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Here in the west, an eastern practice like meditation is never going to be treated with the same respect as a drug-based solution. That’s not to say meditation is a purely eastern practice, all religions have some vein of it running through them to some extent, however, it’s most prevalent in Buddhism, and western medicine has always been loath to adopt less mainstream ideas about healing. This will definitely have factored in to the many studies on its efficacy.
Who Uses Meditation
Picture in your head the traditional western practitioner of meditation. I’m willing to bet you’re seeing a skinny, dreadlocked, hippie guy, talking about his gap year in Peru. Am I right? That is a negative stereotype associated with meditation, it’s true, but if you read some of Tim Ferris’s writing, you’ll find that many of the most successful men and women on the planet practice some form of transcendental meditation every single day. In his book ‘Tools of Titans’, Ferris states that roughly 80% of the exemplary, industry-dominating figures he interviewed meditated.
We’re talking billionaires, famous filmmakers, gold medal athletes and tech geniuses. Meditation has been shown time and time again to help virtually anyone clear their mind, focus themselves, and get what they need to get done, done. Happiness comes from feeling like you’re moving in the right direction in life. Happiness is contentment, and unless you’re motivated, focused and in control, you’re not going to be all that content.
Do I Have to Become a Monk?
No, but it’d be cool if you did! Jokes aside, for meditation to work you need one thing, and that thing is consistency. Sure, you can work hard at it, and cajole yourself into meditating for three hours every single morning, and you’d see some pretty incredible changes, but no one can keep that up for long. That’s why it makes far more sense to meditate a little, every single day. Even just ten minutes in the morning, after your morning stretch, before hitting the shower, can have a ton of benefits from mental clarity to better moods.
For meditation to work you need one thing, and that thing is consistency.
There are lots of different types of meditation out there too. From Pranayama and other forms of Ancient Buddhist meditation, to yoga based meditation, transcendental meditation, and more modern forms, like Wim Hof’s teachings, there’s a ton of different styles, types and ideas out there.
There’s a lot of different options out there for you to try, but it all comes down to the same basic principles. Breathing, self-discipline, consistency and self-awareness. Even ten minutes on the lounge floor in the mornings, clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and focusing on your energies can be hugely beneficial, but from there you can explore all the different kinds of meditation and their individual focuses.
There are tons of meditation and mindfulness apps out there too, fully bringing us up into the 21st Century! Meditation doesn’t have to be vague and difficult to pin down, you can track your progress, growth and number of times you manage to get it done through android and iOS apps. Our app analyze.life is a great happiness and mindfulness tracking software that can really allow you to get on top of your mind, body and life.
What Else Can Meditation Do?
Motivation and general mood is always going to be the big one. Just imagine how much more you’d get done in your home life, career and hobbies if you were more focused, centred and ready to work, more of the time. It can boost you into overdrive, without exhausting you, by taking all the energy you were wasting thinking about irrelevant things, procrastinating or doing unimportant tasks, and allowing you to pour all that into something you really care about.
Mental wellbeing is another big one. Obviously, meditation and mindfulness are commonly used as a treatment for all manner of mental health disorders and issues, but you don’t have to be really suffering to benefit. It can serve as a preventative measure, keeping you strong, secure and balanced in your mind against potentially damaging scenarios and periods in your life. Who doesn’t want to be a little more consistent in their moods and happiness?
Meditation and mindfulness are commonly used as a treatment for mental health issues, but you don’t have to be suffering to benefit. It can serve as a preventative measure, keeping you strong, secure and balanced
Lastly there’s physical wellbeing. There’s tons of anecdotal evidence about how a positive mind set can help improve your body’s ability to heal and adapt to different challenges and injuries. Breathing exercises, like those utilised by Wim Hof, can allow you to push your body far beyond your perceived limitations. Finally, proper meditation can allow you to sleep fantastically well, and as they say, sleep is the best healer. It’s where our body repairs itself, and our mind restores and replenishes for the new day ahead. Optimising sleep will help you optimise your body, and mind, and meditation can help you get there.