The Most Important Reasons to Meditate
When I am asked “what are the main reasons to meditate?” the first thing that usually pops into my mind is that meditation just makes you feel GREAT! But there are plenty of other important reasons to meditate. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons and find out a little more about thebenefits that you can expect to receive by practicing meditation.
Meditation reduces stress better than anything else I know of. Not only does the practice of meditation give you some “down time” to rest physically and mentally, it also has a very direct effect on your entire nervous system by reducing your body’s production of stress related chemicals like cortisol, and increasing the production of mood enhancing chemicals like serotonin.
Meditation will improve your health by strengthening your immune system, reducing your blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels.
Meditation is often of particular interest to people who are diagnosed with a chronic or potentially life threatening illness. People with serious medical conditions like cancer will sometimes turn to meditation as a means to enhance the process of healing and recovery. While meditation should never be used as a substitute for proper medical care, in some cases it can lead to medical breakthroughs and healing even when traditional medical treatments have been unsuccessful.
Of course, you do not have to be terminally ill to benefit from the healing effects of meditation! Even if you have just come down with a case of the flu, meditation will enhance the function of your immune system and help to you to rest more deeply, leading to a speedier recovery. Meditation also happens to be a wonderful way to alleviate headaches and to prevent them from recurring.
Sleep is a totally natural human function, and it’s something we need every day. But if you have a busy mind or if you are stressed then you may find that your sleep is not as restorative as it should be. Meditation dramatically improves the quality of your sleep, and it is one of the most powerful natural treatments for insomnia. A great reason to meditate.
Studies into the effects of meditation have shown that the regular practice of meditation can slow the aging process. The biological age of long term meditators is generally less than those of people who have never meditated. It is believed that the physiological cause of this is due to the fact that meditation helps to reduce the body’s production of free radicals. Free radicals are organic molecules that are responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases.
Emotional Stability and Positive Thinking
Meditation is a very powerful natural prescription for people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression, and it is also taught to people who have difficulty controlling their anger. However, you do not need to have a serious psychological condition for meditation to be of benefit to you! Every-day people who meditate generally enjoy a lot more…
People who meditate are less stressed, healthier, they sleep better, and they have a more positive outlook on life. Simply put, meditation makes you a happier person!
Success and Quality of Life
Think about this for just a moment…
Everything you achieve in life is the result of your actions.
The actions you choose to take are the result of your decisions.
The decisions you make are the result of your thinking processes.
Your thinking processes are completely dependent on the quality of your mind.
If you really dwell on this realization you will begin to see how the entire course of your life is affected by the quality of the thoughts that you permit to circulate in your mind. As I mention in this article on thebenefits of meditation, sometimes the difference between a great success and a monumental disaster in life is a seemingly insignificant little moment in which you give birth to a thought, and make a decision. It happens in that moment when you decide to turn left instead of right…in that moment where you choose between a peaceful response to a situation, or an angry one…in that moment when you notice the attractive smile of the person across the room, or the moment when you miss that smile, that chance meeting, that new love. All of life if filled with these “opportunities to choose”. Some are more significant than others, but all of them add up to the path that you will one day call “my life story”.
Meditation will help you to make wiser, more peaceful choices during everyday moments. This in turn leads to a life that contains more positive opportunities and fewer problems. Of all the reasons to meditate, this one is perhaps the least obvious, but it is also one of the most significant.
Who Uses Meditation? Why Meditate?
Now that I have described some of the main reasons to meditate, let us now explore some specific examples of how people use meditation to improve their lives.
Did you know that most top athletes practice some form of meditation and/or visualization? Not only does the practice of meditation help athletes to concentrate on achieving their goals, meditation also help them to achieve peak physical condition and to accelerate healing and physical recovery after exercise.
Professionals often rely on meditation to help them become clear on how to manage complex situations or to develop a strategic direction for their business. When intensive, multi-faceted thinking is required, meditation can really help you to open your mind to new possibilities and to improve your ability to see the “big picture”.
Artists of all types use meditation to open their minds to “creative flow”. After all, where do new ideas and creative inspirations come from? They come from the mind. If your mind is full of noise, if you are stressed and confused, then how can you expect to access the “creative genius within?”
It is common for spiritual people to practice meditation. Meditation has been used for thousands of years as a way to attain a level of awareness that is beyond the limitations of the everyday thinking mind, to find freedom, and to connect with the spiritual awareness within.
As you can see, there are many reasons to meditate. But even if you are not an artist, or a professional, or an athlete, and even if you are already an intelligent, healthy person who has no interest in spirituality, meditation can still dramatically enhance your quality of life. I urge you to try meditation, if for no other reason than the fact that it makes you feel so good!
Reasons to Meditate
Article by Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke from www.The-Guided-Meditation-Site.com
One-Size Meditation Does Not Fit All
Go with Comfort over Popularity
An intriguing study recently posted online by Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, suggests that new meditators are most likely to stick with the practice and reap its healthful benefits if they select methods with which they are most comfortable, rather than those that are most popular.
In one of the first studies to compare meditation techniques head-to-head, author Adam Burke, a professor of health education at San Francisco State University and the director of its Institute for Holistic Health Studies, taught 247 participants four popular methods—mantra, mindfulness, Zen and qigong visualization. He asked them to choose which they preferred to practice at home for six weeks before techniques were evaluated.
The simpler methods, mantra and mindfulness, each were preferred by 31 percent of study participants. Zen and qigong were selected by about 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Burke says the results showed the value of providing people new to meditation simpler and more accessible methods, and also emphasized that no one technique is best for everyone. He hopes to see more comparative meditation studies, especially to determine if particular methods are better at addressing specific health issues such as addiction.
“If that’s the case,” he advises, “healthcare professionals would be able to guide patients toward techniques that will be most effective for them. Additional studies are also needed to determine if there is a way to predict which method will be best suited for any particular individual.”
This article appears in the December 2012 issue of Natural Awakenings