Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is for everyone, not just monks and gurus. Meditation is an easy to learn technique used to improve physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It requires no effort except to sit quietly and allow the mind to become calm and quiet. There are many benefits of meditation… physically, emotionally, and mentally.  The technique can change your life for the better. It’s so easy and yet so powerful.

At the end of the day, I can end up just totally wacky, because I’ve made mountains out of molehills. With meditation, I can keep them as molehills.” Ringo Starr

More about meditation:


Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment rather than allowing the mind to jump from one thought to another. Most of our thoughts are of the past or of the future.  It’s not necessary to “control” your thoughts during meditation; just notice when your mind wanders, and gently bring your attention back to the now moment.

Where and how?

Most beginners worry about how or where to meditate, but it’s a simple procedure anyone can do almost anywhere sitting, standing, kneeling, or lying down. There are even walking meditations. It’s most commonly practiced sitting upright, with eyes closed, in a chair with feet flat on the floor and hands resting on the knees, or sitting upright on the floor or on a pillow with legs crossed and hands open outward on the knees. There is no one perfect or absolutely right way to meditate.

Busy minds

Our minds are busy, often called “monkey minds” among meditators, for jumping from one thought to another. As one learns to let go of unguided mind talk, the body relaxes.  Meditation has a calming effect, reducing stress.

Focusing on the breath

Following the breath is an easy way to start practice. Focus on breathing in and breathing out. Try counting your breaths as you breathe in through your nose slowly and fully, and again as you breathe out. Do this several times and then resume a normal breathing pattern. This has a calming, quieting effect.

It gets easier

It’s normal for your mind to wander. As you notice the wandering, gently bring your attention back to your breath. It may take a while before you’re good at it. Meditation isn’t about stopping thoughts altogether, even though that can happen.

Focusing on objects

When focusing on an object, such as a candle flame, gently return to the breath or object when the mind wanders. The mind will wander less over time as focus and attention improves.


In mantra meditation, the attention is focused on a mantra… a particular word, sound, or syllable that is repeated. It’s difficult to focus on another thought when the mantra is repeated. A specific word or sound mantra is often assigned by a meditation teacher, but you can choose any word or sound that has meaning to you.

It’s good for you.

The benefits of meditation are many. Continued practice can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, relieve stress, depression and anxiety, improve sleep, and can help with addiction. Meditation is not a practice that requires religious or spiritual affiliation. Anyone can do it and receive benefits.


There has been extensive research on the benefits of meditation on the brain. It’s been discovered that the practice of mindful meditation actually changes the brain in beneficial ways: increasing brain volume and connectivity between different areas of the brain. It has been known for centuries to improve attention, concentration, and general well-being.

A teacher or not?

A good teacher is beneficial, but meditation is something that can be learned and then practiced independently. There are CDs offering instruction, and apps and videos on the Internet providing guided meditations. 

Stick to it!

It’s important to continue the practice consistently for the greatest benefits of meditation. Setting aside specific times of the day is recommended so that practice and benefits becomes habitual. Start slowly if you like, even 5 minutes can be helpful. 20 minutes or more morning and evening is a useful habit. Meditation may seem difficult at first, but sticking to it pays off in many measurable ways.

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