Updated: Apr 6
No matter where you are in a meditating journey, if you struggle to keep a consistent routine of it, I’m here to help.
In this post, I will:
show you real, applicable reasons to meditate
the benefits of a meditation practice
guide you through overcoming resistance
These reasons aim to inspire a regular meditation practice.
Now, do these sound like familiar echoes to you?
“I don’t have time.”
“Only people into New Age, woo-woo stuff do it.”
“I don’t see the point.”
These are some excuses people use to get out of meditating. Some of those people have never meditated before while others already have a few or more experiences.
Meditation’s long-running trend through Western mainstream culture has kept it in the spotlight for some time. I’m sure you’ve come across countless social media posts, articles, or maybe even a book or two on the subject.
But has it inspired you to sit down, close your eyes, and do the damn thing?
Everyone’s meditation practice looks different. For one, I enjoy meditating in the early mornings after I drink my coffee. Others prefer meditating before bed, on their lunch breaks;for ten minutes or three hours — it’s all up to you and what feels good.
Now, let’s see if this convincing guide has the power to persuade you into sitting down and quieting your mind.
Meditation Strengthens Your Mind
One of the more publicized benefits of meditating, the gap shrinks every day between scientific evidence and the advantages a practice has on the brain.
Within the last decade alone, neuroscientists have discovered links between meditation and brain re-structuring, rewiring of brain activity, and other developing functions of the mind.
What does that mean if you’re not a neuroscientist? That means your memory sharpens, the mind opens to critical thinking and abstract concepts, your energy and productivity jump starts.
There’s a reason big companies such as Apple, Nike, HBO, and Google implement meditation programs at the workplace. The CEOs and other top dogs of global industries recognize that a regular practice helps develop creativity, focus, and productivity.
Get to Know Yourself
Remember Greek philosopher Socrates’ “know thyself”?
Well, he probably should have added that meditation is one of the best ways of doing that.
In all seriousness, meditation is the ultimate form of self-care. By quieting the mind of clutter, memories, and anxiety from the outer world, what’s left is... you.
Discovering the true nature of who you are benefits daily life, stress management, and is an enjoyable experience if you allow it.
Accessing your true nature isn’t tricky, though many tend to over-complicate sitting and listening to your breath. That’s all it takes to get to know the real you, your true nature.
Strengthens the Physical Body
I am not a medical professional, but I am here to show you some proven facts. For obvious reasons, walking meditations are a great form of mindful movement.
However, if walking is not within your accessibility or walking meditations aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Even the more traditional stationary form of practice can benefit the physical body.
A 2015 study led by Dr. Robert Schneider of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Iowa’s Maharishi University of Management found that daily meditation practice can aid and even prevent physical ailments such as hypertension.
While there are no guarantees, don’t be surprised if after a steady meditation practice your doctor tells you things like your high blood pressure is evening out or your nervous system appears more at ease.
You may not even need your doctor to notice sleep improvements, therefore improving your physical energy levels. Not to mention those pesky or worrisome migraines may be less frequent.
It Boosts Your Confidence
When you close your eyes and focus on your breathing, everything appears to stop. This is entering the silent energy within.
In other words, when you meditate, it’s just you; it involves no one or thing. This allows you to reconnect with yourself, meet spirit guides, and tap into your intuition — which are all versions of you.
It sounds complicated but when you sit with only yourself before you, connecting to your true nature, what choice do you have but to embrace it?
Meditating is all about making friends with you, even the parts — scratch that — especially the parts of yourself you don’t particularly like. The process is like ripping the band-aid off the pieces you’ve always wanted to cover up or hide away. And when the bandage is off, all that’s left is you, and what's not to love about that?
It’s Not a Religious Thing. . . Unless You Want It to Be
There is no need for a concrete connection between any one religion and practicing meditation. It doesn’t matter what god, goddess, or deities you believe in — you don’t even have to believe in anything to have a successful practice.
Quieting your mind doesn’t link to worship or religious ceremony unless self-imposed. So there is little to no pressure when sitting down for your first session to have a specific deity or dogmatic thinking in mind.
In the same breath, meditation is also a form of prayer for many religious followers. It serves as just another way to sit and connect to their higher power.
Aids in Looking Younger
First of all, aging is a way of life and if you’re worried that you don’t still look like a 20-year-old after your 65th birthday, reread the “Boosts Your Confidence” listing.
Because a regular meditation practice balances stress, slowing the release of the aging-hormone cortisol, that same turmoil won’t need to find a place around your eyes or lips to settle in and create wrinkles and fragile skin.
In other words, if you show signs of aging linked to chronic worry or negative thinking, a meditation practice could be the ticket to a youthful, revitalized look. Embrace your beauty at any age, but if your face and skin are taking the brunt end of your worries, there’s a meditation for that.
An added bonus, a consistent practice won't only help your appearances look younger, it will help your brain perform better too.
Science comes in again here with another study this time by UCLA’s Brain Mapping Center. Doctors and scientists scanned the brains of 100 individuals. Fifty had never meditated before, while the others maintained meditation practices spanning from 4 to 46 years.
When the results were in, the study's co-author Dr. Florian Kurth noticed, “We actually observed a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”
Basically, when the doctors scanned the brains of 50 individuals that meditated, they retained more gray matter, therefore showing fewer signs of brain aging.
What does this mean as we get older and continue our meditation practices? Better memories, sharper wits, and keeping more cognitive functions.
Learn to Process Emotions
Sitting with a quiet mind brings balance to the autonomic nervous system. One piece of it is the sympathetic nervous system, which increases blood pressure and heart rate during times of danger. Meanwhile, the parasympathetic nervous system calms the body down after the threat of danger dissipates.
Meditation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system;
when the burdened brain and shaken, sweaty physical body can relax — hint, hint, like in a meditative state for instance — the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in so the mind and body can rejuvenate and repair itself.
It isn’t just your physical body’s reactions that benefit. Meditation teaches you to be in the here and now, the present moment. A consistent practice teaches the brain to process troubling situations, turns the parasympathetic nervous system on quicker, bringing you to focus on this moment.
Think about it: can you get swept away with emotion when you let go of both the past and future? When your mind sticks around this very moment, can you feel the anxiety or the dreaded “what ifs” start to ease?
This process will allow you to detach from your emotions. It won’t make you emotionless, quite the contrary, you become aware of them and can finally stop reacting to them. They cannot control you when a regular meditation practice focuses on embracing the here and now. In turn, you regain control of your emotional processing.
“We actually observed a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”
There is No Wrong Way to do It
Possibly the most comforting part of this list, it may also be the one with the most eye rolls. Can it really be that simple? There is no wrong way to meditate?
That’s right. Because all you need is intention.
When you come to meditate, intending to meditate and nothing more, then you, my friend, are as successful a practitioner as Deepak Chopra.
Meditation is Not a Cure-All
Yes, take comfort in this too.
There is no cure-all for anxiety but a consistent meditation practice could be the key to reducing mental stress, breaking up cycles of negative thinking and laying the groundwork of building your highest life.
If you’re tuned in to the developing world at all, you know that it is a chaotic, non-stop race. But what are you racing towards? What is your “why” for pushing towards your goals?
It’s easy to lose sight of these things, and when the mind no longer remembers its motivation, we stress. We begin to react to life instead of living unconditionally. Sitting with a silent mind peels back the layers (outside forces) to reach your inner peace.
Meditation builds the foundation of confidence and calm we all need to walk through the world’s chaos without being conditioned by it.
Meditation alone can ’t solve the chaos of the outside world but a steady practice teaches you how to bow out of the turmoil and move closer to peace.
Convinced? I thought so!