Do you have a friend or colleague who always seems to keep a level head even under extreme pressure and at the same time manages to juggle several responsibilities without complaining? Chances are the person is already up to speed with the incredible benefits of morning meditation.
You see, studies have shown that consistent meditation practices have a long term effect on your brain. According to experts, meditation results in increased health benefits, better coping mechanisms, and generally a better outlook on life and relationships. We bet the sound of this already has you ready to jump on the bandwagon.
But hold your horses:
Before you add morning meditation to your routine, it's vital to understand what the practice involves and whether or not it would work for you.
Let's get straight to business:
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is defined as a set of techniques done to encourage an increased state of focused attention and awareness.
Some of the things you should know about meditation include:
Different types of meditation
So, what are the different types of meditation?
Meditation can take many forms. However, all types of meditation fall under two main categories. These are:
This type of meditation includes both mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and mindfulness-based stress therapy (MBST).
Mindfulness meditation practices are different from one session to another because they target various issues such as depression.
An example of a meditation practice that falls in this category is loving-kindness meditation. This type of meditation teaches you to cultivate an attitude of love towards everything around you. This type of meditation leads to reduced anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
Just as its name suggests, this is a type of meditation that requires you to concentrate on one thing while blocking out everything else around you (not as easy as it sounds). Your object of concentration can be an item, your breath, or a mantra. The goal is to get you in a higher state of being.
An example of concentrative meditation is Transcendental Meditation which involves sitting and breathing slowly. Practitioners focus on a mantra chosen by their instructor or practice a mantra of their choice. The goal of Transcendental Meditation is to achieve heightened mindfulness and spiritual experiences.
The Science Behind Meditation
You've probably heard a thing or two about meditation either from your favorite celebrity who swears by morning meditation or on social media because it's become quite a trend.
But have you ever wondered if all the claims you hear have any scientific backing? Isn't it odd that something as simple as staring at an object can cause such incredible benefits?
Let's find out if there's any scientific reason why you should consider morning meditation.
Changes in the brain
One of the changes that scientists have noticed in the brains of people who meditate is higher levels of gyrification -- the folding of the cerebral cortex due to growth.
This change in the brain allows for faster processing of information. Furthermore, scientists suspect that gyrification also makes the brain better at making decisions, improving attention, and forming memories.
If you're always postponing important decisions or frequently have a hard time concentrating, morning meditation may be the solution you need.
Other studies have also linked meditation to an increased cortical thickness which can reduce sensitivity to pain.
If you'd like to be more of a glass-half-full kind of person and have improved focus throughout the day, you'll be happy to know that meditation does that for you as well.
Scientists have noticed an increase in the hippocampal and frontal gray matter density in the brains of people who meditate consistently. The result? These structural differences lead to retention of emotional stability, positive emotions, and mindful behavior.
But meditation doesn't just affect the physical and chemical components of the brain. Studies have also shown that meditation can change the brain's activity. For instance, scientists have noticed a decrease in activity in default mode network activity and connectivity during meditation.
What does this mean?
This decreased activity in the brain deactivates the undesirable brain functions that cause lapses in attention and disorders such as ADHD and ADD.
Establishing a Meditation Routine
As you can see, there are numerous scientifically proven benefits of meditation. But don't reach for your yoga mat just yet. You still need to learn when and how to do it to reap these benefits.
Choosing the right meditation technique for your needs
The first step is selecting the right technique for your needs. Selecting the right meditation technique isn't an exact science. You'll have to try a few methods to find out which one is easy and enjoyable for you.
Also, you have to determine the effectiveness of the technique and whether or not it helps you achieve what you need. Furthermore, make sure the method is practical in terms of time input. That way, you'll be sure you can do it consistently.
The best time to meditate
While it's possible to meditate any time of the day, morning meditation has proven more effective in setting one up for success throughout the day.
Morning Meditation: Why It's the Best Way to Start Your Day
So, why should you meditate in the morning and not any other time of the day? There are plenty of reasons.
A sorted day
Do you find yourself carrying issues that happened the previous day into the next? Can't seem to forget what your wife said during your argument? Would you rather forget everything that happened yesterday and begin on a clean slate?
That's what morning meditation does for you. It allows you to quiet the noise and attain inner piece that has a ripple effect throughout your day.
However, getting a grip on your emotions and learning to move forward won't happen overnight. You need to be consistent in your technique to get to the point where managing stress is natural for you.
You will make better food choices
Have you noticed that you make wrong food choices when you are stressed, upset, or going through a rough patch? After trying morning meditation for a while, you may notice you no longer feel the need to reach out for pizza, ice cream, french fries or any other guilty pleasure you may have.
This change is probably because as aforementioned, meditation helps you deal with stress better.
When you're always stressed about something, or you have a lot of tasks to juggle in a day, it's normal to have headaches from time to time. While morning meditation is not a substitute for medical treatment, it's beneficial for reducing pain associated with headaches.
Therefore, the next time you're tempted to pop a pain reliever for your headache, it might be a good idea to try this natural method first.
Wouldn't it be great to look forward to starting a new day regardless of the challenges you might face? Maintaining a positive attitude is not always easy especially when you have an idea of all the things that could go wrong in your day.
With morning meditation, you'll find that you get into a "flow state" which allows you to be more adaptable to change. The boss takes out his stress on you? No problem. Someone steals your parking spot, and you're running late for work? All good.
Sharper intuitive skills
Another good reason you should consider morning meditation is that it sharpens your intuitive skills. When you wake up, everything is in harmony. You don't have to worry about school, work, or other responsibilities because you've not begun your daily activities yet.
It's during this time that you can nurture the ability to be in harmony with the instinct of what's bad or good for you, nature, and yourself. As a result, you'll be able to make better decisions throughout the day.
Increased mindfulness is also beneficial because it gives you a general sense of wellness and makes you more emotionally balanced. Daily morning meditation will also leave you feeling more present, eager to experience different things throughout the day, and it will make you comfortable in your skin. It will also empower you and make you want to accomplish more in life.
Better stress management
As we've seen, meditation lowers cortisol levels which in turn reduce stress. If you want to set yourself up for an incredible day, morning meditation is the way to go. It will not only leave you happy and feeling more creative but also better your sleep.
Meditation also allows you to deal with negative emotions that may affect your perception of things. Therefore, don't skip that morning meditation routine if you want a calm, stress-free day. It may not happen overnight, but you'll eventually notice a difference in how you feel and handle stressful situations.
No more reliance on caffeine
Do you often rely on coffee to get an energy boost for the day? Most people enjoy starting their day with coffee because it not only boosts energy levels but also improves focus and lessens pain.
But too much caffeine is not good for you. It can cause anxiety, fatigue, muscle breakdown, addiction, and high blood pressure among other things. So how about trying an alternative that will give you all the energy you need for the day without putting your health at risk?
Morning meditation gives you an energy boost, improved focus, and other incredible benefits you need to ace everything that comes your way daily. And the best part? Getting addicted to it isn't a bad thing.
One of the things that can derail your focus is being at loggerheads with a family member, co-worker, or friend. If you're always thinking about an argument, it can be difficult to focus during the day. That's where morning meditation comes in.
Meditation not only allows you to filter out external noises but also makes you more compassionate because it helps in releasing stress. As a result, you'll find that you approach conflict differently and that you can move on past uncomfortable situations and prevent them from affecting your day-to-day responsibilities.
Better driving skills
Another good reason to make morning meditation a part of your daily routine is that it makes you a better driver. Most people who get into accidents do so because they're unable to multitask. The smallest distraction can make them go on the wrong side of the road, thus causing accidents.
Since meditation gives you a better multitasking ability, it might help in making you better equipped at handling different tasks while driving, like watching out for road signs and still keeping track of the vehicles around you to maintain safety.
Find Your Balance and Inner Peace with Morning Meditation
As you can see, meditation is more than just sitting on a yoga mat in a quiet room repeating a mantra. It's very effective and has incredible scientifically proven benefits.
Although you might not notice the benefits of morning meditation as soon as you begin, there's no doubt you'll notice a difference after practicing it consistently for some time. Therefore, don't miss out on these fantastic benefits. Explore your options and choose a meditation routine that works for you. You won't regret making it a part of your morning routine.
Have you tried any meditation technique? Did you notice any changes and would you recommend morning meditation? Please share your views in the comments section below.