Meditation is always available, no matter where you are or what you are doing.
Some forms of meditation are long and complex, but other techniques are more manageable, more straightforward, and can provide significant benefits with just a few quick seconds of mindfulness.
Whether you practice for hours every day or just a couple of minutes now and then, meditation can bestow upon you a wealth of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
Brain-Boosting Benefits of Meditation
Meditation can positively affect your cognitive health by many different mechanisms.
As you build a habit of meditating each day, you may notice:
Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
A common problem with people who are anxious or depressed is rumination – getting stuck in distracting, negative thought loops. Meditation gives you an effective method to detach from this vicious cycle, releasing the worries and making space for more positive thoughts.
Enhanced attention span
Meditation can strengthen your ability to concentrate, focus, and engage. It teaches you to notice distractions when they inevitably arise and gently bring your attention back to where it should be.
Through meditation, you’ll begin to notice the connections between your thoughts, feelings, motivations, and actions. This awareness can help you better understand yourself and positively transform the deepest layers of your identity.
Meditation may help protect against, and possibly even reverse, age-related memory loss by providing a practical lifestyle change that reduces many risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Improved emotional intelligence
Meditation teaches you to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions. It becomes a routine for experiencing joy, compassion, and gratitude and may profoundly impact your social interactions.
Successful interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), and Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) provide healthier coping mechanisms for managing the stressors and triggers that incite cravings and addictive behaviors.
Try This Experiment
How do you feel right now? What mood are you in? How intense is this emotion?
How is your posture? Find a more upright and relaxed position.
What are your hands doing? Where are your feet? Notice the sensation of your clothes on your skin. You are bringing your attention inside your body.
Observe your breathing. Slow it down a little bit. Breathe from the lowest part of your belly.
Can you count ten breaths without getting distracted? When your mind drifts away – it will – bring it back to your breath again.
What sounds do you hear? Rest your attention on one at a time before moving to the following noise. There’s no need to judge them; listen.
Return to your breath. Allow your mind to go wherever it wants to go for a few moments. Maybe it wants to rest.
Now, how do you feel? Has your mood changed? Can you better steer your thoughts and emotions than you could a few minutes ago?
When you’re ready, try this meditation experiment again.