Everyone can picture a meditation session in their head: a person sitting cross-legged, hands on their knees, eyes closed and quietly humming “ohm”. But it’s more than just a way of relaxing or an easy-to-imitate activity – meditation can help you unlock your true potential.
That’s because meditation, when combined with the practice of mindfulness, can help you diffuse the negativity that’s bringing you down. The two terms mean slightly different things: meditation is the actual action of setting time aside for yourself to do something special for you, while mindfulness is a boosted awareness for the world around you. Together, they’re a powerful tool for self-improvement. Here are six ways they can help you be the best version of yourself:
- It’ll Help You Overcome a Break-Up
The holidays are notoriously tough times for relationships. The stress of family meals, gift-buying and conversations about your future as a couple can cause you and your loved one to part ways mid-season, which will undoubtedly leave you feeling even more tension, distress and negativity.
But meditation is a powerful tool in the fight against stress, whether it’s post-break-up stress, work stress, financial stress or any other kind of situation that’s bringing you down. Meditation gives you the tools to dismantle your negative feelings and put a positive spin on whatever it is that’s weighing you down. With time, you’ll feel completely in control of your emotions because you know how to fix them on your own. That’s a really empowering feeling, especially after a break-up. Spoiler alert: you just might find you’re better off on your own anyway.
- It’ll Make You a Better Employee
Racing thoughts make for a distracted mind, which, in turn, makes it tough for you to focus at work. But multiple studies have shown that a meditation practice gives you the tools to concentrate like you never have before. You’ll be more focused and you’ll remember things more clearly. You’ll also find yourself better able to multitask because your head won’t be so jumbled with distracting extraneous thoughts.
- It Can Help You Kick Bad Habits
Knowing your mind and body better helps you understand what you need to be healthy both mentally and physically. As such, many regular meditators have found that they no longer want to eat processed, unnatural foods because they don’t want those types of substances in their system. The same goes for drugs and alcohol, which can also damage and even destroy the body over time.
In fact, meditation is a powerful tool when it comes to recovery from addiction. Simply learning to relax and understand a feeling or thought you’re having can help you avoid a relapse: feeling upset or unsettled are often grounds to start using again. Meditation also helps recovering addicts to understand and accept their past choices, which can be a cathartic way of recovering.
- It’ll Make You Physically Feel Better
So many of the mental benefits of meditation are touted before the physical effects it can have, but they’re also noteworthy. Because meditation helps your body ease into relaxation, it’s been found to be a great tool in improving cardiovascular health in patients previously threatened by high blood pressure. Some devotees have even been able to stop using their blood pressure medication altogether, thanks to regular, relaxing meditation.
Other regular meditators say that they’ve noticed an improvement in their immune systems, too. A study published in 2011 backed up both of these assertions and found that meditation can make your mind more clear and focused.
- It’ll Make You Kinder
So much of meditation is designed to make you feel self-love from the inside out (even more on that later, too). But extended practice has also helped meditators to share that kindness with others, thus making them better people all around.
In time, some are even able to transfer that kindness into forgiveness for those who they have cut from their lives. Once that grudge is gone — and all the negativity that came with it — are gone from your life, there’s no doubt you’ll be a lighter, happier, better version of you.
- It’ll Make You More Confident In Who You Are
Meditation helps you to pinpoint why you’re feeling a certain way. In delving deep into your own thoughts and feelings, you’ll understand yourself better. And, chances are, with that level of understanding, you’ll like yourself even more than you do now.
Once you’re more in tune and in love with who you are as a person, you won’t be afraid to show it to the world around you, either. With regular meditation, then, you might just find that you’re more confident in who you are than you ever have been, and you deserve to be: you love you, so why wouldn’t the rest of the world?
These are only six of the many, many ways that mindfulness and meditation can make you the best version of yourself. The only thing left to do now is to get started and see how much you’re truly capable of after including a quiet, thoughtful ritual into your everyday routine.