Every day I talk to people in my community and I notice how many of us are struggling with overwhelm and burn out.
As a society, we bought into the idea that the natural progress of adult life is a slow decline in joy levels, peppered with struggle and loss of vitality.
We make things more palatable with all sorts of stimulation, distractions and quick fixes.
The best we can expect is to do well inside the limitations, responsibilities and burdens that adulthood has on the menu.
Have you noticed how many people around us have subscribed to that idea and live exactly like that?
With little room for joy, wild dreams, excitement and fun…
The world is organised around the energy of survival. And it’s easy to get sucked in.
But you and I (and every person on earth) are meant for radiance, love and beauty. We’re powerful creators, so full of potential, capable of so much.
We’re meant to be in love with life and radiate out our beautiful gifts, quirks and unique expression of our true essence.
Deep inside we all know this, that’s why the world around us feels SO OFF!
But the radiance we try to get from external sources lives right inside of us. And it can be so easily accessed.
This seems so counter-intuitive because our model for collective mental health convinced us that it’s hard to feel well on a daily basis. The western way of life is also constantly steering us in the opposite direction.
Day in and day out we activate the chemistry of survival (think cortisol, adrenaline, elevated heart rate), but this can be reversed through a simple daily practice.
The (not so) secret to experiencing bliss and turning on your radiance is a harmonised mind-body system. Daily meditation is a powerful way to achieve this.
By activating the right chemistry and priming your state of mind for expansion and creativity, life will feel like it’s meant to; a gift that keeps getting better and better.
One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself today is start a daily meditation practice.
The benefits are simply astounding and they explain why I became a certified meditation instructor.
6 [science-backed] benefits of meditation
1. It’s a powerful antidote to stress
One of the many benefits of meditation is its stress-fighting superpowers.
Our body responds to stress with fight or flight response. The fight or flight response pulls us into a state of constricted awareness—it limits our capacity for thinking creatively, for broadening our perspective, or accessing our purpose.
This state is useful to react to actual threats, but when it becomes chronic, it causes physiological changes:
- heart rate increases
- blood pressure goes up
- stress hormones increase
- we breathe faster and heavier; anti-aging hormone production goes down
- the clotting of blood platelets increases
- our immune system weakens.
- undermines the areas of the brain that feel gratitude, compassion, and connection.
- suppresses the flow of energy and information through our mind-body system. The more stress we accumulate over time, the more constricted and less efficient the system becomes.
Releasing this stress is something very important we should all consider and meditation is a great tool for doing this.
Meditation induces a state of deep rest and in this state the body heals itself by eliminating stress, fatigue, and toxins in an easy, effortless and natural way.
As we meditate, our heart rate decreases, breathing slows down, immune function improves, anti-aging hormones increase, inflammation reduces; blood pressure normalises. All the other factors that were leading to ill health start to be reversed.
Also, our prefrontal cortex—the more evolved part of the brain—becomes more active, awakening a sense of gratitude, compassion, and connection.
The deep rest gained through meditation releases us from our constricted state into a state of expanded awareness. Where we can experience more creativity, equanimity, vitality, joy, and purpose. And this opens the doorway to a healthier, happier life.
2. Feel more bliss
Deep states of rest prompt the brain to release dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. These neurotransmitters are linked to different aspects of happiness, and meditation choreographs their simultaneous release. Meditation has also been linked to significant decreases in rumination, a cognitive process which plays a role in depression and other mood disorders.
Studies have linked mindfulness training to greater neural activity in areas of the brain associated with self-awareness and emotional regulation.
3. Meditation and mindful awareness heal the body
What happens in the mind affects the body (for better or worse).
Chronic stress can cause disease, deteriorate mental health and accelerate ageing. Meditation helps your body release stress, reverse fight-or-flight damage and improve healing processes.
Research suggests that meditation can increase parasympathetic nervous system activity and decrease stress-induced inflammation levels. Studies have even shown that mindfulness training can change the brain and immune system in a way that may strengthen resistance to disease.
4. Awaken your creativity
Meditation is a powerful practice for going beyond conditioned thought patterns into a state of expanded awareness. We connect to the field of infinite possibilities and open to new insights, intuition, and ideas.
Meditation helps you achieve a flow state: you do less and accomplish more. You aren’t burdened by the past or worried about the future—you’re flowing with the present moment.
5. Rewire your brain
Meditation is a powerful tool for creating new neural connections in the brain. By meditating, you can tap into your brain’s deepest potential to focus, learn and adapt.
Researchers have documented meditation-induced changes in the brain’s gray matter, noting marked alterations to brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. Mindfulness training is also linked to gray matter concentration changes in brain regions related to learning, emotional regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.
6. Enjoy healthier relationships
A regular meditation practice helps you develop witnessing awareness. It gives you the ability to calmly observe yourself in a situation and creating the space to respond, instead of react.
It also helps you let go of counterproductive beliefs and past experiences that might be getting in the way of enjoying love and connection with others.
It also dissolves a sense of separation from others and awakens a sense of love and compassion.
There are so many other amazing benefits of having a daily meditation practice, but these alone show how much of our wellbeing and quality of life is in our hands.
So today, I challenge you to meditate (even if for just a few minutes) and notice how you feel. Do this for the next few days and notice what shows up.
Your radiance awaits you. And it’s so needed in the world right now.