Meditation is the practice of focusing on your body rather than your thoughts. The most common form of this practice is to sit still and concentrate on your breathing, either with your eyes open or closed. People who meditate for as little as 20 minutes per day have reported a number of benefits. Among the most well-known effects of this practice are the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression.
Frequent meditators typically find it easier to separate themselves from their thoughts. By taking a few minutes to pause from thinking and focus solely on their bodies, they learn to recognise their thoughts as emotions that live outside of them. As a result, when negative emotions arrive during their everyday lives, they are less affected by them. They also find it easier to connect with the present moment, rather than being distracted by a constant inner monologue.
What’s more, the meditation process itself can also be highly enjoyable. Some people report ecstatic highs during particularly clean sessions.
How meditation improves confidence
This comes back to controlling the ‘inner bitch’.
In moments of panic and anxiety, we often feel so attached to our emotions that they run our behaviour. We run away. We shake uncontrollably. We make excuses that seem so incredibly real. Without meditation, we may be helpless to prevent this from happening.
Yet, meditation trains us to separate ourselves from these thoughts. As such, we can learn to view our inner bitch as a separate entity. He is no longer a part of us. He is a voice which we can choose to embrace or ignore.
What’s more, regular meditation is likely to make you calmer overall. As a result, it may take more to trigger feelings of panic and anxiety. When these feelings do arise, you’ll find it easier to act logically and with emotional intelligence.
How else can meditation improve your life?
Here are some more reported benefits of meditation.
#1. Focus and productivity
Think you’re too busy to meditate for 20 minutes a day? It could be argued that you’re too busy not to do this.
Once you learn how to clear your thoughts during meditation, it becomes easier to do the same during everyday life.
This creates an ability to resist distractions. Often, you’ll end up getting more done by meditating for 20 minutes a day, then you would have done otherwise.
#2. Weight loss
Regular meditation reduces stress, makes it easier to lose weight.
After all, stress triggers the production of cortisol, which causes cravings for carbohydrates, fat and sugar, even if we’re not hungry. It also signals to your body to store calories as fat, making it harder to lose weight even if you’re eating well and exercising.
Without these cortisol spikes, your diet and exercise plan will be more effective.
#3. Better sleep
Poor sleep often arises from being unable to shut your mind off at night, perhaps because of stress or excitement. Either way, by practicing turning off your thoughts for meditation, you may also find it easier to fall asleep.
A good night’s sleep in itself can reduce cortisol, improve focus and help you feel calmer.
#4. Improved sex life
A common cause of erectile dysfunction (if you’re a man) or failure to orgasm (if you’re a woman) is being unable to lose yourself in the moment.
Whether it’s because you’re nervous or desperate to make a good impression, being stuck in your thoughts is the best way to ensure that sex is mediocre at best.
Thankfully, meditation teaches you to escape your thoughts, making it easier to connect with your partner, appreciate every sensation and enjoy mind-blowing orgasms.
If that’s not worth 20 minutes a day, it’s hard to think what is.
How to meditate effectively
Meditation is easier when it’s practiced in a distraction-free room. Set an alarm so you don’t have to worry about checking the time. Make sure you’re sitting comfortably.
From there, take deep breaths and concentrate on how your body feels. If a thought pops into your brain, don’t get frustrated or resist it. Accept it, then avert your concentration back to your breathing.
The more you practice, the easier it will become.