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“I’m anxious all the time and I’m always worrying about something like an addiction and I can’t appreciate the small things and I’m always thinking about the future and worrying if it’ll work out.” I’m going to say this outright. If you start meditating you will be significantly happier. Guaranteed.
The biggest thing to impact my life above every other life hack has been meditation. Above sleep optimisation, cold showers, a consistently healthy diet and regular exercise combined — meditation has contributed the most in my journey towards feeling calmer, happier and more fulfilled.
Not only has the benefits of meditation been proven in my life, there are numerous scientific studies to show how meditation can alter the brain to make you happier. I’m going to explain both to show exactly why you need to start meditating and provide meditation techniques for beginners.
In my late twenties the people who raised me from the age of six and the people I considered my true parents (my grandparents) both died within the space of a year. Shortly after and my best friend jumped in front of a train.
I was, to put it bluntly, miserable AF.
This continued for a few years after. Many of my friends at the time wouldn’t have known. It’s difficult for men to express such issues and I was often worried about burdening others, so I buried it with humor.
However, behind the jovial exterior I was hiding a deep, merciless pain. Scarred from the past, I was always worrying about the future and living in a constant state of acute anxiety.
I can only describe it as the feeling you get when you shoot up out of bed because you think you feel like you’re falling. Well, imagine that 24 hours a day. It was exhausting. I felt emasculated. It was unbearable.
How Meditation Changed My Life
One day, I was given a book by my old boss at the time who happened to be a cannabis seed overlord while also training in neurolinguistic programming. It was a book titled The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Cynical at first (“Hippie bullshit,” I thought. “Self-help books are for losers.”), I put it down and left it to collect dust. A few months passed — more shame, more panic, more loneliness.
However, on a particularly desperate night coiled up in my room I rediscovered it. If only my misguided sense of machismo and anti-hippie sentiment were overrided at the time and I just read it straight away, I would have saved myself a lot of pain.
This simply idea would begin to change my life:
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now
“Wait a minute. There is no past or future,” I discovered as I read. “They are simply constructs in my head and all that exists is the present. And most of the time, you are safe in the present moment.” It was true. When I thought about it, very little was harming me.
I for sure was experiencing grief, but I realised that most of this was my mind, the enemy, still worrying about what may happen in the future. I read on to discover you can train your mind with meditation to become more present and begin to worry less about the future.
The Benefits Of Meditation
If you want to start meditating I guarantee it will change your life. I have been meditating for two years now and have experienced numerous benefits. Here are some:
Lower Heart Rate And Better Health
After the first few weeks, I experienced some powerful initial feelings. Because my body felt like it was in a constant state of shock, meditation had a profound affect on easing the physical symptoms associated with anxiety.
Directly after meditation I felt calm, the anxiety had temporarily subsided and my breathing felt slower and deeper. In fact, studies have shown meditation lowers your heart rate and also reverses how our body reacts to stress in our DNA, helping reduce our risk of cancer and illness.
More In Control Of Emotions And Slower To Anger
Within the first week of meditating, I found myself getting more aggravated at things during the day. Perhaps because these agitating events broke my short-lived sense of peace that I had experienced in the morning when I would start meditating. This would made me angry.
However, consistency was paramount. I continued with just 10 minutes of deep breathing meditation every morning. After a month, I felt calmer. After three months, I really started to notice the difference.
I became more aware of my body and emotions. If I started to become angry I would notice it and say to myself, “Stop. You’re becoming angry,” rather than explode in a ball of rage like I previously did.
Studies have shown that just a single session of meditation significantly reduces anger, enabling you to calmly begin to deal with the challenges life throws at you.
Over time, as I practiced meditation I became more adept at how to do meditation to increase concentration. One of the main aspects of meditation is to remain focused on your breathing, so if a thought arises you must let it go and go back to your breathing.
This is easier said than done at first, especially considering I was initially a nervous wreck. However, the more I meditated the better my focus became. This is a common effect of regular meditation. Studies demonstrate how regular meditation increases concentration and enables you to focus your attention more on the task at hand.
Higher Love And Bigger Achievements
After about a year my life really started to turn around. My partner started to notice significant changes within me.
A big turning point was when my partner stated I’ve become much calmer and kinder. To hear such a revelation from someone you deeply love is the greatest reward.
I guess because I was able to ease the anxiety, I could start having more control on other facets of my life. For example, how I treat her and how to be a respectable and loving boyfriend. Or how I deal with stress when we’re together.
Also, my life wasn’t governed by fear anymore. I was able to start pursuing passions that I was previously held back from because I was too scared. For example, this very website.
Meditation led me on to other things such as learning Korean, and to really understanding what I want in life. I even started to use meditation to increase my strength gains at the gym. Check out my article, ‘How Arnold Schwarzenneger Used Meditation To Build Muscle.’
How To Meditate
Need meditation techniques for beginners but don’t know where to begin?
“I’d like to meditate but I don’t have the patience or concentration to sit there and not think.” That’s exactly why you need to meditate. It’s a skill that you develop with practice. Here is a great 10-minute meditation for people who want to start meditating. The beauty of meditation is there are numerous methods and ways to explore.
I combine deep-breathing meditation (while slowly counting the breath five seconds in and five out) with other concentration techniques to keep my mind focused.
For example, imagining you are observing the inner space of your brain, waiting for a thought to come. If you wait for a thought, you’ll find nothing comes. This means your brain is not distracted by lots of thoughts running through it.
If you do find yourself caught up in thoughts, recognise them and literally say in your head, ‘Thank you for reminding to focus on my breathing.’ Do it in a quiet place but embrace sounds around you if they appear.
There isn’t a wrong sound. Don’t analyse them but try to view them as simply noises in space, coming and then going back into nothingness.
You can also find great meditation apps such as Headspace that provide guided meditations. When you’re experiencing troubles in your life, start meditating. If your life is going well, start meditating.
Meditation will always improve your life in some way. I hope this article has been useful and meditation may one day have the same profound impacts on your life as it has on mine.
The Book That Changed My Life
Be sure to check out Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now below. It shows you how you can master your thoughts and eliminate stress in your life.
We’d love to hear how meditation has benefited your life or any questions you may have. Feel free to tell us in the comment section below.