Swami Vivekananda laid great stress on practising meditation as it brings one closer to another and increases the power of mind. He believed in the prominent role of concentration of mind for acquisition of wisdom. He said— “concentration is the essence of all knowledge”. He was responsible for introducing the Western world to meditation and Yoga.
The studies on meditation generally focus on a broad type of meditation that could be called mindfulness which simply means keeping one’s thoughts focused on awareness of a single thing or moment. It could be your breath (a typical point of focus in meditation), or it could be a single image, word, or emotion.
It sounds simple, but when you try it, you realize how much your mind wants to jump around, that’s okay. Meditation is all about focusing your attention, tapping into your awareness and observing your experiences without judgement. It’s a practice that allows you to train your mind.
Hundreds of studies have demonstrated the profound effects meditation can have on an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. For individual progressing towards success, meditation can be a transformational practice as well as a moral imperative.
Here are 11 ways meditation benefits can improve your life and make you reach those big goals.
11 ways meditation helps to attain success.
1. It reduces stress
Much of our stress comes from too much input and a lack of time or tools in handling the input. We take in information and build emotions, and we get overloaded. Our brains don’t know what to handle first, so they just keep cycling through all the information.
Meditation helps your brain to let things slide away by simply giving it time to rest and meander through the information, bit by bit, letting go of what is unimportant.
2. It grows your brain.
Meditation it actually grows your brain too. Neuroplasticity is the change in the brain’s structure as a consequence of experience. Brain scientists used to believe that once the brain was fully developed, it stopped growing. The discovery of neuroplasticity changed that belief.
Meditation is like strength and fitness training for the brain. Studies show that in just eight weeks, meditation helps grow gray matter. It increases the elasticity of your brain.
3. It increases your Emotional Intelligence.
With this increased awareness, you can learn about your emotional responses and how to better control them. Improving your emotional regulation is the cornerstone of developing greater emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the defining factor in outperforming leaders. It’s not about how “smart” you are—that’s called cognitive intelligence or logical-mathematical intelligence (in multiple intelligence theory).
Every individual pursuing towards success are usually smart but only a minority have a high degree of self awareness, who can accurately perceive what they and others are feeling. Only a few can consciously regulate their emotions without suppressing them. And only a few have the competency to manage the emotions of others. These emotionally-intelligent person outperform their peers through meditation.
4. It improves skills.
Meditation can also greatly improve your interpersonal relationships both inside and outside your organization.
In addition to greater emotional regulation and empathy, studies show that meditation can make you a more compassionate person. With greater compassion comes more understanding and less interpersonal conflict.
You can also improve your ability to resolve conflict between others, something many individual struggles with.
5. It increases connectedness and empathy.
Feeling a little disconnected from those around you? Try compassion meditation. Loving kindess meditation (sometimes called Metta) is a compassion-based meditation that enhances brain areas associated with mental processing and empathy. It also increases your sense of social connectedness. Not a hugging person? You just might become one after trying metta!
6. It makes you more resourceful.
Meditation also makes you a more resourceful and competent individual. It has proven to increase creativity in the form of divergent thinking. That is, certain forms of meditation can help you generate more ideas.
Meditation is a key to higher performance as it improves your focus through the regulation of attention. Distraction and multitasking are common themes for chief executives—both of which destroy focus and reduce performance. Within eight weeks of mind training, you can begin taking better control of your attention.
Speaking of control, we all struggle with impulse control in one form or another. We all have disempowering habits we’d like to change. We can all benefit from a lift in our level of willpower.
7. It increases the sense of well-being.
Mindfulness meditation increases your psychological functioning and in the process improves your sense of well-being. Yoga and tai chi have been found to do this also – according to studies, they have significant therapeutic effects and increase quality of life when practiced regularly.
8. It improves your ability to make decisions.
Studies have found that both mindfulness meditation and Transcendental Meditation help you make better decisions by improving the functioning of your brain’s decision-making centers. If you want to start cultivating your inner executive, give meditation a try.
9. It takes you toward enlightenment.
Traditionally, the goal of meditation is to reach Enlightenment, or a state of perfect happiness and understanding. Can you reach enlightenment by meditating? Who’s to say? Many people say yes, although science still doesn’t have an answer. If you’re curious, there is a podcast dedicated to interviewing people who claim to have reached some stage of enlightenment called Buddha at the Gas Pump.
10. It reduces anxiety and depression.
Meditation can help you feel connected and handle stress, but what about an ongoing anxiety disorder? What about overwhelming negative feelings or that debilitating sense of depression?
Well, a study done on high school students showed that a mindfulness and meditation benefits could help a lot with both: students who stuck with a mindfulness program “exhibited decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression both immediately after and six months after the program”.
11. It helps fight disease and stay healthier.
Meditation benefits can be useful for both the brain and body. Being able to handle stress better can reduce its impact on your body, which can decrease symptoms and physical aggravation of various health issues, including chronic pain.
Believe it or not, a variety of different types of meditation, from mindfulness to yoga, have been shown to strengthen the human immune system and make you more resistant to viruses and infections.