We live in a hectic world where it’s easy to feel pulled in lots of directions all at once. Instead of starting the day in a peaceful way, we often wake up to the ping of office emails and jump immediately into the fray. Social media feeds incessantly demand our attention and, all too often, breakfast is in a cardboard cup in the microwave and the leisurely cup of coffee is forsaken for a rush through the drive through window at the local coffee shop. With all the demands in life, it’s understandable that we feel out of balance and super stressed. Fortunately, there are mindfulness and meditation tools that can ground us and help us feel much more peaceful in the world. The following are just four of the many benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

Increases Your Self-Awareness

When you use regular meditation and mindfulness practices, you learn to center inside and feel the peacefulness within. This exploration leads to an awareness of your emotions and you learn to become detached from the emotional way you used to react to the world. By calming all the noise inside, you begin to see and understand your true nature and live within the essence of who you truly are.

Reduces Stress

With all the stress in life, your mind can sometimes resemble a blender of out of control thoughts whirring at high speed. Meditation helps calm your mind and body and usher in a deep sense of serenity within. As you focus on settling your emotions, you detach from the stressors and your emotional reaction to them. You become relaxed and peaceful. That said, it’s important to change the things that are putting pressure on you first.

If you are a recent college graduate and you’re stressing about high monthly student loan payments, think about refinancing your student loans. You’ll reduce your payment to a much more affordable, stress-free amount. If there’s a relationship that’s causing you strain, think about what you can do to better that situation. Would counselling help? Maybe a sit down and good chat is all that’s needed to clear the air? Or perhaps you know you need to cut this person out of your life? Whatever is worrying you, only when you take the steps to reduce the stressors in your life will you truly realize the benefits of meditation.

Improves Your Concentration

It’s amazing how powerful the mind can be when it’s calm and the loudness of stray thoughts has settled down. A daily meditation practice really enhances your energy and clarity, thus allowing you to approach your daily tasks with clear focus. De-cluttering the mind through meditation frees up your brainpower and greatly reduces the distractions so you can give undivided attention to the things you really want or need to do.

Enhances Your Happiness

When you practice meditation and mindfulness techniques, you actually affect the physical signaling mechanisms within the brain. Prefrontal cortex activity on the left side, which controls positive emotions, increases while action on the right side, which covers negative emotions, decreases. The excess baggage of unwanted negative thoughts is cleared from the mind and replaced by a sense of peaceful centering. In a way, meditation is like a relaxing spa day for the brain. As you come from the true center of who you are you see the world through a different lens and feel increased levels of happiness.

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