7 days ago
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Seven ways meditation can make you a nicer person
Have you ever gotten home after work and felt like the whole day was a blur? Or snapped at someone for no reason? Do you wake up on Monday mornings and just don’t want to get up? Don’t worry, you’re not alone: It’s all too easy and common to get wrapped up in your daily life, feeling the pressure to do more and get more, without giving yourself the breathing space to just be.
Meditation Relieves Stress: By now, the positive effects of meditation are well-known. Studies have shown that a simple breath-focused meditation lessens anxiety and depression symptoms and boosts self-esteem. It also reduces the activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala, which creates the fight-or-flight response (read: stress). Less stress = more breathing space = less bad moods.
Meditation improves sleep: Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve the quality of your sleep. And we all know that when we don’t get enough sleep we’re not exactly the kindest or most open version of ourselves, right?
Meditation helps you recognize your patterns: Meditation is about becoming aware of your thoughts, then letting them go and returning to the present moment. This is where mindfulness meditation can lead to insight about your thought patterns. While you’re meditating, you might find that your thoughts all have a similar theme, like a song on repeat. But once you become familiar with how you think about things (eg, fixating on something that’s bothering you), then you can make the decision of whether you want to indulge in them or let them go.
Meditation helps you break your patterns: Recognizing your own mental patterns gives you great power. It means you have the opportunity to change that pattern or break that habit. If you can learn to recognize a thought pattern as it’s happening, then you may experience a brief “pause” between that thought and your automatic reaction. That pause gives you the opportunity to choose which path to pursue. The fight-or-flight response — which is reduced by meditation — is all about automatic reactions. You may need fighting and fleeing reactions in an emergency, but they’re not exactly conducive to opening up and connecting with others.
Meditation encourages compassion: One of the key messages of meditation practice is gentleness. Once you learn to be truly gentle with yourself, then that gentleness will extend to others in the form of compassion. There are also some meditation techniques that specifically cultivate compassion, and there are studies that show that these techniques (one popular one is called loving-kindness meditation) really do enhance feelings of connectedness and positivity toward others.
Meditation teaches you to enjoy the moment: Meditation can enhance your senses, allowing you to fully experience whatever it is that you’re doing. When you give yourself time and space to sit and basically do nothing, you notice and appreciate the smaller things: you hear birds chirping, see colors vividly, taste food fully. When I'm living in the present and appreciating the details, that extends to the people around me.
Meditation encourages self-control: Meditation increases activity in the part of the brain associated with self-regulation, or the ability to purposefully direct attention, suppress knee-jerk reactions and adapt behavior to the situation. People who meditate train themselves to come back to the present moment when their minds wander, so they know how to work with distractions and fast-changing conditions. They have practice in regulating their emotions, which can help in tense situations.
- by Republica
- by Republica