Meditation is practiced by millions around the world and is endorsed by everyone from doctors to professional sports teams as a way of dealing with stress and improving health. However, many people are confused about what meditation is.
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Plenty of books attempt to explain the process, but few really break it down into layman’s terms. If you’re interested in learning more about what meditation is and how you can use it to improve your life, read on for great tips on this ancient art form.
In this post you'll find:
- What is Meditation?
- What’s the Difference Between Meditation and Mindfulness?
- Why Should You Practice Meditation?
- 4 Reasons to Practice Meditating Every Day
What is Meditation?
Meditation is simply the act of sitting quietly for a period of time and focusing on your breathing. It is intended to help people become aware of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions as well as other things they may be experiencing at that moment.
Meditation is not just an art form; it’s been around for centuries as a way to reach higher levels of consciousness through clearing the mind and improving focus. It has also been shown to have physical benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing stress hormone levels.
What’s the Difference Between Meditation and Mindfulness?
Many people confuse mindfulness with meditation, but there are some key differences between these two terms.
Mindfulness involves bringing attention to what you’re thinking and feeling in your surroundings. This process is not sitting down with eyes closed, but rather it involves going through the world around you and being aware of what’s happening to you physically and mentally, in the present moment.
When people are mindful, they try to accept things as they are, instead of analyzing them over and over again or attempting to change them.
Mindfulness is useful for dealing with negative thoughts that pop up throughout the day. If you’re feeling anxious about something or a certain event has made you really angry, mindfulness can help you stay calm instead of dwelling on the negative feelings. Meditation involves taking time each day when you sit quietly with your eyes closed and attempt to notice what’s different about how your body feels during this time period compared to everything else going on in your life.
It’s not about thinking constantly about different things, but rather it’s about bringing full attention to the present moment. In other words, when you’re meditating, you should be totally focused on what’s happening in your body and mind at that time.
Naturally, meditation is a great way for people to relax and enjoy the sensation of breathing in and out as well as focusing their attention away from all of the stuff they have going on during the day-to-day grind of modern living.
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Why Should You Practice Meditation?
Meditation has a number of benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety while improving mental clarity and focus, but it also comes with some physical perks as well. For example, there have been studies that show meditation boosts the immune system and lowers blood pressure.
It can also help improve sleep patterns for people who are having trouble falling asleep at night.
4 Reasons to Practice Meditating Every Day
Many people get frustrated when trying to meditate because they can’t get their minds to stop racing.
Here’s the thing. The moment you give up trying to quiet your mind, reach enlightenment and become one with the universe, is when your first meditation breakthrough can actually occur. When you give yourself permission to stop trying to halt your thoughts altogether and observe them instead, that’s when magical things start to happen.
Becoming the detached observer of your thoughts helps the monkey-mind begin to slow down and suddenly, you find that quiet space between those thoughts.
Whenever you give up fighting with something and artfully surrender, that’s when a real shift happens for the better.
So here are some benefits to sitting in silent meditation for just 10 minutes a day, that have nothing to do with peace, love or enlightenment:
1. Your obsessive thinking will subside.
When you take your mind to the “brain gym” every morning by meditating, you begin to become the master of your thoughts.
This translates to those evenings when you cannot sleep. If you are one to lay in bed at night with thoughts going around in your mind incessantly, strengthening the muscle of your mind can help quell those obsessive thoughts.
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2. You’ll respond mindfully, instead of reacting mindlessly.
If you are someone who reacts to life by flying off the handle and freaking out when things don’t work out the way you had envisioned, meditation can help. Creating space between your thoughts during meditation will cross over into your life by allowing you to pause and find that space again before reacting irrationally.
3. You will cultivate fearlessness.
Fearlessness is not the absence of fear but is the presence of bravery.
It takes a lot of guts to sit in silence every day. If you aren’t living your purpose or you’re in the wrong relationship and know it, when you get quiet and sit in meditation, it will all come up right smack in your face. Sitting with that takes serious courage, so you’ll begin to cultivate fearlessness to deal with what is not working in your life.
Meditation helps you accept life as it is, so you can then shift it to where you want it to be.
4. You can begin to manifest your dreams.
In order to manifest and create your ideal reality, you need to be crystal clear with who you are and what you want. Meditation gives you access to that clarity, which can, in turn, help you define what the next best steps on your path should be.
So maybe one day after meditating for years and years, you become enlightened and at one with the universe. But for now, quelling the crazy obsessive thinking, mastering your thoughts, responding instead of reacting, and getting the clarity you need to manifest the life of your dreams, are all good enough reasons for me!
Meditation can help you feel more relaxed, happy, and at ease with your life. If you’re someone who’s constantly worried about things in the future or angry about things that have happened in the past, then practicing this process on a regular basis could help you overcome these feelings.
If nothing else, taking time out of each day for meditation will definitely improve your quality of life. With so many great reasons to start meditating as well as more research showing physical benefits, it’s easy to see why it is a worthwhile practice that millions of people engage in every year.