Meditation, on the surface, is a deceptively simple practice. All you have to do is just sit, pay attention to your breathing, and be at peace. However, there’s much more to it than that, and there’s a good reason that this ages-old activity has experienced a resurgence in the modern age: getting insight into your inner world can also improve the way you experience the outer world as well.
In this blog, we’ll give you a quick guide on how to meditate, then we’ll dive into some of the scientifically-proven benefits of meditation and, finally, we’ll leave you with some insight into some of the more abstract advantages to exploring your inner world to its fullest. By the end, you’ll be more than ready to establish your own meditation practice and see your own inner workings with crystal clarity.
A Quick Guide on How to Meditate
If you’ve never meditated before, there’s plenty of guided meditations and in-depth guides on the web that can help you get started and establish your very first meditation practice. But if you’re just looking for a quick explanation on how to do it, here’s a short 4-step overview:
- Find somewhere comfortable and quiet to sit.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
- When your mind begins to wander, bring it back to your breathing.
- Sit for as long as you like, but even a few minutes a day will make a difference.
One of the key things to remember when you’re meditating is that allowing your mind to wander is not a bad thing; in fact, it’s to be expected. Something that helps is to picture your thoughts as clouds and your mind as the sky. Clouds come and go, just as thoughts do–the key is not getting attached to those thoughts, any more than we get attached to the clouds in the sky.
The Scientific Benefits of Meditation
Although meditation might seem simple, there are a ton of benefits to this ancient practice, and modern science has just begun to scratch the surface of its possible uses. So far, we’ve learned that establishing a meditation practice can:
- Lower Blood Pressure: Meditation (particularly Transcendental Meditation) has been shown to have the potential to reduce blood pressure, especially in those whose BP is higher than normal. (1)
- Reduce Stress and Improve Focus: Meditation has the potential reduce stress, and can lead to “lower perceived stress and higher work engagement”. (2)
- Improve Chronic Pain: Meditation can help those with chronic pain in novel ways and during one study (3), it was found that there was a pain reduction of up to 32% over those who did not meditate.
- Help You Sleep Better: For those with insomnia and other sleep issues, meditation can be incredibly helpful. A systematic review demonstrated that “mindfulness meditation can improve sleep quality in a variety of clinical populations with sleep disturbance”. (4)
More Reasons to Explore Your Inner World
Aside from all of the scientifically-proven benefits of meditation, there is another, more abstract benefit: improving your experience with your inner world can also improve the way that you experience the outer world as well.
One of the ways that this happens is that, during meditation, we allow our thoughts to arise and fall away. Instead of becoming attached to perceptions or sensations or emotions, we are practicing the art of letting go. And while many people get caught up in their thoughts and emotions, for better or for worse, meditation can bestow upon you a superpower: the ability to block out all of your own mental noise and focus more on what’s going on around you. In this way, exploring your inner world through meditation can also help you to be more present and to truly focus on the beauty and joy that’s present in the outer world.
Not only that, but meditation can also help you get in touch with your own intuition and inner wisdom. When you quiet the rest of your mental noise, it’s much easier to attain clarity and gain insight into your inner workings, allowing you to make the right decisions and better navigate life’s challenges.
Start a Meditation Practice Today
Meditation is more than just sitting and being at peace. Instead, it can help us in a myriad of ways, including by reducing blood pressure, lowering stress, improving chronic pain, and allowing us to sleep better. Not only that, but working on our relationship with our inner world can help us to focus more on what’s going on around us, so that we’re more present for daily life.
Meditation may not be the answer to all of life’s problems, but if it helps us to deal with them a little bit better, it’s worth the effort. Start your meditation practice today and see for yourself how great life can be when you focus more on trying to find some peace.
1. Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Davis H. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. J Psychosom Res. 2001 Oct;51(4):597-605. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(01)00261-6. PMID: 11595248; PMCID: PMC3216051.
2. Bartlett L, Buscot MJ, Bindoff A, Chambers R, Hassed C. Mindfulness Is Associated With Lower Stress and Higher Work Engagement in a Large Sample of MOOC Participants. Front Psychol. 2021 Sep 10;12:724126. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724126.
3. Riegner, Gabriela; Posey, Graceb; Oliva, Valeriaa; Jung, Youngkyooc; Mobley, Williamd; Zeidan, Fadela,*. Disentangling self from pain: mindfulness meditation–induced pain relief is driven by thalamic–default mode network decoupling. PAIN 164(2):p 280-291, February 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002731
4. Rusch HL, Rosario M, Levison LM, Olivera A, Livingston WS, Wu T, Gill JM. The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2019 Jun;1445(1):5-16. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13996.