Life in this era has become more complex. A lot is happening worldwide, and everyone is trying to catch up. In a bid to stay abreast with the vicissitudes of life, our health gets threatened. Sometimes, our health could get threatened without us being aware. When this happens, stress sets in.
Stress is simply your body’s reaction to changes that affect you. These changes could be emotional, physical, or even psychological. One of the most effective methods of managing stress is meditation.
This article discusses meditation, what happens to the brain when you meditate, how to achieve the maximum result and the challenges you may encounter in meditation.
What is Meditation?
Contrary to popular belief, meditation does not involve keeping your mind empty so that you don’t think about anything. Meditation is not like that; in fact, quite the opposite. A person can achieve a state of calmness both mentally and emotionally through the practice of meditation. This is done by practicing paying attention and being aware. Focusing on a particular thing could be a part of this training. It may seem a bit difficult for someone who has not done this before.
What Happens to Your Brain When You Meditate?
1. Areas of Your Brain That Strengthen Memory and Attention Are Further Developed
Neural connections are how the brain functions. As you repeatedly perform an action, the neural pathway leading to it is strengthened, making it easier for you to access. For instance, when someone first learns to play the guitar, everything appears to be complicated. However, if he persists for about 3 years, he will eventually master it and find it simple. Simply put, it’s because that brain pathway has been established. When you meditate, the same thing takes place. The brain’s learning, memory, and self-awareness pathways evolve over time.
2. Meditation Relaxes Your Sympathetic Nervous System
The fight-or-flight system is another name for this nervous system. The brain is unable to decide whether to fight or run when you are in a dangerous situation. Stress hormones are released whenever there is an apparent threat. A person is said to be stressed when this happens frequently.
You activate the parasympathetic nervous system while meditating, turning off the sympathetic nervous system. Meditation can therefore help lower stress.
The Basic Ways of Meditating Are:
– Observing Your Thoughts
Contrary to popular belief, this approach does things a little differently by allowing thoughts to pass through your mind. Here’s what you do in place of forcing your mind to be empty of all thoughts: As the thoughts arise, tag them and then release them. For example, you might be in the middle of your meditation when you realize that you have only one day left to finish the project you were given. Instead of breaking out in a panic and saying, “I need to go and get back to work, so I don’t fail,” simply label it and continue your journey.
– Focusing on Your Breath
This one is influenced by Buddhist custom. It simply entails paying attention to your breath. You already have something to fixate on when you focus on your breath. Your focus should be on breathing in and out while doing this.
– Body Scanning
Here, as the name suggests, you scan your body. You merely shift your focus from mental thoughts to each individual part of your body, one at a time. Up until you’re finished, you move from one area of your body to another. You can begin by concentrating on one side of your face, then work your way up to your head before moving back down until you have focused on every part of your body. You’ll notice that each time you scan down a specific area of the body, you become aware of sensations that could be pleasant or unpleasant.
You should combine all three of these techniques in order to get the best results while meditating. You must be aware of your thoughts, your breathing, and, eventually, your entire body. You shouldn’t start by scanning your body because it might distract you. Later, you can proceed to that. You should practice concentration, contemplation, and meditation.
The Following Factors Must be Considered as They Will Play a Role in Helping You Achieve the Maximum Result
The first thing to think about is time when beginning a meditation routine and how to make the most of it to reduce stress. You have to be prepared to make the time. It’s not necessary to set out for an hour or two when you set a time. It might only take five or ten minutes, and you can add on from there. The capacity to learn is another crucial element. At different times in our lives, we all pick up new skills. You won’t be able to make any real progress if you don’t acknowledge that you are still a learner in this area.
1. Setting Out Time
A timer could be used for this. It is simpler to do it while using a timer. Although most people meditate in the morning and evening, if you’re just starting out, you can meditate by yourself in the morning. It is crucial to remember that setting aside time each day for meditation can have a significant impact. This is so that when the designated time arrives, your body begins to signal that it’s time to meditate. Over time, your body and mind will align with the designated time.
Just take it one minute at a time when you feel ready to extend the time. Be patient, and don’t rush. The key to this process is not to think about it too much.
In the event that you do not reach your goal, you must learn to be patient with yourself. It’s important to treat yourself nicely. You should celebrate your achievement and all the positive things that come from it, but when you are done, get back to work on improving yourself.
2. A Good Place
Finding a suitable location and making the time to meditate are both crucial. You require a quiet area free from disturbances. A room with every amenity may not be necessary. Just a peaceful area will do. You can keep your mind still by doing this.
Like when you start exercising, you might need to warm up before you start. Yoga poses could be used to warm up. Note that this is not necessary.
The posture you adopt before starting to meditate is crucial. Simply be at ease while sitting on the ground, a chair, a table, etc. The idea is to stand up straight with your spine in a neutral position. This enables proper energy circulation and an even distribution of your body’s weight.
Additionally, you have the option to raise your hands or place them on the floor or on your lap. You can choose whichever feels most comfortable to you. You must feel at ease before you can practice effectively.
5. Your Breath
You may need some practice to get the hang of focusing on your breath, but here’s where to start. Keep your eyes closed and remain in your chosen position. As you take your breaths, think about them. Avoid making any changes to your breathing pattern as much as you can. Use your entire diaphragm, and let it be natural. Just breathe normally, without going too quickly or slowly. You might want to up it once you start to get the hang of it, but don’t!
If it will help you focus, you can decide to keep track of how many breaths you take. Simply labeling thoughts as they arise will allow you to let them go without building on them. When you find yourself drifting, stop yourself right away and start counting your breaths again. It might take some time to accomplish all of this, but with practice, you get better.
6. End of Practice
Don’t just fly off after your meditation session is over. Spend some time thinking about how you felt before starting your meditation and how you felt afterward. Stretch out gradually before standing up.
Challenges You May Encounter
You might have trouble as a beginner trying to meditate to reduce stress. It’s important to remember that everything is a process, and things get better over time. Everyone who practices proper meditation now did not begin by doing so; instead, they all ran into difficulties. Several of these difficulties include:
The same region of the brain that is activated just before falling asleep is also activated during meditation (especially in the beginning phase). By meditating in an unfavorable setting, you can avoid falling asleep. For instance, you can sit while you meditate rather than lying down (which may be tempting). You don’t have to meditate in your bedroom; you can do it somewhere else. Try meditating while keeping your eyes open as well. The first few times you try to meditate while keeping your eyes open will be challenging, but it gets easier with practice. In addition, you can mix it up and try meditating while walking or sitting in a chair.
You would occasionally wonder if you were acting morally or if you were just wasting your time. This is due to the fact that, almost like with anything that begins, changes don’t become apparent right away. You can be confident that you are acting appropriately as long as you continue to meditate. With time, the outcome will speak for itself.
One of the best practices you can use in this day and age when we are constantly being bombarded with activities is to make the most of meditation to reduce stress. One of the natural ways to reduce stress is through meditation; if done correctly, it can help you lead a happy and healthy life.