I started meditation and mindfulness in my early 20’s when I went through a stressful period. For the first time in my life, I had trouble sleeping. Prior to that I was the type of person who could fall asleep anywhere, anytime and I loved sleep. During this short period, it quickly occurred to me how different I was and how my perception of the world changed when I was well rested vs not. I decided I needed to master sleeping.
While I don’t think you can master sleeping, and for me it’s always been a matter of monitoring a variety of things – my diet, stress, stimulants, etc, meditation has hugely improved my sleep quality and has had so many other benefits. I can’t recommend it enough.
Famous media mogul and meditator, Oprah Winfrey, was so impressed by the results that she introduced it in her company. “I brought the teachers of the technique to my company. So we started meditating. Seven of us lead to 70, led to 270, led to now everyone in the company meditates… Nine o’clock in the morning, and 4:30 in the afternoon no matter what is going on, we stop and we meditate. That way of being ‘still’ with ourselves – coming back to the center – and recognizing that something is more important than you, it’s more important than the work you are doing, brings a kind of energy and an intensity of energy, an intention that we have never had before. And you can’t imagine what has happened in the company! People who used to have migraines, don’t. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic. So the one thing I want to continue to do is to center myself everyday, and make that a practice for myself because I am one thousand percent better when I do that, one thousand percent better when I take myself back to something bigger than myself.”
If Oprah’s stamp of approval isn’t enough, here are scientifically-validated reasons you might want to start meditating:
It improves your health – it increases immune function and decreases pain and inflammation
It improves your mental health and happiness – increases positive emotions, decreases anxiety, depression and stress
It improves your ability to have quality sleep
It increases emotional intelligence and in turn social connection
It makes you kinder and more compassionate
It makes you wiser – by slowing down and observing your mind, you realise that thoughts come and go and you don’t have to identify with them or be a slave to them. You will observe that your mind can be dramatic, gets jealous, angry, frustrated and sad, but that those thoughts aren’t you and don’t have to run your life. In short, meditation allows you to become more self aware, a key to success in life.
It makes you feel less lonely
It enhances your willpower and self-control
It improves your ability to regulate your emotions and by doing so allows you to be a lot less reactive in life in ways that don’t serve you
It improves your ability to introspect
It changes your brain in positive ways
It Improves your productivity – it increases your ability to focus & pay attention
It improves your memory
It improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box