Meditating is arguably one of the most relaxing endeavors, with amazing health benefits. So why don’t we all do it, everyday? Perhaps for most of us, meditating feels like another task on our list that we are already so overwhelmed with. What if I told you that meditating is more about letting go and being, than it is about adding work and doing?
Close your eyes and let go of every stress that is currently traipsing across your mind. Let go of the day you just had, the day you have to have, and the day you are currently having. Let go of expectations and pressures. Let go of who others think you should be, who you feel you need to be, and who you feel like you’re not being. Just be who you are.
Picture this: you have 20 minutes where you don’t have to think about anything. You don’t have to be anyone or anything. You don’t have to perform or try. You can just let go in these next 20 minutes. In fact, you are encouraged to clear your mind and think about absolutely nothing. This is meditation, and it is an extremely powerful tool for your mental health and overall well-being.
Upon hearing the benefits of meditation, a lot of people believe it to be another chore to add to the never ending list. You know, the list you don’t actually get to unless you are given a month long vacation. My goal is to let meditation do the talking, and show you just how easy it is to feel so balanced.
Benefits of Meditation
The brain is powerful! It has a strong capability of healing itself and carving new thoughts. This is called neuroplasticity, or “The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.” Once we think a certain thought, our brains can so easily go down the same thought pattern, or the path of least resistance. Meditation allows us to sit with our thoughts, calm our nervous system, and carve new pathways.
How can we know how to love, sit with, listen, and empathize with others if we don’t do the same for ourselves. It is so powerful when we learn to sit with ourselves and get to know who we are. The more we cultivate time to be alone with our thoughts, the more comfortable and loving we become with who we are. The more comfortable and loving we become with who we are, the more love and connection we can share with each other. *Cue a circle of you and your closest friends singing Kumbaya*
Meditation also speaks to our ability to have patience with ourselves and others. While letting go is what it takes, you have to be willing to sit for 20 minutes. Can you sit with what seems to be sitting with you? This ability to calm your nervous system and regulate your emotions is extremely helpful when it comes to anger and frustration. While meditation can clear your mind and promote mental balance, your willingness to be present with those difficult feelings and emotions can also speak to your ability to sit with others in their feelings and emotions as well.
Regulating your emotions and calming your heightened or stressed nervous system are just a few of the emotional, mental, and social benefits of meditation. But did you know it can positively affect your sleep and digestion? The body is one system made up of many entities that all work together. Meditating taps into the calm we need to sleep optimally, digest properly, and relax easily. The less stressed we are, the better we function overall.
Meditation is Easily Accessible
The benefits of meditation are easily accessible to everyone. Take a minute away from your work computer to breathe and center yourself. Step away from a stressful family event into the bathroom. Set a timer for 2 minutes and breathe diaphragmatically. Time capsule your thoughts, frustrations, and stress as you let go of everything in your mind. Better yet, make it a daily routine. Whether it is starting your day out with 2 minutes of intentional meditation or meditating as you wind down before bed, bringing this type of balance to your life will positively impact your mental, physical, and emotional health.
All in all, meditation is more about letting go than it is about adding another to-do to your life. It is an offer to healthy emotionality for yourself and for others, and an easily attainable sense of balance. Ron Swanson understood this without actually understanding, and we couldn’t agree more with how simple meditating is while offering big results. In the words of Ron Swanson,
“All told we were in there about six hours and no I was not meditating. I just stood there quietly breathing. There were no thoughts in my head whatsoever. My mind was blank. I don’t know what the hell these other crack pots are doing.”