When most people think of meditation or spiritual practices, they think of Buddhist monks or yoga-practicing vegans. You may think of a group of people in a temple, sitting cross-legged, repeating “om.”
While these images can ring true, literally anyone can practice meditation. There are many benefits to doing so and you don’t have to commit to an hour a day to see results.
No matter your goals for self-improvement, meditation can help. Spiritual practices that allow you to feel closer to something bigger than you can help alter your perception of the world. Which in turn, will give you more satisfaction in life.
Keep reading for some interesting psychological benefits of meditation!
Spiritual Practices vs. Religion
Many people claim to be spiritual but not religious. There are typically two reasons for this:
The first: They don’t prescribe to traditional religious values but appreciate the idea of there being something greater than mankind. This type believes in a higher power of sorts but may not be sure what it is.
The second: They have no idea what it means, but it sounds cool. This person was probably raised religious, wants to rebel, still feels that connection to their religion yet is too busy to continue the church/religious lifestyle.
There are also atheists who don’t believe in anything at all. Or the highly religious that practice every week and revolve their lives around it.
No matter what camp you fall into, you can absolutely be or become spiritual and have it fit your lifestyle and beliefs. Spiritual practices are a lot more lenient in the sense that you don’t HAVE to do anything. You’re not obligated, you do what you need for your own sense of being.
A daily spiritual practice like meditation can be completely secular if you wish or religion-based. David Servant offers great devotionals if you’re more inclined to stick with religion-based meditations.
When you allow yourself to take a few minutes every day to sit quietly and listen to the silence or guided meditation, your headspace changes.
If you’re super busy with work and feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what to do with children that are driving you up the wall, a spiritual practice like meditation can help you see the bigger picture.
It may help you realize why things are happening the way they are, or give you a new idea for dealing with the kids.
This change in perspective can allow you to handle people in your life with ease; you always get back what you put out whether it is positive or negative. So greeting people with a smile and warm disposition will get you that in return.
With people treating you better, you may soon realize things aren’t so bad, and the bigger picture is actually quite lovely. This change in perspective can be accredited to your daily spiritual practice of meditation.
When you have a sense of all being right with the world, it’s only natural for your anxiety levels to decrease. Many people who are prescribed anti-anxiety medication choose not to take it as often because it makes them drowsy or out of concern over addiction.
Luckily, spiritual practices have no ill side-effects and are non-addictive. Meditation is something you can do anywhere, and at any time for any length of time. No one has to know, and you don’t have to worry about leaving your medication at home.
Spiritual practices are actually shown to reduce anxiety as well as depression, so it can be seen as a two-for-one.
A Weight From Your Chest
If you’ve ever carried a grudge around–not someone cutting you off in traffic–abuse, neglect, a child passing, you know the pit in the bottom of your stomach that stays with you.
You may not realize you have this grudge, or still hurt from whatever situation took place. Or maybe you realize it’s there but can’t let go or don’t know how.
A daily spiritual practice can help with this. It won’t be overnight and it’ll probably take work on your part. Sometimes journaling or speaking aloud to yourself is what you have to do.
No matter how you get there, when you are finally able to start releasing this feeling of lingering anger, you’re going to feel better. It’s going to be a weight lifted from your shoulders and chest.
It’s not to say you’ll forget completely about the situation, or that you’ll never get upset about it again, but you’ll be able to live a bit more in the moment.
Yes, this makes you happier, and from a psychological standpoint, it’s beneficial to forgive. But the process also allows the lowering of overall stress and the stress hormone cortisol.
(Cortisol also is linked to weight loss. So you get a metaphorical and physical weight lifted!)
A Beautiful Life
Developing spiritual practices takes work. It takes a little commitment to wanting something better. It can be as simple as meditating 3 minutes while you’re in the shower.
A ritual some people develop is sitting quietly in their car while stuck in traffic or before they walk into work. You don’t need to plan your day or listen to music, just come up with a list of 3 or 5 things you are truly grateful for in your life.
This list can be comprised of family members or friends, or even the fact that you have working plumbing or a vehicle with working air conditioning. It sounds silly, but it works.
Because there aren’t rules to being spiritual, you can make it work for you when you need it. Though there are plenty of benefits to daily practices, sometimes that habit is hard to form.
A final benefit from meditation or any spiritual journey is going to be your focusing abilities. A reduction in stress and anxiety, a bigger sense of purpose and self, and a change in perspective will all allow you to regain your focus on smaller tasks. This will help you become a more productive individual!
That’s okay, even the periodic meditation or journaling session can be beneficial. If you’d like more thoughts on spirituality and ideas on things you can do to grow yours, check out our blog.