If it is good enough for Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, and Kobe Bryant, then it is good enough for all of us. Aside from being prolific and successful in their respective fields, these three have something even more admirable. A deep connection to who they are. How did they get it?? Meditation.
is an ancient tradition practiced by different cultures throughout history. Make no mistake, though. Meditation isn’t just for monks living on tranquil mountains and religious leaders with no daily grind. Meditation was and still is, the cornerstone of my personal transformation from a head-spinning control freak to a… well, a more centered and open version of my former nutjob self. I still have a nutty texture but it has certainly mellowed now that my day starts with this ritual.
With a little commitment, a few frustrated “this isn’t working”
moments and a lot of persistence, meditation will absolutely transform your life. If you are not sold, here are four of the benefits of meditation:
We live in a world that constantly bombards us with information. Dr. Google is the best and worst thing that happened to us! This makes it necessary for us to improve our focus and drown out the white noise so we can process the things we see in social media, the news and even our day to day lives. In short, meditation can help us cut the SH#T!
Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, conducted a study that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification compared to those who do not meditate. You may be asking WTF is gyrification?? Sounds like a dirty dance move you’d pull out under a strobe light, right? Nope. It is a process in the cortex believed to be responsible for boosting the brain’s capacity to process information, make decisions and form memories. Pretty important stuff really.
Labeled by the World Health Organisation as a “worldwide epidemic,” stress is the catalyst for many serious health issues such as cardiovascular health conditions, sleeping problems and it weakens the immune system. Not to mention the nasty wrinkles and bodyweight problems it causes.
However, it’s not stress that is the problem. Stress is natural, it is how we manage stress that creates our health dramas. Meditation is one of the ways to effectively manage stress. By meditating, we let ourselves take control of (by observing) our own emotions and address any negative thought processes that may be aggravating our stress. Even 20 minutes of meditation can help us think deeply about the best ways to respond to our current problems.
Improves Compassion and Emotional Health
Meditation will not only benefit you internally, but it will make you a nicer person to be around. No one ever complained about being liked, right! A study published by the American Psychological Association found that participants who performed even a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation improved the way they connected socially with other people.
Furthermore, the book “Wise Mind, Open Mind” by psychotherapist Ron Alexander also describes how meditation allows people to improve their mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence. Having good health encompasses our emotional well-being just as much as our physical health.
So far we’ve looked at the benefits of inner zen and popularity, but how good is it when this practise also improves your professional life as well. A study conducted by the University of Washington and University of Arizona revealed that participants who went through 8 weeks of training in either mindfulness meditation or body relaxation techniques performed better in a difficult multitasking task compared to when they did not do the meditative exercises.
After practicing meditation, the participants reported lower stress levels and also had a better memory. They were also able to focus better on their tasks. So instead of rushing on through your day when you have a jam-packed schedule, take time to zone out. The few minutes you spend in quiet reflection could give you many hours of productivity back.
I do not care how busy my schedule is, my day will always have at least 10 minutes of meditation in it. The busier I am, the more important this time becomes to me. I promise, it is the answer you have been looking for. Give it a go.