Meditation has been around for more than 2,000 years and is usually focused on finding inner peace and spiritual cleansing. But it can be done for more than those intentions.
Beyond your spiritual life, meditation is the process of focusing your mind to one thought, feeling, or object. Because of this, people meditate for a lot of reasons. In short, those who meditate achieve higher levels of mindfulness, calmness and focus.
Here are some concrete examples why people meditate.
1. Improves Focus
There are times when people talk about a specific topic and end up talking about something else seconds later. According to researchers, mind-wandering is associated with low levels of happiness and increased stress. Meditation is a useful therapy done to improve focus and not let the mind wander.
2. Recovery from Addiction
Mindfulness and meditation can help peoples’ self-control and detach them from cravings. A four-week training programme on mindfulness observed recovering smoking addicts. After the programme, there was a 90 per cent decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked and one-thirds of the participants stopping smoking for good.
3. Relieving Pain
People who suffer from chronic pain meditate and are able to reduce the unpleasant feelings associated with it. When we feel pain, the feelings are stronger once the brain takes notice. Meditation helps reduce those triggers for people to live with more comfort.
4. Keeping Stress at Bay
People don’t need to have concentration problems or health issues to meditate. They focus on the present and concentrate on things happening around them. This is more helpful than worrying about the next day and reduces anxious thoughts that lead to stress.
How to Mindfully Meditate
Some people think that meditation is only done in a comfortable space while sitting with legs crossed. It works, but people find more interesting ways to meditate. When people meditate, they spend time on their senses and allow thoughts to wander calmly, without judgment.
A mindful meditation session starts with your simple routines. Sometimes, these routines allow the mind to wander into stressful thoughts or problems. Meditating when brushing our teeth, riding the tube, or before sleeping reduces the chances of stressful thoughts. People who are serious about meditating may also use floor chairs with back support. These chairs keep the practice more comfortable and they are easy to carry around.
- Begin with identifying what your senses tell you. Be aware of what you’re sensing at the moment and don’t think much about it. Apart from your senses, it can be calming music playing in the background.
- It’s natural that you’ll think about your thoughts. They’ll come and go and you should allow them to. Remain focused on your senses or what you’re feeling at the moment. Anchor your mind to it and let everything else go.
- Once you feel anchored, focus next on your breath. Notice how air goes in and out without being conscious about changing it.
- It’s normal to have a hard time concentrating during meditation. With consistent practice, you’ll soon practice it every day while you’re waiting for the bus or before bedtime.
Once you get the hand of meditating, you’ll notice the signs of better concentration, focus and control over your mind. Our thoughts wander and can lead to us worrying about the problems of the next day or painful memories. By letting go of these memories and anchoring on the present, you’ll see that meditation is more than a spiritual activity, but a self-enriching one.