7 Compelling Reasons To Start A Meditation Practice
Okay, I got my breath back.
A word (or few) about Tim first. Tim Brownson is a Certified Life Coach and has been unsticking people and helping them reach their true potential since 2005. I first “met” him a year ago when my three-part post “Take time to smell the flowers” was featured in his round-up of ““20 of the Greatest Self Development Posts Ever Written”. Happy memories.
Anyway, I got hooked to his blog and his work and stalked him. He has enriched my life with his great nuggets of wisdom since – and I’ve been a happy follower. And…I confess – I love the British accent, too! Not sure if Tim will approve of this – but almost always, I am laughing my head off by the time I am half way through his post. Humor is a pillar in my life.
Then,his book: “Don’t hesitate, Meditate”, directly spoke to me. Now I am a big fan of meditation but, as you know, with good habits it is not enough just being a fan. It is important to cultivate a meditation practice. Thing is – I’ve read a lot about mediation and even practice occasionally (oh yes, that “occasionally” is the problem). I have a fabulous guided meditation program. I tend to either doze off or make lists of things to do in my mind when I “meditate”. So I do end up feeling good – but that’s not the entire point, right?
Anyway, Tim’s book – the way he presented it – triggered me into action and I resolved to set aside ten minutes to practice mediation every day. I continue to do it. (and that’s why I am cheerful even though I am limping around!). I am determined to enjoy the benefits of meditation.
I wanted to write about the book and share it with you. So imagine my delight when Tim wrote the perfect guest post for me. I am thrilled to have him over here today!
If you haven’t already, here are:
7 Compelling Reasons to Start a Meditation Practice
By Tim Brownson
Would you like to be happier, healthier, less stressed and more adept at dealing with the vagaries of life? Of course you would, who wouldn’t?
Fortunately recent scientific studies have started to prove beyond any reasonable doubt what millions of people in the East already knew, meditation delivers such results.
So without further ado, here are 7 compelling reasons why you should take up a meditation practice now.
One. – Improved Mental Health
Research has indicated that a regular meditation practice can help people who are suffering from depression. It was shown with the use of fMRI’s that after as little as 8 weeks daily practice there were beneficial structural changes taking place within the brains of those people who were meditating.
Two – Reduced Stress And Anxiety Levels
Stress is caused when the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system is in a heightened state of arousal and triggering the fight or flight response.
Meditation allows the parasympathetic nervous system to get involved more than was previously the case causing a slowing down of breathing and even heart rate. If you are in control of your breathing and your heart rate is normal it’s physiologically impossible to be in a state of high anxiety at the same time.
There has also been some recent research to suggest that regular meditators live up to 10 years longer than non-meditators. It’s still not clear why this is, but as stress is such a pernicious and destructive problem it seems plausible that simply by lowering stress levels we allow the body to heal itself more quickly.
An interesting note: Expert long-term meditators can be in both a state of high arousal (almost bliss) and total calm at the same time with their heart rate fluctuating considerably between the two states. Some also have the ability to take control of their blood pressure, something that was believed to be impossible until relatively recently.
Three – Improved Cognitive Function
By and large regular meditators are able to think more clearly, concentrate for longer periods of time and tend to have better memory recall. So if you spend half your life wondering where you left your car keys, meditation can help.
Four – Increased Happiness Levels
With meditation there is a great deal of emphasis on accepting what is and not trying to cling on to or grasp after ideas, things, or even people. If you can truly accept that your life is in constant flux and the vast majority of it is out of your control, you will become a more content, peaceful, and thus a happier person.
Thank you, Molly Hahn
Five – It’s Free
There aren’t many things in life that are so beneficial and so free! You may want to buy a meditation cushion (zafu), but even that is an optional extra, as are Buddha statues, incense, saffron robes and head shaving.
Six – It’s Easy To Do
So many of my clients, when I mention meditation to them, will respond with something along the lines of “I couldn’t do that, my mind is going a million miles per hour”
Well – welcome to the human race because all our minds are going a million miles per hour. That is what our minds are trained to do.
There are dozens of different meditation practices from all corners of the globe.
Below is one simple option, but if this doesn’t gel with you, search the Internet and you will find something that does.
- Sit on the floor (you can lie down, but no napping!)
- Focus your attention on your breath coming in and out of your nose
- Wonder where all those random thoughts just came from that you swear weren’t there before
- Don’t judge the thoughts (or yourself for having them), merely let them go and re-focus on your breath
- Rinse and repeat for the next 40 years
Seven – There Are No Negative Side Effects
Meditation will not give you a hangover, it will not require you wean off it slowly should you decide to quit and you’re highly unlikely to pull a muscle doing it.
Think of meditation as being like the gym for your mind. Some people complain when they don’t see immediate results, but would you go to the gym once and complain after that your body doesn’t look like a Greek God (or Goddess)? Of course not, because you know that such a status has to be earned over a period of time.
People do get immediate results with meditation, but it’s more likely to require patience and persistence, which ironically, meditation will give you more of!
With very little to prove otherwise it was easy to be skeptical as little as 10 years ago, but over the last decade science has eradicated any reasonable doubt for anybody prepared to look at the evidence.
Seeing as you read Vidya’s blog, I’m pretty sure you’re an open-minded sort and as such cannot wait to fire up the incense and get going, right?
Thank you, Tim!
Tim Brownson is a Certified Life Coach, NLP Master Practitioner and Internationally published author. He runs A Daring Adventure and regularly blogs on self-development mixing humor, science, brutal honesty and occasional sarcasm.
I cleverly bummed Tim’s email signature to help you connect with him:
If you aren’t already, please do Read Tim’s Blog
Follow Tim on Twitter – now heres a guy who doesn’t clog your Twitter stream
Say Hi On Facebook – I guarantee you that his posters are some of the best I’ve seen
Get His Books For Free – ‘nuff said. I gloated over this long ago.
Download Don’t Hesitate, Meditate – and a whole lot of other priceless (free) stuff here
And so, now. Question for you:
Do you practice meditation?
How does it help you?
Update: Just as soon as Tim wrote this post, he went off on a Retreat. He shares his experience in this post:
I loved it. You might, too!
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