The practice of Meditation has been around for thousands of years. It was started in India around 5000 BCE. In fact, that’s actually a highly debated fact because there are so many accounts of meditation and seeking alignment and higher existence throughout the world. Everyone wants credit for the foundation.Yet, somehow, today people often dismiss it. They say, “oh yeah, meditation, thats cool” but few take it seriously. If something so simple has managed to still have a place in our world so many years later, is it not simply worth trying? Here is a list of five reasons why you should give it a try.
1. It will only take you 5 minutes.
I know, it’s shocking, right? Five minutes. Less than the amount of time it takes to let your dogs out in the morning. I know this because that is when I first began meditating. I was pregnant, working full-time, trying to avoid stress, and simply exhausted beyond I had ever been. I decided to give it a try in the mornings, when I let my dogs out. And you know what? It helped. A lot. And it literally took me five minutes.
My best advice for people who only have five minutes to dedicate to this new practice is to download the app, Headspace. Within the application is guided meditations of various lengths along with helpful tips and tricks to get you going. It even has options for various goals to focus your meditation on, like happiness, anxiety, or sleep. I am not not affiliated with this app in anyway, it’s just what I used to begin my meditation practice.
2. The most successful people swear by it.
Let me break this down for you. I could write a book with just names on all the successful people in this world that swear by meditation. But it probably wouldn’t even touch on the number of successful people that practice meditation. ITS INSANE.
Here is a few lists for you:
Athletes: Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Ricky Williams, Carli Lloyd, Deena Kastor, Amy Beisel
Actors & Artists: Katy Perry, Hugh Jackmen, Paul McCartney, Kristen Bell, Clint Eastwood, Lady Gaga, Mick Jagger
CEOs & Moguls: Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, Steve Jobs, Kimora Lee Simmons, Arianna Huffington, Jerry Seinfeld, Jeff Weiner, David Long
3. You just might find yourself in the process
One of the things people tell you the most about meditation is how it makes you more happy. The type of meditation shown to do this is the practice of mindfulness. I know what you're thinking. You think I’m going to tell you about such and such study that showed that meditating made 100 more people have more level of “happy” aka cortisol, than the 100 people who didn’t meditate. Well, I could do that, but why? Science has already proven that meditation can alter the SIZE of your brain when practiced regularly. Why does this matter?
Neuroscientist Sara Lazar did a study on the brain that shows that when you practice meditation you SHRINK your amygdala, which is the part of your brain that makes you scared and anxious. If it’s smaller, there is less room for you to become those things. Therefore, more chance of being happy. In addition to this, meditation GROWS your precuneus which according to science, is likely to increase your subjective happiness levels.
4. It literally makes your brain bigger and gain more capacity to learn!
Yes, you have the ability to learn and grow more. Your brain can actually grow to allow you more space for intelligence. Just like the brain can change the growth of areas governing happiness and anxiety, with meditation it can grow your cerebral cortex and the cortical gyrification which help, the part of the brain linked to learning, to accommodate intellect. Your brain is an organ and is malleable just like any other part of you. That is so powerful!
Not only does meditation help you increase your ability to learn and obtain knowledge, it also can increase your fluid intelligence, which is the part of your intelligence measured by IQ tests. A research study conducted by Siegfried Othmer, former president of the neuro-feedback division of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, showed that those who meditated gained an average IQ gain of 23% and that the results were lasting!
5. It boosts your ability to fight memory loss and pain (better than morphine!)
Studies conducted at Yale University showed that mediation is literally better than morphine at fighting pain. In addition, practicing it was shown to “improve memory in studies of people with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and highly stressed caregivers, all of whom are at increased risk for subsequent development of AD” according to the Journal for Alzheimer’s Disease.