We are going to start off with a quote from “The Happiness Hypothesis” by Jonathan Haidt. This quote helps to put into perspective the basic idea behind the practice of mediation and asks a simple question. Would you take a magic pill?
“Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good. Increasing self-esteem, empathy and trust, it even improves your memory. Suppose finally that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It is called meditation.” Jonathan Haidt
Science tells us that meditation decreases anxiety, pain, depression and anger. It also increases attention, immune system functioning and well-being. Here are the 5 reasons we think meditation should become a daily practice for you.
5 Non-Woo Woo Reasons to Meditate
- Strengthen your mind – you can reshape your brain. When you meditate, you send more blood to your pre-frontal cortex and this builds up your brain!
- Build Will Power – Every single thought rewires your brain and meditation helps to create and control the thoughts we have, so it helps you to build up your ability to put your attention where you want it, when you want it and helps you to focus on the things you want to focus on.
- Optimize Immune System – it elicits the relaxation response and gets you out of the ‘fight or flight response’. This helps your overall system function better and thereby boosts your immune system.
- Change your DNA – The above #3 is connected to this reason. Science shows that humans have over 50,000 different genes and meditation helps to turn on 1500+ of those in a more positive way.
- Connect to something bigger than yourself – This is important, but without the above changes taking place, it is harder to really appreciate and take advantage of this connection.
Often, people think that #5 is the first and most important reason to meditate. However, without the previous 4 changes taking place and helping you to direct your life and your attention where you want it to go, the connection to something bigger usually cannot be harnessed and is harder to get to. By recognizing and allowing the other changes to build you up first, you give yourself a much better chance and being ready to really take advantage of the affect the connection to something bigger than yourself has to offer.
The first 4, then, are the preparation for number 5 and help you ease into the possibly profound experience you will step into when you finally get to it.
What do you think about these reasons to meditate? Let us know here or on our Facebook page!