Meditation is not an exclusively hippy or spiritual thing anymore. It’s mostly a common practice, that you hear off every second day. The other day, someone I run with was telling me how well he has benefitted from meditating. It was weird given the fact that he had made it a practice for just a week. I certainly did wonder if meditation showed its results so soon. I wouldn’t know for sure if it was the result of meditation or just the practice of doing something on a loop.
Our lives are super hectic today. It’s like the world rotating faster than it used to just a decade ago. Well, the earth’s rotating at the same pace but its insides are evolving faster than ever. The digital era has made it compulsory for everyone to stay motivatedand be updated with the world. One can’t afford to stay behind if he or she wants to survive in the fierce market. You have to have a deep understanding of yourself, your work and your surroundings. Where do you think all this chaos is leading to?
In the rush of advancement, we fail to see the areas that need our attention. Things like physical health and mental health are taken for granted and gradually go for a serious toss. People, in general, are more health conscious today, that’s a fact. Junk foods that used to rage earlier, are seeing serious downfalls now. But at the same time, people do not have the time to sit back and contemplate on what the results are. Our bodies are run by our minds and it never gets a day off, does it?
It’s about time people understand the importance of their mental health. A sound mind, not only will keep you physically active but also improve the quality of your life by multiple folds. Good mental health is directly proportional to how well you perform in your day to day life. I personally believe it’s wise to take precautions when there is still time. Deaths and illnesses leading from messed up lifestyles and bad mental health are on a rise. Body and mind should be in alignmentfor our souls to be at our best.
Here are 5 ways meditation can be used as a tool for better mental health:
1. Meditation helps the aging brain in check-
Yes, our brains age with time and also because of other factors like how active we are. Studies have shown that people who meditate have better-preserved brains than non-mediators. The grey matter volume present in their brains is comparatively more than others of their age. It could be credited to positivity and alertness that result out of meditative sessions.
2. Meditation helps in calming down the overtly used areas of the brain-
Our lives are monotonous. We eat, work, play sleep and repeat. This lifestyle makes sure that we do the same type of tasks on a loop every day. Don’t you think that uses some parts of your brain more than the rest? The part of the brain that is required to be active while to drive to work is overused. At the same time, the part of your brain that is creative is not as used as the others. Our minds are always thinking of something or the other. It’s called the monkey mind, shifting from one branch to the other. This usually doesn’t ever lead to satisfaction as there is no closure to any of our thoughts. You could be thinking about your kids, the new house, the nanny, the office spreadsheet and your manicure, all at the same time. The result is, none gets done and you are left with a sense of dissatisfaction. Mediation helps you organize your thoughts and alerts you when your mind starts wandering.
3. Meditation can also trigger parts of the brain that aren’t otherwise used-
We all know that we don’t use all the parts of your brain. It is not our fault actually, it’s the way we have evolved since ages now. However, when a special effort is taken into using our brains more efficiently the results are outstanding. Bu the question is; how do we do that? Mindful meditation can actually change the structuring of one’s brain. It increases the thickness of hippocampus that contributes to our hearing and learning. What happens next is, emotional regulation and referential processing improve. There is also a reduction in brain cell volume, which leads to lesser fears and anxiety. Meditation improves how our brains generally perform, our moods and feelings improve.
4. Meditation improves concentration and focus, by multiple folds-
This is the reason youngsters and kids are also encouraged to meditate. That is the age they are learning a lot of new things and need a lot of focus. However, it is not just kids that need concentration. Adults who live a normal life also need concentration and focus to be more effective in all their tasks. Any work that is done without dedication or with fickleness doesn’t usually give the best results. It’s easier said than done. Our minds start multi-tasking as it has become second nature to us in our fast lives.
Meditation has shown prominent results in improved concentration and focus. It helps you calm down the part of your brain that keeps track of all the tasks that are pending. Gradually your brain becomes efficient at selecting tasks on priority while focusing on ways to complete it in the most effective manner. With time, it becomes a habit and you stop worrying about pending sheets. You take up tasks you are confident about and deliver the best.
5. Meditation can help get rid of anxiety and addictions-
Most people start meditating because of its benefits in calming down stress and reducing anxiety. There are advanced types of mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques that are known to reduce stress, both physically and mentally. The effects show immediately and stay for longer durations of time. What meditation does is impact the area of the brain that deals with self and subsequently reduces anxiety caused because of it. People suffering from series cases of social anxiety have benefitted greatly from mediation.
Given the fact that meditation helps people in self-control, it can be very beneficial for someone who needs self-control. It could be an obsession or an addiction that you know is harming you and is not productive at all. Meditation can help you work on controlling those urges. Being mindful in general helps you to disassociate things, which is generally the first step towards de-addiction.