First of all, what is meditation? It is not incorrect to think that it is a piece of mindfulness that asks for stillness and awareness. However, meditation is much more than the practice of sitting still and being “thoughtless”. Meditation is a mindful process of self-acknowledgement that is nonjudgemental and without a label or connection to our thoughts. It is a pattern of practice which creates communication between you and your mind, then to your mind and body. Our sub-conscious mind produces many thoughts per second but we only connect to a number of these thoughts through our consciousness. Often people are unsure of their ability to meditate as they think so many thoughts throughout the practice. The meditation is not about not having any thoughts but allowing them in with recognition but not attachment so that the meditation is able to continue.
Meditation is a practice for everyone. Meditations can be instructed or guided, done with a group or alone, in a class or at home, in silence or with a mantra. There are a number of outlets to find a meditation style that works for you, your needs, and your level of comfort. But, why bother even with all of these options?
Meditation develops the Meditative, or Neutral, Mind. This is the mind that assesses your purpose through observation of your Negative Mind and Positive Mind. The Negative Mind is reactive and serves as a protective factor that searches for potential dangers in decisions. The Positive Mind is pleasure seeking and is constructive. This is similar to the states of mind used in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The Neutral Mind is most similar to DBT’s Wise Mind which is described as the non-reactive and intuitive way of acting and knowing. It is a development of self-awareness and neutrality between action and reaction.
Here are some of the additional key benefits to meditation:
- Meditation develops a sense of well-being, inner peace, and calmness.
- Forms of meditation can help to improve symptoms of depression and can be maintained with long-term practice.
- Intuition and self-awareness are developed. These developments can help to create the necessary foundations for change.
- Habits of emotional reaction, unconscious habits, fears, and emotional blocks are released.
- The ability to focus our energy to be more self-fulfilling promotes ourselves to be more effective and efficient.
- Many styles of meditation reduce stress and symptoms of stress-triggered medical symptoms.
- The consistent practice of meditation can reduce anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and panic attacks.
- As a result of decreased stress and anxiety, meditation can help to decrease a racing mind that interferes with sleep and can increase sleep quality.
- Meditation can increase the ability to focus.
- The frontal lobe of the forehead is developed, which controls the personality.
- Meditation helps to develop mental focus and discipline which can help to combat addiction and triggers for unwanted impulses.
Meditation in itself is a practice towards improved wellness. When you find that your mind is wandering or creating unwanted thoughts it is an opportunity to learn how to refocus the mind towards presence. There are a number of meditations that can allow you to practice subjects of following your breath, resolving inner conflict, creating emotional balance and calmness, with the list going on and on. As with all mindful practices, the moment is yours to utilize as you see fit. If you are able to feel a shift then the meditation is working in its own way. At times, the meditation may bring up uncomfortable emotions or thoughts which is the subconscious mind providing an opportunity to let go of the thoughts that no longer serve you. Through this awareness true healing is able to occur.
At Nourish Your Mind, we are huge advocates of meditation and mindfulness. If this is an interest of you we welcome you to reach out to learn more on how to connect to a meditation style that works for you. NourishYourMind.com/Appointment