1. Getting To Know Yourself
A misconception about meditation is that it means you have to have no thoughts. This is not true, and at the beginning of your meditation journey this is actually almost impossible. In reality, meditation means to stay focused or concentrated. When thoughts come into our heads, instead of getting lost in them, we start to try and notice what we're thinking about. After a time, maybe we will see some habits and patterns emerging. The more we know ourselves, the more we can help ourselves grow.
2. Major Stress Control
One of the main reasons people meditate is to try and reduce stress. Meditation has been proven to lower cortisol, the primary stress hormone in the body. This hormone puts us in 'fight or flight' mode, which makes it incredibly difficult to relax, particularly after a long day. The act of meditation focuses on our presence and stillness and reminds our brains that we're not in any danger and that if we return back to basics, we can find a calm within us that makes everything more bearable.
3. Fighting Mental Health Demons
At this moment in time we are facing a mental health crisis. With so many people feeling isolated and alone, more people than ever before are suffering from issues such as depression and anxiety. There's been a growing body of research showing that developing a meditation practice helps. Meditation helps to bring the focus back to the present and acts as a distraction from everything else. Mental health problems are no joke, and taking some time for yourself to meditate can have a big impact.
4. Take Some Time To Focus On Self Love
Self-love comes in so many different forms for every person. Sometimes it's taking a long bath, sometimes it's saying no to an event because you'd rather be in bed, and sometimes it's simply doing the dishes. Whatever works for you, it's important to do. Meditation can help us create a loving relationship with ourselves through loving/kindness meditations, for example by repeating the mantra; "May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free from pain." It may sound strange to some, but there's no doubt that our internal monologue plays a big role in our mood.
5. Something New And Different
Meditation can be fun! The traditional form of meditation of sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed isn't the only way. Some meditation involves singing or dancing. Some people meditate using apps that lead you on an imaginary journey. One type of meditation is simply walking barefoot on some grass and noticing how the earth feels under your feet and in-between your toes. Meditation doesn't need to be difficult or boring, it just needs to be focused on the present moment.
6. Finding Connection
Lastly, meditation helps to connect us. In a world full of material objects, Hollywood trends, and Instagram lifestyles, it can feel hard to feel unique, special, or connected to anything. Meditation helps us reconnect to ourselves, and in doing that reconnect with everything. It helps us feel a part of the world around us, the people around us, and the things around us. It puts our experiences into perspective; we're just one human experiencing many of the same things so many people are. We're left feeling a sense of gratitude - however hard things get, there are always things to be thankful for.