Why You Should Start Meditation
There are several and important benefits gained from meditation. Through a daily practice one can find peace and reach a state of relaxation and harmony. In our daily life we are under constant stress, meditation helps to ease the spirit and makes thoughts clearer, calmer and overall more positive.
The cerebral waves in our brain are divided in 4 different activities, expressed in cycles per second (Hz).
- Beta (> 13Hz), issued by the anterior part of the brain, linked to mental activity.
- Alpha (8-1 Hz) , waking state but relaxed
- Theta ( 4 to 8Hz), sleeping state
- Delta (< 4Hz), deep sleep or coma. When we are awake, we receive 13 ideas per second and when we are more relaxed (Alpha) the signal becomes weaker but the oscillations are reduced and the amplitude of the signal is significantly increased. Therefore, when you are relaxed, calm and peaceful your become more focused.
When you are asleep (Theta), the oscillations are diminishing but the amplitude increases, meaning that the mental part of consciousness is at rest and the brain cells receive a massive flux of energy, oxygen and nutrients.
So in a meditative state we have to stay between Theta and Delta – and although we appear to be sleeping – we have effective control of our consciousness.
When the spirit is calm and relaxed, the energy can circulate in an effective manner inside the physical body and heal it. Breath can be deep and flexible, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide more efficiently, which is the key to effective cell replacement.
Meditation is proven to have a strongly positive effect or even heal anxiety, depression and various other mental disorders. Similarly to antidepressant drug therapy, it reduces the grey matter in the brain related to these disorders. A study conducted by the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that when 22 patients with major anxiety disorder were submitted to 3 months regular meditation training significant improvement of the disorder could be observed and for 20 patients saw their symptoms disappear completely.
A regular practice of meditation improves the ability to work under stress. When developing and thickening the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, the performance during information processing tasks designed to induce deadline stress, increases remarkably (UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging).
Individuals adopting a regular meditation practice describe a rising of an inner peace and calm that helps them steer through the stresses of daily life from a more balanced and harmonic place.
How to meditate
Starting with meditation can be scary. Most are worried they won’t be able to keep their thoughts out. However, meditation does not mean one has to be free of any thoughts throughout the entire practice. It’s about recognizing when they arise, examine them and their emotional consequence without judgment or attachment, and then simply let them go. This allows us to explore our thinking patterns and the emotions that go with them. Eventually, it trains us to master our thoughts and emotions and free ourselves from fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, and suffering. Simply start by focusing on something within you. Most traditionally that would be your breath, but you can focus on the sound of your beating heart, the warmth of your hands, a specific energy point in your body (Chakras) or the sounds of nature. When you are more advanced, you can focus on a specific feeling, such as bliss or love, and explore where you feel it in your body and then let yourself be consumed by it.
You don’t have to start with 30 minutes of meditation right away. Start small. Only 5 minutes a day can already make a huge difference in your overall wellbeing. Then, increase it from there step by step. Don’t forget; meditation is inherently a deeply personal experience, so find your own way and don’t let it be defined by how others think you should meditate!