hygiene for our mind. Our unwanted thoughts, feelings, and emotions (such as anger, greed, anxiety, jealousy, etc) cloud our minds. When these thoughts and feelings stir up our minds, we tend to make poor decisions, succumb to negative emotions, thus bringing ourselves difficulty and unhappiness. With meditation, we observe the unwanted thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment and eventually, we may be able to isolate, understand, and resolve them. With meditation, we strive to obtain stillness and clarity EVEN when our circumstances, or people, attempt to “stir” our mind. The mind becomes free from attachments, emotional reactivity, and desires, and instead has an evenness of temper especially in difficult situations. Practicing meditation can relax our bodies and calm our minds, thus improving our lives.
There are both Psychological and Physiological benefits of meditation.
Some Psychological Benefits are:
Greater happiness and peace of mind
Ability to be more present in the moment
Less emotional reactivity
More loving and pleasant relationships
More empathy for others
Enhanced self-actualization and self-appreciation
Reduction in anxiety and brain chatter
Some Physiological Benefits are:
Decrease in heart rate
Lower blood pressure
Increase in the longevity of life
Increase in muscle relaxation
There have been several studies conducted on the effects of meditation and the brain. The studies show positive growth within the regions of the brain that deal with self-regulation, resilience, memory, attention, stress management, and empathy with a regular, daily meditation practice. Plus, there is evidence that the amygdala, the region of the brain that deals with the fight or flight response, actually shrinks with a regular mediation practice.
Meditation is for anyone who wants to be more present in their life, to have more steadiness and calmness of mind within the daily challenges of their life, and to feel more connectedness with people and the world. So, the bottom line is, mediation is for everyone!