When was the last time you sat down and did nothing?
It’s a crazy concept to think in a world that’s always moving. Everywhere you look it seems we’re focused on the future and we don’t take the time to relax. But if you want stillness and to feel a sense of ease, does meditating work? Is meditation a waste of time?
The first time I tried meditation was in 2016 at a yoga class. At the end of the yoga session, the instructor closed the class with a meditation and I felt everyone relax and breathe together. I loved it so much I wanted to incorporate a meditation practice every morning just to see if it would make a difference in my day-to-day.
After a few weeks of deep breathing and mantras, I started to realize a difference in the way I looked at the world around me. But I still had this lingering question in the back of my mind: Does meditation actually work or it is just a waste of time?
Is sitting down and doing nothing really make a difference in the way we see the world or was this all just a fad?
The simple but effective properties of meditation sounded too good to be true. I wanted to know more about how this practice can work in our everyday wellness and how after so many years it’s still being used today.
So, what’s meditation?
Meditation is the practice of training the mind in becoming aware. It’s a mental technique that allows us to be intuned with our emotions as well as help us feel more grounded. And it’s a practice that’s been happening for years.
In a research study done by Psychology Today, “archaeologists discovered evidence of meditation in wall art dating from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE”. Meditation is used in various religions from Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.
As the wellness industry continues to skyrocket in popular culture, we see the number of people incorporating meditation in their wellness practice grow. With mindfulness apps like Headspace and Calm, this ancient method is more available to humans being now more than ever before.
And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, but how does meditation actually our state of wellness?
Meditation can change habits and brain patterns.
From the moment we wake up, our brain is on and downloading everything around us. So what ends up happening when we feel our brain going off the rails?
We become tired, anxious, nervous. We think about the negatives, worry about our future, or try to control everything. A daily meditative practice can change that.
In a 2012 study, researchers found how the amygdala in our brain changed in how we respond to our flight or fight response after eight weeks of meditative practice. Another study showcased how meditation can help lead to “emotional stability by promoting acceptance of emotional states”.
In other words, by simply sitting down and calming the mind, you are rewiring your brain to become more compassionate and present.
Meditation eases anxiety and depression.
Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of Headspace, said in his recent Netflix special: “It’s so easy to feel trapped or even imprisoned by our own thoughts, our self-imposed boundaries, and limitations. But meditation offers us the possibility to let it all go. To find the courage to step out with a free and spacious mind in every area of life.”
Depression and anxiety is a mental illness and the mind can be its own worst enemy. With meditation, you can begin to ease your anxiety and calm down the negative thought patterns. Once you have that awareness, you can reset your thought pattern and create a new story to tell yourself.
In a world that is constantly on the go, it’s important for you to remember to take care of yourself. Make the time to sit down and do nothing; to catch up with yourself and see how you’re doing. You’re important and you need to be taken care of. Who better to take care of yourself than the person who knows you best – you?
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Til next time,