I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning in bed. I was stressed from work. I was anxious about life.
I called up my girlfriend who was out of town. I talked to her and explained my problem.
She has taken an interest in yoga and meditation recently. She loves doing them and finds that it lifts her spirits.
She suggested I start doing yoga and meditation to help with my anxiety. She sent me a couple of guided meditation videos to help me get started.
“Just give it a chance,” she said.
Naturally I resisted. I knew meditation had many benefits. But for some reason I could never bring myself to do it.
I’ve experimented with meditation in the past. I’ll admit, I liked the way I felt. But for some reason I resisted.
I didn’t think it would help in this situation. Besides, some of those videos were just too far out there. It was too touchy, feely for me. You know, the kind of stuff where you have to “find” yourself.
“I’ll do it later” I said.
“Okay, your loss.”
She was right. It was my loss.
I Finally Had Enough
Last Monday I got home from work feeling exhausted. I had eye strain and a headache thanks to staring at the computer all day long.
My back hurt. I was tired and grumpy. I felt lousy.
“Enough. Let me try meditating” I told myself.
I downloaded the Headspace app from Google Play and got to work.
I did the first 10 minute guided meditation session from the app. Afterwards I felt amazing.
I was relaxed throughout my body. I was awake and alert for the first time that day. I was more aware of my body and mind. I felt more present and in the moment.
My sour mood evaporated. I was no longer grumpy. I felt as if I had woken up from a blissful sleep.
I thought to myself, “I could get used to this!”
Could I Replicate This Feeling?
The next day I meditated during my lunch break. The result was the same.
I felt more productive and focused throughout the afternoon. I was energized, but relaxed, if that makes any sense. And I was more aware and mindful of what was going on.
“Why have I put this off for so long?”
Maybe you’re like me. You’ve put off meditating because it’s too touchy feely, or “woo-woo” type stuff. Trust me when I say, it has completly shifted my thinking.
When you mediate, your analytical, reasoning mind shuts down and you have an increased sense of awareness. This state of mind has been described as “Satori,” “Zanshin,” or “enlightenment” in martial arts.
Meditation Has Powerful Physiological Effects
Studies show that people who meditate recover from stressful situations quicker than those who don’t.
Science shows that skin resistance decreases in states of anxiety and stress, and increases when we are relaxed.
Researchers have found that mediators have a large skin resistance, thus allowing them to recover from stressful situations more quickly and better cope with stress.
Your Brain on Meditation
Your brain has various different brain waves, depending on your situation.
When you meditate, you encourage an increase in alpha brain waves. These wave are conducive to creativity and the assimilation of new concepts.
Some practitioners are able to achieve a more relaxed state of mind, which encourage theta brain waves. These types of brain waves are associated with deeper insights and intuition.
Not only that, but those who practice meditation consistently continue to exhibit alpha and theta brain waves after meditation sessions.
This increases relaxation, creativity, and emotional connection for a time period after meditating.
Getting into the “Right” Brain
We have a tendency to use the left hemisphere of our brains. Practicing meditation allows us to “turn off” this verbal, linear, analytic style of information and processes.
This means we become more right brained. Our sense of time and logic no longer dominate our conscious thoughts when we meditate.
Instead we become more holistic, receptive, and think beyond language and logic.
Meditation and Psychology
Finally, research literature suggests that meditation produces feelings of self-transcendence, increased meaning in the world, and more connection with the world.
Other research shows that people are more confident, have better self-control, more empathy, and become self-actualized during meditation as a result of meditation. Finally, people report a decrease in anger and better ability to control their attention thanks to meditation.
Do You Want to Give Meditation a Shot?
I started off by using the Headspace app. You can also find guided meditation videos on YouTube. Here are a few to get started:
Can’t sleep, Meditation For Insomnia, Guided Voice, Gentle Music For Sleepless Nights, Relaxation
The Five Minute Miracle – Daily Guided Meditation
10 Minute Guided Meditation to ease Anxiety, Worry, and Urgency
The benefits of meditation cannot be denied. I was ignorant and held off meditating for so long. Being a bit of a skeptic (and slightly ignorant), I can say that I was completely wrong. Don’t wait so long like I did, try out meditation for yourself and let me know how it goes.