Once upon a time, meditation was seen as something hippies, new age religious practitioners and people from Los Angeles did. Now, meditation has become mainstream. Everyone is doing it these days: professional athletes, soccer moms, police officers and firefighters, Oprah, teachers and probably even some blue collar construction workers or something. Meditation is no longer seen as something that only freaks and outsiders did. In fact, science- as well as the general mainstream audience- has identified the benefits of meditation on a person’s mental and physical health, as well as the ability to live a happier, longer and less stress filled life.
What is meditation?
In essence, meditation is the art of quieting the mind. It is the practice of silencing your inner thoughts and just being. That may sound like hippy lingo, and maybe it is, but it is true. All it takes is trying it once, and you can find how beneficial it can be. Although it sounds pretty easy, meditation is actually much harder than it seems. In today’s world, we are surrounded by noise all day. There is the television that always seems to be on, the computer that is always surfing the web, the iPod that is always playing music and podcasts and then there are the people on the sidewalk, the cars in the street, the dogs that bark, the wind that howls, and a million other noises that surround us and a brain that soaks it all in. It gets overwhelming and we do not even notice it. Meditation is the act of forgetting about all of these things, and being able to just live in a moment, a quiet moment, inside of your own body without any distractions.
The benefits of meditation
There are tons of benefits to meditation, and there is the hard science to back it up. Studies have shown that meditation does a number of good things to the body and the mind, here are a few:
- Concentration- Meditation improves a person’s ability to concentrate more effectively and for longer periods of time. The benefits of being able to concentrate more efficiently will affect every part of your life (at home, at school, in public and at work.)
- Less stress- Meditation has been proven to lessen stress in a person, and can also help them better manage stress in the future. It is like a sport, the more you practice the better you get, the better you get, the better you feel. This is because meditation teaches a person to detach from outside annoyances, which are usually not worth getting worked up about, anyway.
- Health- Meditation will improve a person’s overall health- both mentally and physically. Once stress is managed, health improves.
- Knowledge- Meditation offers you a gateway into your mind. It will help you get to better know yourself and will help you improve yourself in the process.
Sam is a first time contributor to the site. He currently meditates everyday in order to deal with the stress he experiences pursuing a degree at Illinois criminal justice schools.