Meditation is a wonderful thing for everyone to do. It’s been proven to reduce stress, help control breathing in sports, and even boost moods. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about the ancient practice.
1. It’s Not as Hard as it Seems
Starting a meditation routine can feel like a daunting task to some. In this fast-paced world, we’re so used to thinking that sitting still is a waste of time, so the task is foreign to us. Silently repeating a mantra or focusing on your breathing can be a very easy way to get your body used to being in a state of meditation. Once this has been mastered, you can start trying harder techniques like just focusing on your heartbeat.
2. You Don’t Have to Completely Quiet Your Mind
Many people, when beginning a meditation regime, get discouraged, as they feel that meditating means quieting one’s mind completely. This is not needed. In fact, we can’t really clear our minds of all thoughts… Instead, paying less attention to those thoughts and finding the quiet space in your mind away from your thoughts should be your goal. In other words, the thoughts are still there, but you’re temporarily ignoring them. This is especially helpful when using meditation to combat stress. Having the ability to take a break from worrying about your mortgage can prove very useful as it may help you step back and look at tricky situations from a new perspective. This can even help you solve your problems.
Remember, the key to successful meditation is to not become discouraged. Even if you finish a meditation session and feel you’ve been focusing too much on your thoughts the whole way through, don’t feel bad. Your going through the motions has still gotten you one step closer to becoming a yogi master. Plus, you’ve received benefits from breathing and relaxing your muscles. Practice makes perfect, so practice is what you have to do.
3. You Start Receiving Benefits from Meditation Immediately!
Some feel overwhelmed with the thought of starting meditation. They believe that meditation’s benefits take years and years to surface. They become overwhelmed and discouraged at the thought of not achieving any immediate results. This is simply not the case. Studies have even proven that, after just 1-2 weeks of regular meditation, one can notice the positive effects meditation has on the mind-body physiology. There are both short- and long-term effects of meditation on the body. A study at Harvard University found that in as little as 8 weeks of regular meditation, there was visible growth in some areas of subjects’ brains. These areas are associated with empathy, memory, and even stress regulation.
4. Having “no time to meditate” is Not a Valid Excuse for Not Meditating
If you want to start a meditation regime, there is nothing stopping you. Even 5 minutes of meditation is better than none at all. That means waking up just 5 minutes earlier than usual, or opting to straighten your hair instead of curl it. In reality, though, if you make a few adjustments to your schedule, you should be able to squeeze in a 20-30 minute meditation session. If you make meditating a priority, you’ll get it done. You wouldn’t ever say you don’t have time to brush your teeth every day, right?
5. Meditating Doesn’t Require You to be Religious or Spiritual
Although many people who are quite spiritual meditate, not all meditators are spiritual. It is not necessarily done for a glimpse of the world-to-come, out of body experiences, or other supernatural phenomena. Meditating is simply a way of releasing and dealing with stress from your everyday life. It is scientifically proven to decrease anxiety, increase memory, and improve and stabilize one’s mood. No matter what your beliefs, you will benefit from meditation.