There is no question meditation is good for us.
Meditation has many known benefits that have been scientifically validated. In order to live a healthy, full life, you must have the tools to bring awareness, willpower, stress mastery and action into your daily activity. Meditation is one of those tools. Here are several reasons why you should meditate, even if you just start with five minutes every day.
Practicing meditation increases blood flow in the brain.
Blood flows to the areas involved in enhancing awareness. These areas must be trained if you want to benefit from the power they have to create a robust and productive thought life.
Meditation increases awareness.
Meditation increases awareness. Awareness creates choice. You can choose your behaviors and you can choose the life you will live.
Meditation increases inner peace and calmness and decreases reactivity and stress.
Meditation deactivates flight or fight and activates the relaxation response. It does this by deactivating your sympathetic nervous system, your flight-or-fight system, and activating your parasympathetic nervous system. Meditation relaxes your mind and your body. It gives you rest. Meditation reduces fear and anxiety, and therefore, reduces the negative impact these emotions have on your health.
Meditation also enhances focus.
With meditation, you develop a wider and more flexible attention span. It is easier to focus on what you should be focused on. Meditation helps you direct your focus to what truly matters to you. It helps you to place your attention on what has actual value to you. Meditation helps you to live in the present moment.
Meditation improves emotional control.
You are able to remain emotionally objective when dealing with emotionally volatile situations. You become less reactive, less personal about things. Meditation reduces your tendency to judge yourself and others. This reduces negative emotions.
Meditation allows you to more easily enter into flow states.
Flow states create the experience of energized focus, full engagement, complete absorption, and total enjoyment of whatever you are doing. Flow states are very productive and enjoyable states of being.
Some of the common characteristics of flow states are:
- Intense and focused concentration on the present moment.
- Merging of action and awareness- Many problems are the result of acting unconsciously, meaning, just doing what you have always done without being aware of the behavior. You can also fail to take actions in an unconscious manner, meaning, failing to take the actions that would have benefited you. When action and awareness are merged, you see the potential consequences of your action before you acted. You get to choose according your true desires.
- Loss of reflective self-consciousness. You are not worrying or judging yourself. You’re not constantly dealing with being unsure of yourself. Awareness if not the same as knowing. In a flow state, you are not acting from knowledge, you are acting according to awareness.
- You experience a sense of personal control or agency over whatever you are doing. You enhance self-efficacy.
- You lose track of time due to how absorbed you are.
- You experience whatever you are doing as intrinsically rewarding. You experience meaning. You experience a sense of significance.
The more you meditate, the more you experience life from this mindset.
Meditation increases the thickness of the gray matter in your brain in the areas responsible for attention and sensory processing. This increases the integrity and efficiency of the messages between your brain cells. These changes in gray matter help improve the regulation of automatic processes such as:
- blood pressure
- heart rate
- reward anticipation
- decision making
- impulse control
- emotional control
This enhances conscious control of your decision making and a reduction in the way an anticipated reward controls you. Awareness increases choice.
Meditation also increases white matter in the brain. This is the connective tissues of the brain. This is how the nerve cells all talk with one another. More white matter enhances your learning ability and your ability to involve more processing areas in your thoughts and decisions. More white matter enhances the speed of communication between your brain cells.
Improvements in this connectivity improves blood flow to areas of the brain associated with awareness, attention, executive functions, calmness, creativity, and compassion
Meditation changes the brain and helps to strengthen it.
Your executive functions allow for planning of complex cognitive behaviors and emotional control. These include how you express your personality, how you make decision, and how you engage socially. Enhanced executive control is associated with an increase in positive emotions and life satisfaction. Enhanced executive control is strongly associated with success.
Meditation prompts healing.
Meditation decreases anxiety, depression, fear, and anger.
What you do without awareness happens on auto pilot.
You sometimes get what you want and you sometimes don’t get what you want. You form interpretations about the results you experience and decide that certain circumstances led to the outcome you desire. However, you have often wrongly interpreted this which means you continue to wander down roads that will not get you where you need to go. You are just guessing.
When awareness is informing your choices, you continue to move towards your goals as you rightly interpret which choices and behaviors are providing the outcomes you desire. You get to choose.
These choices impact how you feel, how you behave, which people and situations you attract or are attracted to, and what meaning you associate with your experiences.
Meditation is challenging but it is worth it.