Why We Should All Be Meditating

In our increasingly chaotic 21st century lives, meditation has begun to garner a lot more mainstream attention throughout the United States as a means of healthily escaping the business of everyday life. From Jerry Seinfeld to Kobe Bryant, many people have become major proponents of daily meditation, and for good reasons too. Here are some of the most important reasons that we should all be practicing meditation.

 

Meditation helps you wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night.

 

No matter what time of day it is, meditation is a great way to ease into the morning or slowly wrap up your night. Not only does it give you a moment to sit still and focus on your breathing, but it allows you some time to rest peacefully without worrying about the day’s events. When I have the time to meditate in the morning, I always find that my day always starts out on a positive note when I have the time to focus on myself before diving into the day. It also makes waking up much easier for me when I know I am not going to be busy and rushing around as soon as I get out of bed.

 

Meditation encourages mindfulness.

 

One of the most important aspects of meditation is concentration on all of your senses, from the feeling of your weight sitting down to sensation of your chest rising and falling with your breath. While it’s difficult from the start to remain focused on the body without getting distracted, consistently practicing this will eventually make concentration much easier in both the exercise itself and in everyday life. With time it makes you increasingly aware of your senses and emotions, thereby making mindfulness a part of everybody’s daily routine.

 

Meditation is a wonderful aid for coping with mental illness.

 

Especially when you’re living with mental illnesses, practicing meditation can help a lot by keeping you grounded and providing a space outside of your busy life to sit, breathe, and enjoy the present moment. In fact, a study published by the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that participants who regularly meditated had fewer symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia, phobias, and depression/anxiety. There is always something to be gained from a few minutes of quiet, relaxed breathing!

 

Meditation is easy and accessible.

 

Meditating doesn’t require any special equipment or gym memberships that will make you fork over a lot of extra cash. All that you really need is a quiet space, a positive attitude, and maybe a pillow to keep you comfy. If you’re still new to meditation and aren’t entirely sure what to do, YouTube has a wealth of free guided meditations. Or, if you’re interested in getting an app, Headspace is a lovely meditation app with adorable animations to teach different aspects of animation. There are also tons of guided meditations for everything from going through a break-up to preparing for a big exam. College students can also get a membership for $10 a year, so that’s all the more motivation to give meditation a shot!

 

No matter who you are or what you need, meditation is one of those things that comes in handy for everybody. We often take for granted moments of stillness and calm, so we must remember that our brains and bodies need this. So the next time you have a free minute in a comfy, quiet space, take some time to close your eyes, breathe, and focus on the present moment. It’s as easy as that!

 

(Not sponsored by Headspace, sadly. I just really love this app.) 

 

Sources

 

Carmody, James & Baer, Ruth. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of behavioral medicine. 31. 23-33. 10.1007/s10865-007-9130-7.