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If there is anything I believe people ought to do more of, it is meditation. Back in school, I looked at mandatory morning meditation as rather annoying at first. I later got myself to see it as an opportunity to catch some extra z’s – not that having my eyes closed while standing was any compensation for sleep.
When I think about it now however, I think of how nice it was that we had something like that in place. Meditation boosts numerous benefits, from reduced anxiety to decreased stress, and God knows we school goers needed that.
But perhaps the most compelling reason to try out meditation is that it can make you happier. In our materialistic world, it isn’t uncommon to seek external factors in order to experience positive emotion. Many people hold false beliefs that some purchase or person is what will lead them to everlasting joy. However, the key to happiness, and Buddhist monks who spend hours in non-judgmental meditative sessions know this, is to really be present in the moment, good or bad.
Sitting still, alone with your thoughts can be intimidating – so much so that a Harvard study in 2014 found that a significant percentage of their student participants chose to self-administer an electric shock to ease the discomfort of having to be alone with their thoughts. These students, who had previously quoted prices they’d pay to avoid being shocked, later changed their minds after an exchange with solitude and honestly, I am not surprised. As such, you won’t find me taking the time to sit cross legged on the floor, eyes closed and paying close attention to my breath anytime soon.
An alternative is to simply bring more awareness into your day. By showering or commuting somewhere with deliberate and increased focus, all while carefully taking in the sounds, smells and sensations that surround you, then you can reap the same calming and creativity boosting benefits of a more traditional meditation practice.
No, it may not be your cup of tea, but considering its many pros I say we all give meditation a chance.