It is not just a silly breathing exercise for the rich and famous.
If being alive is equivalent to breathing, meditation is for the quality of that being. Yet it is funny how human nature tends to take the most basic crucial fact for granted.
You don't have to quit your full-time job, sell everything, go on a soul-searching journey to experience the benefits of meditation. You need not sell your mansion or ride like “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and travel to the Himalayan mountains to study the seven virtues of the Sages of Sivana. It is neither the romantic notion as depicted in “Eat Pray Love”. It was a matter of time before the protagonist must return to reality and go about with her daily life again like everyone else.
Meditation can be done anywhere, every day, with no equipment or memberships required. Mindfulness meditation has soared in recent decades, with more studies showing its benefits against an array of harmful physical and mental conditions.
Benefits of meditation:
- Decrease and control stress and anxiety
- Improve focus and concentration
- Increase calmness and relaxation
- Enhancement of mood and improves overall psychological balance.
- Helps with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Helps with anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Shows promising results for smoking cessation
Do you know that our heart does not beat unless our brains and nervous systems tell it to do so?
The human body is all connected and co-dependent to function. When we overwork or stress ourselves mentally or physically, you can feel the sore of your muscles, and that will tell you to rest and take it easy for the next few days.
However, we cannot see the detrimental effects when stress, trauma or negative emotions take a toll on our minds. When we have a deeper understanding of our body, it is no rocket science to see how meditation works!
Understanding The Power Of Your Brain
Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. When we are under mental or physical stress, the cortisol level increases, your blood pressure may rise, feeling fatigued, disrupted sleep, and anxiety.
That is your brain telling you to hit the brakes and let the healing begins by breathing again. This is the most fundamental part of being human.
Our body, mind and emotions give us a lot of signals that we often neglect. Just as fear protects us from danger, anger is simply an emotion that appears when there are problems to counter. When we ignore them, they could grow like a tumour in us.
You may have come across the experience of being at the edge of losing your temper. Then you find yourself taking deep breaths to keep it under control; that is a preview of meditation on its own.
Instead of ignoring your negative emotions, meditation carries you through it with quality breathing that sends signals to the brain to relax our nervous system. Just as our heart beats faster after going on a run. We grasp for more breaths that eventually regulate our body’s reaction to pace ourselves again.
Most of our population suffers from neck and shoulder discomfort due to long hours of sitting while working under stress and not noticing how muscles around our body tense up. As you master the art of meditation, you become more mindful of giving your mind and body the relief it needs to go further. When we are calm and aware, we make better decisions, and the sky is the limit with the benefits that come from that!
A Little Bit Of Self-Care Goes A Long Way
We all know fitness and workout to improve physical health, but not emotional health.
Slowing down in our quick pace society is no easy task. We live in the ‘now’ generation, where everything is expected to be immediate. Our brains are wired with concepts like ‘hustling’ and ‘powering through’, but that can only take us so far before we burnout and come face to face with the blowback.
Instead of labouring to build layers and layers of defence and coping mechanisms, meditation builds a better foundation. A wise man would know to build his empire upon rocks instead of sand. We can achieve a lot more in our best physical and mental state.
When was the last time you set your phone down, take in your surroundings, close your eyes, and simply takes in a few deep breaths?
Or the last time you stopped just to feel your feet on the ground, let go, and allow gravity to carry your weight?
We invite you to step away from all your devices to just be with yourself because the rest of the world will still be there when you are ready to opt-in again. We cannot always control what is going on around us, but you can take care of you, and that is being responsible as the people around us will also benefit from our well-being and positive vibes.
Breathing Should Be The Easiest Thing
When you first meditate, you may realize how hopelessly miserable we have become with concentrating on just one thing at a time as the world’s demands have turned many of us into masters of multitasking.
If thoughts like: “Am I wasting precious time here?” comes to mind, counter it with, “Am I really not capable of giving myself just 5 minutes to be with me?” It is entirely normal to get restless with racing thoughts initially, but it does not mean that you are failing.
Start with a guided meditation and begin with the basics such as deep belly breathing. There are plenty of apps available. You may give ‘Simple Habit’ a try as the app offers a great variety of styles and lengths to suit different goals and needs. Meditation can be done sitting down, lying down or even while you are taking a shower or a stroll. Please keep an open mind to allow the distractions to come and go without paying too much attention to them and centre your attention back on your breath repetitively.
We hope you would embark on this well-being journey and acknowledge your existence by giving yourself 5 - 10 minutes a day just to breathe. It is an ancient wellness practice, and if practitioners from around the world have testified on its enduring positive change, why not give it a try?
Step out of the rush, step into your own life. Invest in self-care and be rewarded with healing, serenity, and confidence.