With Christmas fast approaching and 2012 drawing to a close, it can be a particularly stressful time of year for us all. One of the easiest ways you can bring some calm into your life is through meditation. Meditating is simple to learn, yet very effective, and you don’t have to have any particular religious beliefs in order to carry it out. Here are our top 5 reasons to introduce meditation into your daily or weekly routine.
1. To reduce anxiety
Meditation is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress. By teaching you to focus on the present moment, you stop thinking about the past or the future and have the opportunity just to concentrate on the “now”. As well as physically and mentally resting you, meditation also reduces your body’s production of stress related chemicals, slows your heart rate and breathing, and increases the efficiency of oxygen uptake.
2. To increase concentration
When you meditate you learn to focus the mind on one particular thing, whether that is your breathing or part of your body. Learning to focus on something enhances your powers of concentration- it is thought that meditation is like a workout for the brain. Indeed, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that three months of intensive meditation training resulted in significant improvements in attention span.
3. Improve sleep
According to studies from all over the world, meditation is a powerful tool to help insomnia. If you have a busy mind or you are feeling stressed, your sleep may not be as restorative as it normally is. By practising meditation you will experience a better quality of sleep as well as improved sleep time. And unlike sleeping pills, is it is completely natural and free.
4. Manage pain
Meditation is regularly used as a tool to help manage chronic pain. Mindfulness meditation involves noting the present moment without judging it or reacting to it, helping chronic pain sufferers accept their pain without feeling anxious. Studies have also shown that long-term practise of mindfulness meditation can change the brain to have lower pain sensitivity. Dr Fadel Zeidan, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently said: "Meditation produces real effects in the brain and can provide an effective way for people to substantially reduce their pain without medications.”
Meditation encourages you to look at yourself for fulfilment rather than looking to other people, objects and achievements to make you happy. If you suffer from a constant sense of being unfulfilled, it may not be your surroundings that need changing but your perception. Meditation can teach you to look within yourself for happiness, and stop relying elsewhere. This sense of ‘inner peace’ is one of the main reasons people enjoy regular meditation.
So there you have it- 5 simple reasons why meditation could improve your life. There is a wealth of information on how to get started both online and in books, so why not look into it now and see if you could benefit from this ancient practice.