In this obstreperous and fast paced life, it is hard to pay attention to all that lies beneath us: our feelings, understanding who we are, the role we play in our relationships and, most importantly, our health.
Although emotions and feelings like anger, stress and sorrow have become the norm for many, there is one way in which we can retrain our brains to feel and to react in a more positive manner: Meditation.
Just to get this out of the way: many people associate meditation with religion, but that is not necessarily true; the purpose of meditation is to examine or develop our behaviors, emotions and feelings through the retraining of our minds.
In a study by Dr. Sara Lazar from Harvard University, “The Impact of Yoga and Meditation on Brain Activity and Structure”, it was found that the groups that meditated during an 8-week period developed thickening in certain regions of their brain—the region that involves self-relevance, the region of cognition and emotional regulation and the area of empathy and compassion.
I guess science agrees that meditation is good for you!
So, how can meditation transform your life? Sitting back and reflecting on who you are or where you want to be can make a difference, and life may just become a little bit lighter because of it.
It is through the practice of meditation that healing, relaxation, well-being, self-awareness and a more conscious lifestyle begin. By embracing worries, fears, anger, any unwanted feelings and emotions and understanding your desires and purpose, you can create your own path for happiness.
Here are 5 ways in which meditation will change your life.
1. Become more focused
For many, meditation is about emptying the mind, but not quite. It is easier to focus on one thing and concentrate all our energy on that aspect or feeling rather than allow our minds to be all over the place. This is primarily a reflection of our busy lives.
By focusing on one thing at a time, one problem at a time, we can have more control over what is happening in our lives. We become more conscious and aware of our goals and, at the same time, have a more balanced life.
2. Develop healthy habits
One thing I keep taking about is “self-awareness”. I am not asking you to start judging yourself, but rather to start loving yourself more by kindly analyzing your habits and lifestyle. That way, it becomes easier to fix or change the things that you need to.
A good way to start is by looking at the habits that could harm you physically, and then look at the ones that harm your emotions; in this case it’s important to understand that you are in control. Negative emotions, negative feelings negative words and negative thoughts only limit your existence and block your path to transformation.
Finally, you really need to consider your thoughts. Every time I say this, I think of Buddha’s quote: “You are what you think”. Like emotions, learning to focus and concentrate on your thoughts, and switch from negative to positive thinking, is really important. Flush everything you don’t need or that does not serve you.
3. Overcome anxiety, stress, depression and anger
One of the greatest advantages of meditation is that it promotes relaxation, which means that it opens some space for reflection and self-examination. Anxiety, stress, depression and anger are some of the worst emotions that can deeply affect your mental health. These are also symptoms of an agitated and unbalanced mind.
The biggest problem when struggling with these emotions is that we are constantly fighting them. We are taught to be strong, to always be our best and to always look good, but rarely, are we taught to embrace our emotions, good or bad.
One of the reasons why I love meditation is because it teaches me how to embrace the good and not-so-good feelings. Once you reflect and observe yourself, it becomes easier for you to better understand your feelings and emotions. At the same time, it will help you to relax and to obtain that much needed inner peace.
4. Reality boost
Yes, we’ve all been there. It can be hard when we hear the truth about ourselves from others, but it can be even harder to admit that they may be right. Acceptance, I guess is one of the most difficult things to learn for many, whether it is accepting our bodies, our mistakes, our decisions, you name it, and the list goes on.
The biggest problem I find with accepting ourselves is that we create unrealistic expectations, and when these are not met, we suffer and have a hard time accepting the results.
While meditating, you can see yourself just as you are; you have the possibility to understand yourself better and to see the real you. At that moment, you see everything with clarity, so it is easier to change the things that affect your life, and it becomes easier to create changes that will improve it.
5. Find yourself
Besides the inner peace and calm you can obtain from meditation, you’ll be able to see yourself as you are—accept, understand and embrace who you are. The way you think, act and react will be clearer and will include a pinch of love.
And, in the end, your life will be filled with peace and harmony; you will have a deeper connection with yourself, what surrounds you and your relationships. If you are thinking of transforming your life, starting over or simply trying something new, then meditation is definitely for you.
Good luck in your new endeavors!