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8 Reasons Why You Need To Start Meditating (And Stick To It)

8 Reasons Why You Need To Start Meditating (And Stick To It)

Meditation is becoming increasingly popular in the western world as we begin to wake up to the many benefits that is has to offer.

I have meditated daily for years and I will share with you some of the biggest benefits to meditation as well as a short meditative exercise that you can perform by yourself at almost any time.

1. Meditation lowers stress.

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There can be no doubt that meditation lowers stress. It reduces your heart rate and lowers production of cortisol which is the hormone responsible for the stressful feelings.

2. Meditation quiets your conscious thoughts.

If you have an over-active mind at night, or during the day, you know how frustrating it can be. One unimportant event can run through your head over and over, branching off into “what ifs” and “what ifs” of those “what ifs”. This can lead to mental fatigue.

When you meditate though you are focusing on just one thing. Your mind may slip at times but you can bring it back to that singular focus. With regular meditation you will begin to develop a quiet mind and inner peace.

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3. Meditation helps you sleep.

I used to have great difficulty sleeping until I began to meditate shortly before bedtime. Not only does meditation help you to fall asleep quicker but it also improves the quality of your sleep. If you sometimes wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed that meditation is something you need to try.

For more tips on getting a better sleep, click here.

4.Meditation regulates your emotions.

Meditation, focusing on mindfulness in particular, is a great help at regulating emotions. If you’re someone who often feels over or under emotional then meditation will help keep you on an even keel. You will being to express your emotions in a much more healthy way.

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5. Meditation improves focus.

The entire point of meditation is to focus your mind on one thing. It stands to reason that this single-minded focus will carry over to your daily life. This can be a HUGE help in your work life or if you’re in education.

6. Meditation has anti-ageing effects.

Thanks to a combination of the previous benefits as well as “physically” affecting the brain, meditation can help you fight ageing and remain youthful beyond your years. So rather than inject yourself with toxins, why not spend 15 minutes a day meditation instead?

7. Meditation protects your mental health.

Evidence also shows the meditation can protect you against depression, addictions and other issues. While you should always seek professional advice in these matters, anything that makes the battle easier is undoubtedly a good thing.

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8. The effects of meditation last beyond the time spent meditating.

As great as all these benefits of meditation are, they wouldn’t be all that useful if they just lasted the time you spent meditating. Thankfully though the effects last outside the meditative state as long as you meditate regularly. Just 10 to 15 minutes of meditating daily can bring you all these benefits and way more (including lower blood pressure and an actual positive physical effect on the brain).

An Easy Meditation Exercise

Now you know what meditation can do for you I’m sure you’re eager to start meditating yourself. Well here’s a quick meditative exercise that anyone can do. Please read it all first before you begin so you don’t miss anything.

  • Make sure you’re in a room where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Get yourself in a comfortable position. This could be seated or laying down flat. Make sure your legs aren’t crossed so you don’t end up with pins and needles or cramp.
  • Close your eyes and begin to breath deeply through your nose.
  • Breath using your diaphragm so that your belly rises as you inhale, and lowers as you exhale.
  • Allow all tension to leave your body.
  • Focus on the air entering and leaving your body.
  • Notice how the air feels cold inside your nostrils as you inhale, and warm as you exhale.
  • Feel how it energizes you each and every time you inhale.
  • If you’re having trouble with losing focus, trying mentally repeating commands to “breath in” and “breath out”.
  • Continue focusing on your breathing in this manner for as long as you wish.

Meditation works best when it is performed regularly so try to find a regular time when you can perform the above exercise daily. Eventually you will want to move on to different, more complicated meditations.

Enjoy the journey.

Featured photo credit: Meditation by Cornelia Kopp via flickr.com

More by this author

Jake Rhodes

Jake is an entrepreneur and self-improvement enthusiast.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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