In the past 20 years or so, life has thrown me quite a few curve balls. I had to learn to manage my stress levels throughout the events that scarred me for life, but also made me who I am today, a strong, resilient and happy person. My many therapists all offered the same tool to make me stronger, calmer, at peace; meditation. To this day, meditation is part of my daily routine as a way to cope with setbacks, but also as a way to stay close to my heart and connect to my higher self. In today’s article, I wanted to share the unexpected benefits that I have gained from a consistent meditation practice. Here we go!
The Many Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has had a tremendous impact on my wellbeing as the years went by. Before I share some of these benefits with you, I would like to start with a disclaimer. Meditation is not a quick fix. It requires time, involvement and persistance. Surely, after your first session, you will feel calm and quiet, but the more permanent effects of meditation come with consistent practice. But rest assured that the rewards are soon to come if you put in the efforts. Let’s jump in to the benefits!
The main reason why my therapists have proposed meditation as part of my treatment has been to reduce my anxiety levels and to better cope with stress. It is one of the first benefits that I have noticed when I started meditating back in 2011. I have noticed that the consistent practice of meditation has allowed me to react in a calmer demeanor whenever stressful situations occur, and I tend to anticipate stressful events more positively.
Many studies have shown the positive impact of meditation on patients suffering from depression. I would tend to think that meditation allows us to reframe our thoughts, allowing us to see things in a brighter light. Many health practitioners suggest meditation as a way to cope with depression.
Resilience is one of the traits that women in my family tend to have in common. I inherited resilience from my mom, whom probably inherited it from her mom. Our resilience helped us get through tough times and illness and bring ourselves back up after each setback. But one thing that I realized after a year or so of meditation was that the time it took me to spring back up was shorter and shorter, and that my outlook on said setbacks was much more positive and welcoming.
Meditation is the act of bringing our focus to one thing (the breath, the flame of a candle, our body sensations), and keeping this focus for as long as possible. If we shift our focus, we gently bring it back and keep going. In this day and age, with technology going faster and faster, we tend to loose our ability to focus for extended periods of time. Meditation allows us to build our focus muscle and become better at it outside of our meditation sessions.
Better Creative Thinking
Meditating develops new neural pathways, new connections between brain cells that allows us to think more creatively, since we learn to connect ideas in a different way. You will develop this ability more and more as you build your meditation practice. Problem solving will become easier and you’ll find that your ideas are more creative and efficient.
This benefit is probably the more interesting to me, as I have suffered from fibromyalgia since I was a teenager. About a year after I started meditating, I noticed that my pain decreased and that I had developed a stronger tolerance when I’d get flareups. I did not associate meditation with my improved physical condition until recently, when I came across a French book on how to manage pain with meditation and EFT (Emotional Feedback Technique). Reading the book, I realized that my practice over the years had wired my brain to tolerate pain and reframe it so that I no longer felt victimized by it. I learned to accept pain as part of my life, and this new ability lead me to a new wellbeing.
Other health benefits include improved immune system and longevity. I can definitely attest to the improved immune system as I almost never get a cold or any other viruses, but as for longevity, only time will tell :).
In the coming weeks, I will share an easy and effective way for you to start a meditation practice in as short as 5 minutes a day. Have you tried meditating? Share your experience with me in the comments below! Until next time, you can join my mailing list to receive the latest articles right in your inbox and get book recommendations and quotes of the week delivered to you every Friday.
See you next Tuesday!