I never really believed the hype about meditation being the Holy Grail of inner peace and calm, overflowing happiness and joy, oodles of energy and aliveness…
All those beautiful emotional states we want more of in our lives.
Until I tried it. For real this time. Twenty minutes a day, for 7 days, marked with a satisfying ‘X’ on my wall calendar.
I was converted!
Now I’ve been meditating for the better half of two years, it feels like time has slowed down and my senses are sharper.
A single day feels full to the brim with simple joys, beautiful moments, moving experiences, colour and brightness. It’s like the dust of groundhog-day-living has been brushed off my heart and mind.
If you’re sitting on the fence and need a little nudge over into action-town, here are 10 ways meditation (or mindfulness) can bring more happiness, health and wellbeing into your life.
1. Restful Sleep
Meditation can help you let go of those circling thoughts that keep you from drifting off at night. You’re also more likely to have deeper, more refreshing sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling energised.
2. Sharper Memory
Studies have shown meditation can improve your memory. This is particularly important in our digital world, where our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter (it’s a fact!).
3. Flowing Creativity
Meditation can help you awaken the creative parts of your brain (yep, even you non-creative types). Studies have shown that meditation can enhance your ability to come up with creative ideas.
4. Less Anxiety
Meditation can reduce your anxiety levels. Studies have shown it actually re-wires your brain so that the neural pathways responsible for fear and anxious thoughts are weakened. Take that, inner worrier!
5. Kindness to Others
This is one of the most amazing benefits of meditation – it can make you kinder and open your heart. Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly are more empathetic and compassionate towards other people. What a beautiful gift to the world.
6. A Healthier Body
Meditation is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. Studies have shown it can turn on genes that protect you from pain, high blood pressure and infertility, among other benefits.
7. Less Stress
Feeling overwhelmed by a crazy week? Meditation can help you stay calm and centred during challenging situations, and relax after the storm has passed.
8. Mental Clarity
Meditation has been linked to better focus, concentration and attention to detail. Studies have shown that it can re-wire your brain to strengthen the parts associated with attention and sensory processing.
9. Immunity Booster
Drinking green smoothies and going for beach runs, but still catching the winter flu? Meditation has been shown to boost your immune system, increasing your chances of staying well.
10. Greater Happiness
Meditation can increase your levels of feel-good chemicals, like endorphins and serotonin. Studies also indicate it may increase your capacity for happiness and reduce your propensity towards negativity.
There’s only one way to see if meditation has a similar positive effect on your life. Try it!
Set yourself a 7-day meditation challenge. Ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night. Use a calendar to mark down the days.
You’ve got nothing to lose – twenty minutes a day (or even ten) is not much to ask from a big juicy 24 hours. You’ll also be following in the footsteps of Oprah and Lena Dunham.
And if you don’t find it helpful, well, at least you had the courage to give it a go. And that’s what true living is all about.