For the average person, meditation seems a little bit out there. I mean, it sounds like it is from a different religion and it may seem like it isn't for you. If that sounds like you let me change up the name from meditation to focused breathing or even mindfulness. And I can promise you that it is for you. It is for everyone.
Meditation has many benefits, all of which are very beneficial in this time we currently live in.
Why do I believe we need mindfulness today?
The stress in our lives seems to be higher than ever before. I can only relate to myself and the situations I have been through. Every part of my life has been controlled by stress. I have a couple of hypothesis why this may be the case.
One reason boils down to the definition of stress and what you believe to be stressful.
Stress: emotional strain or tension
With that definition stress is dependent on the importance an individual places on a situation.
A recent advancement in the lives of human beings has been the internet. With the internet we have access to a lot of information. We also have the ability to be interconnected and exposed to millions of people's lives that are like and unlike us. This can be seen as a blessing and a curse. We are able to dream greater, we are able to see what can be. The curse? We get to see what we aren't. It allows emotional strain or tension to creep in aka stress, or doubt. It increases our comparative instinct we already have built into our identity. (That you vs me mentality that is built into our brain that allowed us to survive in the jungle.) You now are comparing you vs everyone else and where they are without being able to see where they have been. It makes it more difficult to see people that appear successful as human or like you. You get to see their success and none of their failure. These people don't feel like you. In your mind they are pinpointed as you vs them. Continuously wanting what seems perfect and unattainable causes tension or stress.
Another way you can think of this is you see these great people, you see them doing these great things that you want to do. When you get placed into the situations where you get to do the thing you wanted, you have high expectations. You want to be those people. This causes stress due to the inability to see yourself as a beginner and putting things into perspective.
This is one reason why I think stress is so prevalent today. Our comparative nature and our ability to compare millions of people around the world to us.
Meditation or Mindfulness can help us with our comparative nature.
It takes us beyond the voice in our head that tells us we aren't enough. It takes us into the current moment, into the present. It helps us realize where we are right now and that right now the moment is enough. That where we are in each moment is right where we should be and that that is okay.
The powerful part of meditation is that it is available anytime. You are able to be. You aren't thinking about your lack or what you want or what somebody else has or what you have to do still. It is a second to breathe. To take in the air around you and be present. To put your life into perspective each breath at a time. It lets you connect to the world around you. The reality around you. It allows you to put life in perspective reevaluate what matters in the moment. Brings happiness to the single moment with just you. Without other people and other demands just you.
Research has shown healing benefits with meditation
Not only does meditation bring you back to the core of being human, but it does much more to brain chemistry. It has been shown to heal your brain. It allows connections in your brain to occur that have a variety of benefits. It is a form of neuroplasticity. It has shown to help with addiction, to improve memory and cognition, anxiety and depression, and even conditions such as PTSD and fibromyalgia. A recent study showed that meditation increased empathy in individuals. The reasoning is thought to be because mindfulness allows you to practice presence and with that presence people were unable to run throughout the day on autopilot, and were able to recognize need in others. They then reacted to it with more empathy. There are so many benefits to taking meditation and I just touched on a few. As little as 10 minutes a day has fantastic benefits.
What do you have to lose? The world can always use a little more empathy, and you can use less stress.