Meditation: How and Why

Meditation is slowly becoming more accepted and adapted into society today. After doing an entire persuasive speech on why people should begin to meditate for my Intro to Communications class, I realized I should share the information I found with more than just my 20 other classmates. 

I first began to meditate this past summer after experiencing a lot of anxiety about moving away to college. I used a free app that had guided meditations and only meditated for five minutes. After consistently doing this for about a week, I was already seeing results. I was less irritable and found that I had a lot more patience when dealing with others. I also was able to control how I reacted to certain situations, which you can always do, but meditation definitely helped me to recognize this and react more positively. I’ll admit that I haven’t been as consistent with it since I’ve been at college, but after reminding myself of all of the benefits, it’s a habit I will for sure work into my routine somehow.

You may be asking: what is meditation, exactly? In short, it’s a lot of things. According to the app Headspace, meditation “isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective." Basically, you aren’t trying to turn off any thoughts or feelings, rather you are embracing those emotions and observing them without judgment. 

Meditation is proven to have countless benefits. There are hundreds of scientific studies done recently that is causing entire populations to open their minds to these practices that were once considered controversial. One quote that really stuck with me is “meditation is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body.” It has the ability to keep you mentally, emotionally and even physically healthy. 

For example, a study done by Massachusetts General hospital in 2018 found that 64% of people who meditated regularly for three months saw enough decrease in blood pressure levels to allow them to decrease their prescribed medication. The Online Psychology Degree Guide also lists physical benefits such as the ability to slow down or even prevent some neurological diseases, and studies even claim that meditation can improve heart health. While all of the physical benefits are great, some of my favorite perks of mediating come mentally or emotionally. 

Something that everyone can relate to, or is familiar with, is stress. Meditation can help reduce stress significantly and improve your focus as well as decision making. If you’re stuck in a rut at work, or even struggling in the classroom, meditation can help you to get back on your game. It is also proven to help increase kindness and a feeling of connectedness towards strangers. To me, this is one of the most beneficial results of meditating simply because everyone needs a little more kindness in their life no matter what the circumstances. 

I know that all of this can seem a little overwhelming, but I assure you that meditation is simple and doable despite how busy you may be. There are a variety of meditation apps available that are free to download and contain guided meditations for however long you desire. These apps make it really easy to ease into meditation and are great for beginners because you don’t have to do it on your own. I have three separate meditation apps on my phone, and I use all of them for different things, but my favorite part about each of them is that there is someone talking to you and explaining the process as you are going through it.

Another great resource is books. While books may not verbally guide you through your meditation, they can provide a ton of useful tips from how to incorporate meditation into your life or even how to make your meditation more beneficial.

Finally, podcasts are something that I hadn’t even thought of for meditation, but I listen to plenty of them! Podcasts are quickly on the rise and are already installed on most phones. This means you don’t have to worry about downloading an app or picking up a book, all while gaining the same benefits. 

In conclusion, there are countless benefits to meditation, but I only named a fraction. Science has clearly supported the act of meditating, and I’m not one to argue with science. I will leave you with the same thought that I left my classmates with: don’t wait until your stress or anxiety is out of control to start meditating. Start today so that when those feelings do arise, you are better equipped to handle them.