Benefits of Meditation

Ways Meditation Can Help Through Life’s Most Stressful Events

Meditation Silhouette

Did you know that the moving process is considered one of life’s most stressful events? In fact, experts say on that on the stress scale, moving comes right after the death of a loved one and divorce. I found myself believing this statistic last month when it came time for me to move apartments. While I’ve simplified my life a lot in the last few years, moving still seemed like an insurmountable and complicated ordeal. First, there was the stress of finding a new, affordable place to live, then hashing out the situation with roommates, transferring the utilities, boxing everything up, moving it all, and unpacking. And those were just the big stressors – it seemed like there were dozens of other small to-dos that took up a lot of time and energy. To reduce my stress, the practical side of me first hired a cheap moving company I found through this site, but even with them handling some of the trickier logistics, I was still anxious. So naturally, I turned to meditation to calm myself down.

With overwhelming thoughts about finances, family members, and seemingly endless to-do lists, the world can be a stressful place. Whether you’re moving like me or going through something else, letting this stress stay in your mind for extended periods of time can lead to anxiety or depression, which can cause more devastation in your overall health and well-being as well. To let go of your worries, it can be beneficial to try meditation practices to calm your senses. And to help, here are a few ways that meditation can guide you through life’s most stressful events.

Stop Obsessive Thoughts

When an event or circumstance causes you stress, it can be hard not to dwell on things. But going over a situation again and again in your mind can increase the anxiety and panic that you already feel. To counteract this process, it can be helpful to practice meditation. Meditation can end the cycle of negative thoughts by training the mind to push them away. This practice is done by allowing the mind to wander for a few minutes, refocusing on a mantra or phrase, and pushing all other thoughts out of mind. It can take a lot of concentration at first, but over time, can be a natural and healthy way to end obsessing thinking habits.

Increase Inner Peace

Once you’re able to block out negative thoughts in a situation or circumstance successfully, you can be free to focus on other daily activities in life without feeling sad or upset. You can have the ability to see positive traits in others as well as yourself and can start improving the relationships that you have with family, friends, or coworkers. Events that once caused you stress and anxiety can be much easier to handle, and whether you encounter money problems, home theft, or a broken relationship, you can find peace and calm through a state of mind that isn’t dependent on outside factors.

Meditation can help you remain calm throughout stressful or chaotic situations.

Meditation can help you remain calm throughout stressful or chaotic situations.

Let Go of Control

Most of the stressful events that happen in our lives are out of our control and can’t be changed or stopped. Instead of focusing on what can’t be restored or wasn’t meant to be, it’s best to release your grip on control during tough situations. Meditating on a daily basis can help to detach dominating thoughts of control in your mind and can replace them with perspective. Meditation can also help you to stop blaming yourself or others for outside circumstances and to move on in a healthy and positive way.

Create Simple Goals

Finally, getting through a tough time can be easier by setting a few simple goals.Through meditation practices, achieving goals amidst stress and chaos can be possible. First, choose a mantra for each goal and use it during your meditation session, reflecting on either financial prosperity, a successful promotion, or any other target that you’re working towards. Then, repeat the mantra to help you visualize a successful outcome for your life. Working towards your goals in this way can give you clarity on what’s happening around you, as repetitive negative thoughts can make it hard to focus or concentrate on the truth.

The 12 Steps of Meditation

Shoreline

Mindful meditation can have a positive impact on how we live our daily lives and can create a closer relationship with nature, a deeper connection with others, and a more relaxed sense of well-being. For a complete guide to achieving a proper mediation session, here are 12-steps to follow and practice.

Step 1

Become aware of the suffering and pain that comes from unmindful behavior. Think through the Four Noble Truths and Five Hindrances, which can help you understand suffering and how to overcome the obstacles to meditation.

Step 2

Use concentration and mindfulness to strengthen your powers of observation, which can help you understand life and reality. Take time to learn how to become more observant of yourself and your surroundings.

Step 3

Calm your mind. Accept your brain’s activities, thoughts, and patterns for what they are and calm yourself by focusing on single thoughts at a time.

Step 4

Find an environment that works for you. Whether it’s in your home, office, backyard, or local park, the right kind of setting can help you meditate better and focus on your mindfulness.

Be it a busy city park or inside your home, find the best environment for you.

Be it a busy city park or inside your home, find the best environment for you.

Step 5

Practice meditation regularly. Figure out which times of the day work well for you and schedule sessions every week. The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to gravitate towards mindfulness out of habit.

Step 6

Tracking your meditation habits with a journal so that you can stick to your practice goals. You’ll also be able to look back on your progress and see how far you’ve come.

Step 7

Work with others to further your development. Other people can be a helpful resource for spiritual development and can speed up your meditation progress.

Step 8

Practice forgiveness, listening, and mindful speech so that you can grow harmony and peace in your life. This process can help you understand that behavior impacts both spiritual progress and your relationships with others.

Try practicing meditation with others to help your technique and progress.

Try practicing meditation with others to help your technique and progress.

Step 9

Work and live in a spiritual community so that you can progress and help others along the way. By participating in meditation with others, you can find solidarity, connection, and appreciation for different mindfulness techniques.

Step 10

Practice mindful consumption by eating a healthy diet with proper nutrition. Since eating habits can affect your meditation practice either positively or negatively, It’s important to value your physical self as well as your mental self.

Step 11

Obtain strength, courage, and mindfulness through meditation to help you overcome your past. Reflect on forgiving those who’ve wronged you and find your ability to press on.

Step 12

Finally, mentor others in their meditation practice. By assisting those around you, you can experience one of the most rewarding parts of mindfulness meditation: improving your spiritual journey as you work on the journeys of others.

Science Benefits of Meditation

Meditation

Depending on who you ask, the word “meditation” can mean many different things. An intellectual might say that meditation is a way to focus the mind for more productive thinking, while a monk might say that meditation is a method that taps into compassion and universal connection. But to a scientist, meditation remains somewhat of a research mystery, other than the evidence that it can benefit both the mind and body. For those of you who are interested in the scientific benefits of meditation, here are a few proven facts.

Pain Tolerance/Reduction

‘Mindfulness’ meditation is a method that involves maintaining a focused mental state and has shown positive results for pain reduction in patients. According to the National Institutes of Health, the key link between mindfulness meditation and lowering a patient’s pain level is by altering their subjective experience through practice. In other words, meditation can help you lift temporary or chronic pain if you can learn to shift your focus from it.

Meditation can help you tolerate or reduce pain levels.

Meditation can help you tolerate or reduce pain levels.

Anxiety and Depression

Approximately 18 percent of adults today suffer from anxiety, which can also lead to depression, and many would like an alternative solution to medication (as medication can cause harmful side effects). As reported by the General Hospital Psychiatry, anxious and depressed patients described an improvement in their mental state after undergoing 8-weeks of meditation. Those who suffered from panic attacks also noted progress in the severity and frequency of their attacks after sessions of focus and mindful practice. And for patients who continued their meditation strategies, positive recovery in both mood and mental state was reported to have improved.

Meditation Can Make You Smarter

Regular meditation sessions can significantly improve the amount of gray matter (the areas where nerve cells and connections are particularly dense) in your brain through neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to change itself in response to its environment. By practicing your focus along with mindful techniques, you can balance out the hemispheric activity in your brain (called “whole brain synchronization”), encourage your brain to produce more positive and focused brainwave activity, improve short and long-term memory, and aid creative thought. In a nutshell, meditation can strengthen your brain in the same way that exercise can strengthen your muscles.

While all of these discoveries are exciting, scientists are continuing to study the act of meditation to develop more effective treatments that can provide a greater quality of life for patients. And when used daily, meditation is also a continuing interest in improving the overall health, mood, and connection in individuals.