Meditation seems like a pretty simple practice (it’s kind of like doing nothing). But its benefits are so broad and impressive that I’d venture to say meditation will change your whole life.
This ancient practice benefits you physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually, and all of those layers blend and harmonize to create the wonderful being that you are. Meditation works on the whole person. Some would even say that meditation is the cure-all for most ailments.
Meditation helps you get in touch with yourself on a deep level so that you can detect imbalances in your well-being right away. This is wonderful for disease prevention and health maintenance.
1. Meditation soothes your nervous system
By activating the parasympathetic nervous system (a.k.a. the rest & digest response), meditation calms the body and soothes the nerves (1). This has amazing benefits for the physical body, including- lowered heart rate, reduced blood pressure, decreased stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol), decreased respiratory rate, improved digestion, boosted immunity, and increased lifespan. The parasympathetic nervous system basically helps your body and all its organs function at their best, keeping you healthy and energized.
When your nervous system is overactive and burnt out, you can’t eat, sleep, relax, think clearly, and you tend to get sick easily. So yeah… a calm nervous system is a GREAT benefit of meditation.
2. Meditation helps you lose weight
Meditation gets your mind and body deeply connected so they can communicate effectively. In essence, your mind becomes more in tune with your body and its needs. One of the biggest causes for weight gain is mindless eating (2). Through meditation, you can practice mindFUL eating where you really learn to honor body’s appetite and prevent yourself from over-eating. The more in touch your mind becomes with your body, the easier it is to stay healthy, eat right, and maintain or lose weight.
3. Meditation helps you sleep
As mentioned in #1, meditation really calms down the nervous system so your body can relax and fall asleep at night. In addition to relaxing your body for sleep, meditation also helps you deal with your racing mind that keeps you up at night with worries and thoughts. Meditation helps you train your mind to let thoughts go and find more tranquility and equanimity. That way, you can get a good night’s sleep.
4. Meditation makes you a happier, more peaceful person
There’s a reason why Buddha statues and figurines are always laughing or smiling: meditation makes you happy! By helping you process your thoughts, meditation gives you tools to release stress and negativity. Meditation really brings things into perspective by giving you time and space to look at the bigger picture and let stuff go. When you know how to pull back from your stressful life, clear your mind, and calm your emotions, you are a happier and more peaceful person.
5. Meditation makes you more productive
If you’re somebody who struggles with ADD and can never sit still, meditation is the most effective natural remedy to get you focused and productive.Meditation helps you stay in the present moment so that you can ignore distractions. This leads to greater productivity, focus, awareness, clarity, and better decision making.
There’s a famous quote about meditation that says:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
What this tells you is that there’s plenty of time to accomplish tasks when you’re able to slow down and stay present. Meditation helps us achieve this super-focused, productive state of mind where time seems to slow down.
6. Meditation makes you more inspired + creative!
This is where some of the more spiritual benefits of meditation come into play. There’s always a well of wisdom, guidance, and inspiration within us, but we’re usually too distracted with thoughts and worries to notice it. By calming and clearing the mind, meditation taps us into a deeper sense of well-being, hope, love, and inspiration that is innate in all of us.
Meditation also helps us clear out our mental chatter so we can be spontaneous and creative in the moment. A lot of times when you’re mentally searching for a solution, you get stuck and can’t seem to find it. But when you relax and let it go, the answer will often effortlessly flow to you. Meditation gives us this relaxed and open state where we can be more creative and open to exciting possibilities.
And finally… there’s one really surprising benefit of meditation that you may not be aware of…
7. Meditation shows you: YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND
Mind blown?? Good. It’s real. The mind is something other than what you truly are.
We tend to identify with all the voices in our heads and assume that those voices are who we are. For example, if you’re having thoughts about wanting to scream at someone and punch them in the face, you probably think you’re a pretty angry, aggressive, and overall bad person. But that’s not the truth!
You are actually a soul having a human experience, full of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. These human experiences are separate from our innate goodness, peace, and stillness within.
Meditation teaches us to watch our lives like a movie unfolding around us in which we play the main character. This detachment from our experiences helps bring us greater peace and equanimity, knowing that we don’t have to take everything that goes on in our heads so seriously or so personally. It’s just a movie and you’re playing the role of a human. Do your best, but remember that your true essence is something much deeper, greater, and more vast.