Meditation might seem like a fast-rising modern trend, but written instances of meditation emerged around 1500 BCE–that’s roughly 3500 years of recorded history detailing the practice of meditation. In ancient times, some practitioners called it “prayer,” others referred to it as “self-examination,” or even “deep thought.”
Today meditation is experiencing a resurgence, separate from specific religious or philosophical ideologies. Scientists have begun to measure the affects of meditation, with emerging hard proof of its benefits. Many people from all walks of life are embracing meditation for its own mental and physical advantages, including enhanced psychological and emotional wellbeing.
It’s not necessary to visit a health retreat or relaxation spa to begin your personal meditation practice. The power of meditation is available to you wherever you are, at whatever level you decide to engage. If you haven’t begun to meditate regularly yet, here are all the reasons you should start this powerful ancient practice of self-reflection.
Improve your mood
Meditation has been linked to the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that as little as thirty minutes of daily meditation reduced some symptoms of depression and anxiety as effectively as certain anti-depressant medications. For those of us who do not suffer from clinical anxiety or depression, meditation can also train the mind to release the anxiety-inducing negative internal monologues that preoccupy us with worry and stress.
Quiet your mind, increase your focus
More and more executive-level businesspeople openly espouse the power of mediation. Executives who practice meditation report increased decisiveness and greater clarity when reviewing all sides of perplexing business challenges. By quieting the mind, solutions and new ideas are free to bubble to the surface from deep in the subconscious.
Music and fashion mogul Russell Simmons has practiced meditation for years, while Green Mountain coffee founder Robert Stiller thinks meditation is so important that he hired a consultant to teach meditation techniques to his employees.
Become your own cheerleader
By quieting the mind, meditation helps still the inner critic that sometimes inhibits us from living our lives to our fullest potential. With frequent meditation, you can replace self-criticism with positive belief and expectation, and achieve new personal goals.
Give your body a boost
Emotional wellness is not the only benefit to meditation. Studies have shown that meditation improves sleep habits, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress-related pain such as tension headaches and muscle pain. A healthy physical foundation comprises the base of your entire system of wellbeing.
It takes time to fully integrate meditation into your life and gain the full spectrum of its benefits. Begin by establishing a reasonable meditation schedule that avoids major interference in your daily routine. Try meditating ten minutes per day to start, then increasing by one minute daily to result in regular 20- to 30-minute meditation sessions. While your initial results might not be life- or health-changing, you should immediately feel a greater sense of calm and focus, which is always a beneficial way to start your day.