Math has never been my strong suit. I didn’t realize just how much math, and I didn’t get along until I had a full blown panic attack in my algebra class in my freshman year of high school.
Dude, it was not pretty. I can’t recall exactly what triggered my attack, but I was sweating like crazy, trembling like a leaf and felt like I could hardly breathe. I felt like I was dying.
Did I mention that this was when I was a freshman in high school? You know, when that whole puberty thing is in full swing, and you are very aware of how you look in front of others? Especially to the girl I had a crush on at the time, and she just so happened to sit right behind me.
Long story short, I had to call my mom and go to the doctor to figure out what was going on. Doc looked me over and asked a few questions. She diagnosed me with general anxiety disorder and gave me a prescription for some anti-anxiety meds.
I’ve always been an anxious person. Thankfully I do have it way more under control now then when I was a teenager. Especially after getting counseling and, let’s be real, graduating high school helped a lot too.
However, the thing I have found most useful to help me with my crazy anxiety, meditation.
When I first heard about meditation a few years ago, it sounded like a load of shit to me.
But then a trusted friend of mine suggested I stopped being a dummy for a minute and just to give it a try.
So I downloaded an app called Headspace. That was two years ago, and I’ve meditated every day ever since.
In no small way has meditation completely changed my life and way of thinking.
Need a little extra convincing? Let me lay out 5 reasons to consider starting today.
1.Reduction in Anxiety
In this study, 22 anxiety-ridden people were instructed by psychologists on how to meditate and to do so regularly for 3 months. Of the 20 who were still participating after the 3-month term, all of them showed a consistent, substantial decrease in anxiety and depression.
2.Helps with Burnout
If you are an adult or a sweaty teenager in a math class, you have experienced burnout. That feeling of being completely overwhelmed with whatever situation you find yourself, and you just can’t bring yourself to deal with it anymore.
The Maharishi University of Management conducted a study on a group of teachers who exhibited symptoms of burnout and introduced them to a meditation practice. Not only did all the teachers’ stress decrease after 4 months, but it also had a significant impact on their physical health as well. I’ll let the principal investigator, Dr. Sanford Nidich, EdD, explain:
“TM (Transcendental Meditation) program is effective in reducing both risk factors for heart disease and cardiovascular events. Taken as a whole, this present study and prior research provide evidence for the value of the TM program for enhancing mental and physical health and well-being.”
In this article, scientists had a group of 17 meditators against a control group 18 people who have never meditated or have had any sort of mindfulness training. Both groups were subjected to pain by having a hot plate placed on their calf and then immediately had an MRI scan. Results showed that the meditation group had less activity in the pain receptors of their brain, because, get this, the walls of the mind that regulate pain and emotion were thicker! Causing less pain to be experienced.
In a psycnet article, researchers found that participants after having gone under a daily meditation regimen found that they had an increase in everyday positive experiences. Which included an increase in mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.
In another study conducted, a group of meditators and a control group were both placed in a scenario where they were to sit in a room where there were only enough chairs for the participants. Then, once seated, a person on crutches was introduced to the room, and the researchers noted how many times, over several groups, the most amount of people gave up their chair for the person in crutches. Meditators took home the gold.
As you can see, meditation is no joke. Such a simple concept as sitting and being present can have a significant positive impact on your life.
Like I mentioned earlier, I got my start on the Headspace app. I would suggest starting on their 10-day free trial. It’s a great way to really understand what all meditation involves.
It’s also important to know, don’t feel pressured to start out doing 20 or 30 minutes sessions. That’s a lot to ask of yourself. I suggest starting for 1 minute a day. If you are feeling really daring, 5 minutes.
Do yourself a favor and start vastly improving your life. By sitting your butt down and doing nothing at all.