Benefits of Meditation

If there is one thing that has truly changed my life, it is meditation. I’ve struggled with controlling my emotions, fear of public speaking, social exhaustion, brain overload, absentmindedness, holding my attention, thinking clearly, and self-doubt. At one point, a wise advisor told me that if I wanted to help people, I had to be solid. I needed to meditate.

For the first year, I practiced meditation every day, focusing on a different type of meditation. I started with meditations that encouraged tranquility and groundedness. These ranged from focusing on the breath to body scans to visualizations to mantras. After a few months, I moved to meditations that expanded my awareness and helped my mind to be more open. These included meditations where attention is brought to different energy centers in the body and the connection between these energy centers. I finished the year with meditations that involved acceptance and surrender. These include meditations where we open our hearts, cultivate curiosity, and embrace the mystery that we are a part of.

After a few months, I started to see differences. I suddenly knew where my keys and wallet were most of the time. When I had to run errands, I had more energy, moved faster, and wasn’t as taxed afterwards. My house became more orderly.  After a few more months, difficult situations didn’t seem so difficult. My mind seemed clearer. I was able to do more work in less time. It has now been four years, the social exhaustion has disappeared and although I don’t like public speaking, the fear and anxiety around it has reduced by at least 75%. I am also able to love more openly and completely. Something I didn’t know I was missing and am eternally grateful for. 

I want to encourage everyone, everywhere to meditate. It seems like such a big commitment AND it truly can change your life. Although my experience has been mostly mental health related, the physical effects are there too. Below I’ve included a list with links from the NIH that outline the research-based benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices. I hope this is inspiring. 

Decrease in stress, anxiety and depression

Reduction in blood pressure

Reduction in pain

Improved sleep quality

Decrease in cravings related to substance abuse

Reduction in PTSD symptoms

Reduced psychological distress for women diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Image credit: Jay Mantri