Believe it or not, your physical health is important to maintaining your financial health. If you are stressed or sick, it can impact your job and threaten your financial stability. Meditating (even 10-15 a day) can reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. It can also help your ability to focus.
Benefits of Meditation
A 2011 study by Sara Lazar and a team at Harvard found that meditating can actually change your brain (But unfortunately, not like NTZ. Or maybe it’s fortunately??). Meditating regularly can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve memory and learning.
One way this occurs is by increasing the size of your hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for regulating your emotions, but according to the study, it also supports memory and being able to better think about the future.
We, as humans, naturally have trouble envisioning our futures. Since the future is a mix of countless possibilities, our minds struggle to home in on just one. This causes us to become too focused on the present and make decisions based solely on how it will affect us immediately. This may not seem like an issue now, but imagine you keep putting off for retirement until it’s ultimately too late. Being able to overcome this present bias through meditation can help us make wiser decisions.
I’ve noticed many of these benefits myself since I started meditating. I am more relaxed (my wife agrees!) and am able to focus more and really analyze the situation at hand.
My 10 Minute Meditation
At its core, meditation is about clearing your mind and focusing on your breathing. I’ve meditated for almost a year now, and in the process have created a pretty standard routine.
I start by sitting cross-legged on the floor in my bedroom. There is a small space cleared in front of the wall. Sitting in front of the wall makes it easier to keep my back straight. Since meditation is about taking long, deep breaths, your posture is important. I also chose my bedroom, because it has carpet. You want to be comfortable, so the soft carpet is preferred over the cold and stiff hardwood floors. If you don’t have a comfortable space, you could get a meditation pillow or Yoga mat.
The next step in my routine is to eliminate outside distractions. While meditating, you want to stay focused. I turn out the lights and put on noise-canceling headphones. This helps to eliminate any visual or audio distractions. I also listen to Brainwave Symphony, which is a collection of classical music that is designed to relax and clear your mind.
All this preparation maybe takes an extra minute, but it makes my meditation so much more effective. I then close my eyes and focus on taking long, deep breaths for about 10 minutes (I set an alarm).
Don’t feel like you need to hit 10 minutes right away. It’s more about quality over quantity. It’s better to have a focused, clear mind for a few minutes than sitting there for 10 minutes not being able to concentrate.
Typically, I will only focus on breathing and if my mind wanders, I will refocus on my breath. It may be difficult at first to clear your mind, but stick with it, eventually, it becomes easier. Some days I will use my meditation time to visualize an upcoming task or event I have. Visualizing can help make you better prepared for a task and ultimately more successful at it. So, if you have a major presentation to give or a test, try picturing yourself doing well.
Try It Yourself
If you’re interested in meditation, don’t think you need to be a Buddhist monk to get any benefit. Though if you are a Buddhist monk, 1.) thanks for reading and 2.) shoot me an email, I’d like some tips on improving my meditation.
However, I do realize the meditation isn’t for everyone. My wife is a big fan of the author John Green and quickly reminded me when I told her about this article that John tried meditating, but didn’t really feel any benefit. And this is true. Sometimes people either have a difficult time clearing their mind or they don’t feel like they are getting any added benefits. And that’s okay. Meditation isn’t for everyone. However, I don’t think that should stop you from trying it. The results may be subtle, but there clearly are benefits even if they aren’t noticeable. I’ve found that I enjoy the 10 minutes of quiet time each morning and that’s enough to keep me going. The increased focus and reduced stress? Those are just added benefits for me.
Tell Me Your Experience
Do you meditate regularly? Are you trying it for the first time? Leave a comment with your experiences.