How to Transform Your Life With Meditation in 10 Minutes a Day
Join the ranks of those who have used meditation to improve their daily lives
Meditation offers a wealth of benefits, and even small amounts can have a profound effect on your quality of life. While meditation offers a way to slow down and take a break from the stresses of life, it also contributes to lasting physical and emotional health effects. Here are six ways meditation can transform your life, followed by some sample beginner techniques you can try on your own:
1. Better Brain Health
The brains of meditators have been the subject of numerous studies, and these studies have documented many positive effects of meditation. Some studies have found improved memory, higher neuroplasticity (which can aid the ability to make positive habit changes), better concentration and focus, and improved decision-making as just some of the potential brain health improvements.
2. Improved Mood
Meditation supports the creation of better brain and body chemistry as well, and these effects last after the meditation and throughout the day. Regular meditation triggers the chemistry of well-being, modifying levels of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. The presence of these chemicals leads to a more serene, peaceful and centered disposition, reducing the urge for using addictive substances.
3. Lowered Stress Levels
Meditation helps to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain in charge of triggering the fight or flight mechanism of our nervous systems. This leads to being less prone to being triggered as well as becoming more resourceful and centered in the face of stresses in life.
4. Better Immune System Health
Studies have shown that meditation helps to boost the body’s immune system and ability to fight disease. Counts of both T-cells and lymphocytes (white blood cells) increase every time you meditate.
5. Healthier Blood Pressure Levels and Cardiovascular Health
A 2008 study by Dr. Randy Zusman found that persons with high blood pressure receive profound benefits from a regular meditation program, including the reduced need for blood pressure medication. It is believed this is because meditation promotes relaxation, which in turn helps to increase nitric oxide production in the body, a compound that helps to relax and open the blood vessels.
6. Reduced Cravings and a Healthier Overall Lifestyle
When we’re less stressed and more relaxed, we naturally experience fewer cravings for foods and substances that aren’t good for us. Instead, we’re far more prone to eating healthier and taking care of ourselves. Most persons who meditate regularly naturally experience a reduction in cravings and addictions.
How to Get Started with Meditation
There are a number of different meditation styles for beginners, so if you don’t click with one, try another. The main goal of meditation is to quiet mind chatter (or “the monkey mind”) and become less prone to being taken over by thoughts and emotions.
Meditating regularly is like flexing a muscle for this skill and ability; you gradually become more deeply aware that who you really are transcends thought, emotion and addiction. Meditating allows this true, transcendent part of yourself to grow stronger and take the lead more and more of the time. Your mind becomes like any of your other senses — a servant, not a master.
If you’ve never meditated before, start by counting from one to 10, then back down again from 10 to 1, repeating this process for 10 minutes. It may seem boring and repetitive, but you’ll notice that it has a soothing, centering effect.
Watching the Breath
With this meditation technique, simply focus on the sensation of your breathing. “Watch” (notice) the air flowing in and out of you, into your lungs, and back out through your nostrils. Notice all of the sensations of breathing for 10 minutes. Why is this valuable? Because breathing always takes place in the present moment, and the present moment is beyond the mind, free of its worries and chatter.
Scanning the Body
Once you’ve mastered watching the breath, use this watching/noticing technique to scan your entire body. Bring your awareness gradually from the top of your head to the tips of your toes down the front of your body, then back up again along the back of your body. Scan slowly and mindfully, simply noticing without judgment any sensations in each body part. Again, our bodies exist in the present moment, so this meditation helps to stop the mind from fretting about the past or worrying about the future.
Watching Your Thoughts and Emotions
In this meditation style, strive to tune into the essential part of you that is beyond/preceding any thought or emotion. This is what Buddhists call “True Nature” or “Buddha Mind.” Naturally, the human mind will try to inject its two cents, but simply watch what it does without judgment or reaction. Let it do it’s thing; thoughts and emotions always eventually run their course, and you’ll feel the peaceful, healing stillness of your True Nature even more strongly.
A commitment to meditate for just 10 minutes per day can bring life-changing benefits. Of course, you are free to meditate longer and more often if you wish. Try out these meditation styles to see what meditation can do for you.