While meditation may seem like some new-agey practice that appears completely pointless, especially if you are constantly on the go and have a hard time sitting still and being quiet with your thoughts, research and countless devotees claim there’s much more to it than just doing nothing. Several benefits have been proven to result from maintaining a regular meditation practice (and even from just one 20 minute session!), and fortunately there are many ways to get there. Meditation is deeply personal and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to achieving it. Two of the most popular types of meditation are focused-attention (mindful) meditation during which you focus on one specific thing, while open-monitoring meditation allows you to focus on everything that is happening around you without reacting to any of it.
Here are some of the best reasons to finally let go and give meditation a try:
Improve Your Focus
When you meditate, you are focusing your attention and controlling it when it starts to wander. Fortunately, doing this simple task can also help you focus in your everyday life, far from a meditation session.
Decrease Your Anxiety
Scientifically speaking, meditation loosens specific neural pathway connections, and the reason this is a good thing is that it helps us to feel less anxious. Instead of feeling easily upset or scared in stressful situations, you will find yourself feeling calmer and better equipped to think rationally as you deal with whatever comes your way.
Heighten Your Compassion
Have you ever noticed that some of the most blissed-out people who meditate regularly also happen to be some of the most compassionate? While it’s true that many people who are dedicated to meditation are already living in an enlightened way, there is no doubt their practice has increased their ability to show empathy and compassion on a higher level.
Boost Your Memory
Meditation has been shown to improve rapid memory recall, allowing those with a regular practice to remember things quickly and retain new information better than those who do not. It is believed that their ability to better ignore distractions and therefore be more productive plays a large role in recalling new facts.
Lower Your Stress
In today’s world, multitasking has become the norm, and while some people naturally handle the stress that comes with juggling so many things at once better than others, meditation has been shown to help anyone better perform under pressure and calmly deal with stress head-on.
Increase Your Gray Matter
Meditation has been associated with greater amounts of gray matter in the hippocampus and frontal brain areas, which can bring about more positive emotions, help stabilize your long-term emotional health, and keep you more focused in your day to day tasks. What’s more, meditation has been linked to decreases in age-related effects on gray matter and lessens the deterioration of our cognitive functioning.