The 5 Biggest Benefits of Meditation and Tips for Getting Started
1. It boosts your immune system.
Regular meditation acts as a natural anti-oxidant by increasing blood flow and helping the body rid itself from free radicals.
2. It makes your heart happy.
Meditation slows the heart rate and breathing pace and increases the flow of blood to the heart, which is thought to have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Meditation has also been found to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, two factors that contribute to a healthy heart.
3. It increases creativity.
Quiet, calm and focus can help unleash your inner artist. It’s no surprise then that some years ago when The Walt Disney Company was at creative crossroads they called in expert meditation teacher, therapist and author of Wise Mind, Open Mind, Ron Alexander. Alexander worked with the company for two years to hone their creative vision, which eventually led to the opening of its Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris theme parks.
4. It builds confidence.
Meditation can help you look at the sunny side of life by improving your self- esteem and reducing fears or phobias. The exact reasons for this are not yet known but may be due to the increased levels of serotonin and the ability to overcome inner conflict through introspection.
5. It helps you help others.
Many of us are serial and habitual helpers. We put others’ needs in front of our own, sometimes at the sacrifice of our own. When we take time to cultivate our own inner peace we can see that benefit ripple out to those around us. We are more calm with our partners and children, more kind to our colleagues and generally more pleasant to be around.
Try It Yourself
Meditation can sometimes seem like an insurmountable goal. Who has the time to sit still for hours each day? The good news is that you don’t have to practice for hours to see the benefits. In fact short snippets throughout the day can impart the same benefits as one longer practice.
Getting started can be as simple as starting with just a few minutes in the morning before jumping in the shower. Find a quiet corner in your room or house and try to make it a bit special by adding a cushion or candle. When you enter this space you’ll know that it is time to keep your mind focused.
Explore different types of meditation. Many new meditators get caught up in wondering if they are ‘doing it right’. If you stop trying to put an evaluation on your technique you will find you’re better able to embrace the moment.
Guided meditations are a great way to take the pressure off by letting someone else guide you through the practice. Author Jack Kornfield offers a series of six guided meditations in his book Meditation for Beginners that offer a great introduction to starting a daily practice.