By Sejal Shah
Meditation, simply put, is nothing but mental hygiene: clearing out the daily mental garbage and junk so that you can get in touch with your real Self and tune up your talents and skills. Think about it--you shower every day and clean your body, but do you ever shower your mind? An unshowered mind can smell as filthy as an unshowered body, maybe even more. But if you shower your mind with meditation, you'll feel clearer and see things with a wider perspective and spread peaceful vibes.
Although meditation has been around for centuries, it is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people discover its wide-ranging benefits. Meditation does everything from improving your health, helping you sleep better, and improving your mood to increasing emotional resilience and sharpening your focus. The purpose of meditation can be different for different individuals.
In today’s fast-paced, modern world, when you already feel short of time, you might wonder why meditate, and whether meditation can help you. If you have been feeling in low spirits, or nothing seems to be going your way, your mind and body could be trying to tell you that meditation is needed in your life.
Listen to your mind and body. If you’re receiving any of these 25 signs, it may be time to start, ramp up, or recommit to your meditation practice.
1. You feel exhausted and tired all the time.
'Why am I so tired?' was one of the 10 most-Googled health questions in 2017. This hints to just how many of us feel dogged by fatigue. A few minutes of meditation can leave you feeling more energized and rejuvenated. Try one of these 12 online free guided meditationsand you’ll be feeling more energized in no time.
2. You have repeated attacks of colds and the flu.
If you’re suffering from a lot of colds and flu, it’s a good indication that your immunity is low. According to research, meditation can help strengthen your immune system to help you fight infections better.
3. You’re constantly achy.
Constant aches and pains without any pathological basis is a sign of tension and stress. You may not find relief from over-the-counter medications, but a few minutes of regular meditation can help you become pain-free.
4. It feels like you’re always short of time.
If you keep feeling that you have too much in your hands, your calendar is always full, your day begins very early and ends too late, and there is very little time to do what you really want to do, meditation can help you find balance. While finding time to meditate may seem like an extra burden, the boost that meditation gives to your mental well-being may help you get everything else done faster and better.
5. You scowl a lot.
“A child smiles naturally 400 times a day, an adolescent smiles 17 times, and an adult does not smile at all,” says meditation Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This is because babies are stress-free. The purpose of yoga and meditation is to put a smile on our face, in spite of all the stress and tension we face in our day-to-day life.
6. You cry often.
If you find yourself tearing up at the slightest provocation, small failure, or setback, work pressure, or somebody’s minor opinions or criticism of you, meditation can help you become more emotionally resilient. You might be wondering why certain people are always smiling and laughing when you seem to be sad all the time--maybe they’re practicing meditation!
7. You either brood and analyze or plan and fantasize too much.
You find yourself caught up in past regrets or making future plans, either feeling bitter, angry, or anxious and worried. Overactive mind is a sign of stress. Meditation is known to bring the mind into the present moment and give you the ability to enjoy the moment as is.
8. You struggle even to make simple decisions.
When you find yourself asking either your spouse or friend to take small everyday decisions like what to wear, which restaurant to go to, which coffee to order, or what food to make, meditation can help you become more confident in what you want.
9. You feel overwhelmed for no reason.
Small things start overwhelming you, and you’re always worrying about how you’ll fit in everything you need to do today! Meditation helps calm your mind, organize your thoughts, and tackle your day with confidence.
10. You feel that there is a never ending workload.
Every morning you wake up dreading your workload, and the pile of work on your desk or in your home seems to multiply no matter what you do. Your deadlines start scaring you and you feel that you can't cope. Meditation can help improve your ability to multitask, and also improve your observation, perception, and expressions, helping you be more efficient and effective in what you do.
11. You experience too many mood swings.
You find yourself seated in the roller-coaster ride of your mind, rapidly going up and down, feeling very happy and excited and then suddenly sad and depressed the next moment. Meditation is great for emotional regulation and can help you manage your mood swings.
12. You’re easily distracted.
In this era of social media, it is very easy to get distracted, and remaining focussed is a great challenge. If you find yourself having no control over your social media or any other such distractions, meditation can help you remained focused and centered. Meditation improves your focus to help you manage your life with peace of mind rather than pieces of mind scattered here and there.
13. You experience bouts of depression.
If you very often feel a generalized low feeling, this could be a sign of non-clinical or clinical depression. Meditation can help alleviate symptoms of both. A simple and effortless technique of Sahaj Samadhi Meditation has proven to reduce late-life depression, according to CTV News.
14. You are anxious and worried most of the time.
If you’re constantly being told that you need to calm down or relax, meditation can be a great chill pill to help you bring that nervous energy down a few notches.
15. You make quick judgments about people.
It’s common courtesy to not judge others, but sometimes, even though we know that, it’s hard to put into practice. Meditation helps to keep your mind open and increases your empathy and compassion, so that you have better control over your instincts to quickly judge people.
16. You find that you’re lacking problem-solving skills.
Meditation improves your ability to be creative and think outside the box. It also helps increase your self-awareness, and keeps your mind calm and collected, so that you can find new perspectives to look at your problem and solve it effectively.
17. You keep wondering “What’s the point of all this?”
Life is complex and sometimes it feels like a constant struggle and you have no enthusiasm left. You start wondering whether all your painstaking efforts are even worthwhile! This is exactly a time to shut down everything and pause and just be and allow meditation to help bring back the spark and the joy.
18. You keep looking for a change.
Do you find yourself bored with your daily routine? Add a few minutes of meditation to your day, and you may find that your schedule is more refreshing than ever before.
19. You get angry for no reason.
Meditation puts you in better control of your anger and enables you to respond to triggering situations with mindfulness, rather than to impulsively react.
20. You're stressed out beyond your imagination.
Sometimes you are put in a situation that demands that you’re on your toes constantly, and you're just plain stressed. One of meditation’s most famous and well-researched benefits is reduced stress. Making sure to spend just a few minutes meditating and taking care of your mind, body, and spirit will allow you to be more happy and energetic.
21. You have high blood pressure.
Meditation has been proven to lower your blood pressure, says Joel Kahn, M.D.cardiologist and best-selling author.
22. You suffer from insomnia or sleeplessness.
If you can’t get to bed on time, or find that you can’t fall asleep until late, or that your sleep quality is poor, you may want to start meditating. Meditation can help relax your body, releasing tension and placing you in a peaceful sleep. SKY meditation has shown to reduce insomnia significantly.
23. You feel lonely.
You may think meditation is a solo activity. It may be solitary (unless you are meditating in a group), but it actually increases your sense of connection to others by nurturing emotional intelligence and social connection, improving your social life.
24. You suffer from PMS.
90% of women during the days leading up to their menses report experiencing challenging physical and emotional changes, from increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, and appetite changes, to full-blown depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Luckily, meditation has been found to help women manage their symptoms.
25. Your sex life needs a boost.
By improving empathy, meditation can help you to connect with your partner at a deeper level and thus improve your sexual relationship too.
Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. No wonder meditation retreats and meditation meetups are increasing in popularity every day. There is a great variety of styles, too, each with different strengths and benefits. Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.
You can meditate anywhere, without special equipment or memberships, but if you need help overcoming resistance to meditation, getting started, feel supported by a big community of meditators or if you’re looking to enrich your established meditation practice, the Journey Web App offers an inspiring variety of guided meditations for all levels: there’s something for everyone, including a program to find your personal meditation technique. Sign up now and try out, it offers a limited time free trial.
Make meditation part of your life, and start reaping the physical, mental and emotional benefits. Science says it takes only 40 days to develop new habits. For the next 40 days, commit yourself to daily meditation and see the difference for yourself.
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Author: Sejal Shah
Sejal Shah, E-YRT 500 Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, YACEP, Art of Living Teacher, NYU Post Graduate Medical School approved Yoga-CME retreat facilitator, Mind-Body Wellness Writer, Homeopath