The physical and psychological benefits of quieting your mind are manifold. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditating on a regular basis helps reduce stress, increases self awareness, and helps you live in the moment. You may have heard of some of these calming effects of meditation. But we’re not here to tell you what you already know! Here are three facts about meditation that we bet will surprise you.
1. Meditation can help you quit smoking.
The National Institute of Health isn’t prone to exaggeration. According to their analysis of dozens of academic studies, meditation has a higher likelihood than alternative medical routines like acupuncture to reduce nicotine urges. In a country in which two in three smokers want to quit, this is certainly relevant information. Of course, meditation is only meant to be a complementary quitting strategy (medication and therapy are the main recommended tactics, per the NIH), but when fighting something as formidable as cigarette addiction, every bit helps.
2. There are several different schools of meditation.
Meditation is so much more than simply sitting around and doing nothing. In fact, quiet, meditative reflection is an art that dates back thousands of years. Qigong, Zazen, Metta, Tai Chi, and Yoga are all ancient eastern and southern Asian practices. In addition to these older strains, guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, and transcendental meditation all offer slightly different techniques for being more aware of yourself and your surroundings. To learn more about each form of meditation, click the links!
3. The self awareness brought about by meditation makes you happier.
It’s been strongly suggested by available scientific data that a wandering mind is an unhappy one. Matt Killingsworth of the University of California at Berkeley studied this very subject and found a strong correlation between stray thoughts and discontent. He called these conclusions “unfortunate” given our minds’ desires to wander. But not all is lost. In many ways, meditation is the practice of fighting the urge to live any time other than the present. This fight is not easy: meditation is something that must be practiced routinely to be effective. But if you put the time in, you’ll probably find yourself living a richer, healthier, happier life.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.