How Meditation Helps You Regain Your Natural Power
Meditation has been written about, debated and analyzed in a big way over the past few decades. Lately, more and more scientific evidence is coming to light that shows meditation isn’t some mystical alternative technique used to withdraw one’s self from society, but a tool to help us regain our natural, built-in abilities to heal our minds with awareness and mindfulness in the face of whatever chaos may be present in our lives.
Despite the advances in our scientific understanding, there are many myths about meditation that still run rampant, which skews the overall viewpoint and understanding of the natural power meditation can endow us with. For example, the myth that meditation is too difficult for some people or that it’s reserved only for the holy and purely spiritual sector makes it seem like a walled-off garden that only certain people are allowed to walk through or play in.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Meditation is about allowing your mind and body to reconnect by slowing down and focusing on something specific, be it your breath, repeating a mantra, or another technique. These are things that any human being can do, thus, meditation is an open path that anyone can follow.
Meditation can be religious or spiritual, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. With a proper teacher and a good support system, no matter who you are, you can experience the benefits of meditation as much or as little as you want to.
The Power of a Peaceful Mind
The more you practice meditation, the better you’ll get at it, and the more results you will inevitably see. Wondering what kind of tangible results you’ll get? Based on an 8-week experiment with 24 people, Harvard scientists recently concluded that meditation is so powerful it can alter the physiology of a person’s brain.
Meditation isn’t just a 5, 10 or 45-minute break from your day. When used appropriately as a tool, meditation can help us protect ourselves from the drastically-high stress levels that many of us experience, sometimes on a daily basis.
Coincidentally, because meditation is a natural action, there are no negative side effects like there are associated with the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, giving meditation a big upper hand in the battle against depression and anxiety, which is widespread and continually growing worse in our society.
Consider this – when you want to lose weight or become physically stronger, what do you do? You work out. When you work out with a goal in mind, you use proven techniques, ideally with the help of a personal trainer or a workout partner, to get the type of results you want and logically expect to see. It works the same way with meditation.
When you use meditation properly as a tool, you are essentially working out your mind in order to make it stronger and more adept at handling stress and managing emotions.
Brain scans have shown that the practice of meditation is associated with decreased anxiety and depression, along with an increased tolerance for pain.
Using meditation as a mental workout has been scientifically proven to give us promising results we can feel and see in our bodies by helping us to reconnect our bodies to our minds, and thus learning to focus with intention and gain greater awareness.
Different Types of Meditation
There are numerous different techniques for meditation documented, however, most of them can be classified in two distinct ways: non-directive meditation, where one allows the mind to wander of its own free will, and concentrative meditation, in which one works to suppress random thoughts and direct the mind toward a specific point of thought.
These two categories of meditation have recently been found to produce different effects on the brain. When researchers at the University of Oslo set out to understand more about the different ways meditation affects the brain, they assumed that concentrative meditation, which includes actively focusing on a specific thought, would have been associated with increased brain activity.
However, the researchers were in for a surprise.
The results of the study conducted found that activity in the areas of the brain associated with emotions and memories was significantly increased during non-directive meditation, where thoughts are allowed to flow freely, when compared to focused meditation.
This gives us insight into the fact that developing focus can actually help us calm our minds, whereas a less focused approach may allow our minds to remain more attached to chaotic emotions and memories.
Humans naturally have the power to create a healthier experience for themselves that is not heavily encumbered with stress and anxiety. We can tap into the ability to make ourselves healthier in mind and body even when under stress, but we have to use the right kind of tools to get the best kind of results, with the least amount of negative side effects.
Meditation is a way to do all of this and more.