Whether you are seeking enlightenment or just a natural way to increase your performance, meditation is a powerful tool to assist with both. Whether you want the stillness of a monk’s mind or to be resilient like a warrior or a bit of both, meditation can help you build an unshakeable mindset. Literature has lots of claimed benefits of meditation but in this blog, I will talk about the ones that are scientifically proven.
One of the instant and highly studied benefits of meditation is that it helps combat stress. In today's artificial world where even all our food is not 100% natural, our body and mind constantly experience stress and deplete over time. According to research, 90 % of doctor visits are related to problems caused by stress. Meditation can help you look 10-15 years younger by combating stress and reducing the symptoms of premature aging. When our mind experiences stress, Inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, are released in response, which can affect our mood, leading to various mental health problems such as depression. Several studies suggest that meditation may reduce depression by decreasing these inflammatory chemicals.
By reducing stress meditation also helps your body to relax easily and therefore you will experience better sleep. As an entrepreneur, I have always been about the hustle. Due to a busy lifestyle, I found it hard to turn off my mind at bedtime. I will be doing a whole new blog about the benefits of sleep but let’s just agree for now that getting a good night's sleep is very important for your body and mind to recharge and perform. After I started meditation I could fall asleep within one minute of lying on the bed. While before meditation I would sleep 8-9 hours and still wake up tired, since I started practicing meditation I only sleep 6-7 hours and feel totally recharged and full of energy when I wake up.
A number of studies done in the last decade confirm the ‘neuroplastic’ nature of the human brain, which means that our intelligence is not set at birth – and we can enhance and increase the capacity of our brains in ways once believed to be impossible. When our body is in ‘flight or fight mode’ our brain capacity significantly decreases. Scientists have found that meditation can help Increase our attention span and learning abilities.
As most of you may be aware that our brain is made up of two halves. The left side is responsible for logic, reasoning, decision making, and cognitive skills, whereas the right side enables creative thinking and new ideas. The majority of us are only good at using one part of our brains, while some of the top performers have the skill to jump between the left and right sides of the brain and use them both effectively as and when required. Researchers have found that meditators have a thicker corpus callosum.
Corpus Callosum is a part of our brain which joins the left and right sides and facilitates communication between them. People who have thicker corpus callosum can use their brains more effectively by using both parts of their brains simultaneously. While they perform risk analysis and critical thinking to identify a problem using the left side of their brain, they can simultaneously come up with creative ideas to solve this problem by using the right side. A better connection between the two sides of the brain comes with great benefits such as better focus, super creativity, and enhanced memory.
The number one reason why most people fail to meditate is that they have this idea that in order to be a better meditator you have to be thoughtless. It’s like sending a 4-year child for a doctorate degree in university. It just does not work that way. And you do not have to be thoughtless to get many of the benefits from meditation discussed in this blog, just being on the journey is enough to bring major shifts in your life. For beginners what you should be doing is learning to observe. Find ten minutes of quiet time every day to sit quietly and observe. Observe your thoughts, your surroundings, any sensations in your body, your breathing, etc. As you separate yourself from your thoughts you will find it easier to control them.
This blog is posted by Anurag Rai. Anurag is the Founder of Superhuman In You and Superhuman University. He is also the founder of multiple other businesses and a certified NLP & meditation practitioner.