Meditation side effects vary for everyone. Meditation can provide your body and mind with a lot of benefits. It’s practiced worldwide for health, well-being, stress management, and more. The great thing about meditation is that it doesn’t take much time out of your day. All you need to meditate is a chair and the motivation to do so. There are many ways to meditate: some people meditate in their homes, while others make use of dedicated meditation spaces or studios. Meditation comes in many forms, but they are all aimed towards the same goal—to quiet the mind and help us be more present in our lives.
What meditation is and isn’t?
What is meditation? Meditation is the practice of training your mind in a way that decreases anxiety, stress and pain. It is a means to gain short-term relaxation and long-term health benefits. Meditation isn’t about achieving certain states of consciousness but about achieving specific ways of being. It involves letting go rather than gaining something. This can be challenging for people who’ve grown up in an achievement-oriented culture, but it’ll also be rewarding and well worth the effort.
Why should you meditate?
The benefits of meditation are vast, and research into its effects is still going strong. For example, recent studies have looked at meditators’ brain activity. It looked at how the practice affects the immune system, and even how it can help people lose weight.
Meditation is a form of training that improves focus and attention. The New York Times calls these abilities “mental fitness.” Meditation can also improve your relationships and make you a more effective leader.
Meditation side effects offer health benefits such as stress reduction, lowered blood pressure and slowed breathing. It also helps to slow down ageing and may even reverse the cellular changes associated with getting older.
The Mayo Clinic reports that stress reduction is one of the most powerful meditation side effects. Stress has physical side effects on your body, including increased blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Meditating helps reduce these symptoms and quiet an overactive mind (which can also be stressful).
Why isn’t my mind quieting down?
One of the most common problems people have when they meditate is that their minds won’t stop. One minute, you’re focused on your breath, the next you’re thinking about groceries or whether you fed the dog.
Trying to quiet your thoughts is like trying to empty a swimming pool with a teaspoon — it’s not going to happen. So instead, you want to learn how to relax and make friends with those thoughts, so they don’t feel so scary.
Trying to control your thoughts while meditating often makes it even more difficult. According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, about 90 percent of people say they experience this “monkey mind” when they meditate.
During my first year of meditation, I definitely did. Every time I tried to quiet my mind, I felt like a rat on a wheel: running and running around with no clear direction or purpose.
Meditation seems to have become synonymous with relaxation, but it’s much more than that in reality. It’s a way of training yourself to focus and pay attention in the moment. That can help you not just relax but also tap into deeper levels of insight and awareness, says Dr. Remez Sasson, a California-based naturopathic physician who teaches meditation at his clinic. When you learn how to quiet your mind and focus on the present moment during meditation, “you are slowly developing the ability to achieve this state at will,” Sasson says.
What happens to your body when you meditate?
You become less stressed. Meditation reduces your stress levels by lowering your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone released by your body in response to stress, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have shown that even three minutes of meditation can reduce cortisol levels by 23%, while longer periods can lower them even further — 39%. What’s more, meditation can actually increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for long-term memory, learning, and emotional regulation. Because of this, it can also improve your mood and relieve depression symptoms and signs of anxiety and panic attacks.
Meditation side effects for the win!
I hope this blog about meditation side effects has encouraged you to learn a bit more about meditation and try it out for yourself. Of course, it is not true that meditation can solve all of your problems or even prevent them. But meditation can indeed enhance your life in numerous ways—some of which you may never have considered. So give it a try, and then see how you feel after a week or two of practice. In the end, you will be the best judge of whether this spiritual practice has had a significant impact on your life.
Curious to dive in but don’t know where to start. The Lucia Light and RE:MIND meditation can help. Book a demo to learn more.