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I stand on stage in front of a packed room. My heart is pounding
in my ears.

Thump.
Thump.

In twenty seconds, I have to walk up to the microphone and give an
introduction to the audience. A horrible feeling is rising in my chest.

Terror. I feel terror.

I need an escape. A safe place.

I close my eyes for a brief few seconds and focus only on my
breath.

Breathe in. Breath out. The air tickles my
nostrils.

Immediately, calm overtakes me. My heart rate slows. My
nervousness turns to excitement.

I step up to the microphone and open my mouth, and my voice is
calm and powerful. I can do this.

Why Should You Meditate?

Meditation can rewire the brain for happiness, peace and success.
Here are just a few of the benefits:

By far the largest benefit is a deep, serene calm and peace slowly
permeating into every area of life.

At first meditating feels unusual – like stepping out of normal
life and doing something many find strange. HOWEVER, – millions
of people meditate and many successful people attribute part of their success
to meditation.

Here’s proof that meditation isn’t just for monks.

Who Meditates?

Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney,
Angelina Jolie… Any of these names sound familiar? All of these are famous
meditators.

#1:
Meditation reduces stress

Feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders? Meditation is incredibly effective at reducing stress and anxiety. One study found that mindfulness and zen type meditations significantly reduce stress when practiced over a period of three months. Another study revealed that meditation literally reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying. If you want your stress levels to plummet, meditation may be the answer.

#2:
Meditation increases your sense of well-being

Want to fill your life with happiness and energy? Mindfulness meditation increases your psychological functioning and in the process improves your sense of well-being. Yoga and tai chi have been found to do this also – according to studies, they have significant therapeutic effects and increase quality of life when practiced regularly.

#3: Meditation increases your sense of connectedness and empathy

Feeling a little disconnected from those around you? Try
compassion meditation. Lovingkindess meditation (sometimes called Metta) is a
compassion-based meditation that enhances brain areas
associated with mental processing and empathy.
 It also
increases your sense of social connectedness. Not a hugging person? You just
might become one after trying metta!

#4: Meditation
improves focus

Would you love to add razor-edge focus to your life? Research
shows that meditation improves cognition and increases your ability to
perform tasks requiring focus.
 One study tested a variety
of different meditation types, including Transcendental Meditation, Vipassana,
Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, Sufi Meditation and Hindu Meditation, and found
that they all improve focus by varying degrees.

#5:
Meditation improves relationships

Want to strengthen your relationships? Meditation has been shown to better your ability to relate to others. How? It improves your ability to empathize, and it hones your ability to pick up on cues indicating how others are feeling. Meditation also increases your emotional stability, making you less likely to be influenced by any negative people in your life.

#6:
Meditation makes you more creative

Ever feel like you could use some more inspiration? Meditation increases your creativity, according to various studies. It’s no wonder that famous creatives like Yoko Ono, David Lynch and Marina Abramović make meditation a major part of their life.

#7:
Meditation improves memory

Whether you want to become a memory champion or you simply want to remember the name of that guy who works down the hall, meditation can help. Research has shown that it improves your ability to memorize things and to store and consolidate new information.

#8:
Meditation improve your ability to make decisions

There’s a reason high powered executives turn to meditation to help them do their jobs better. Studies have found that both mindfulness meditation and Transcendental Meditation help you make better decisions by improving the functioning of your brain’s decision-making centers. If you want to start cultivating your inner executive, give meditation a try.

#9: Meditation
helps people overcome addictions

Do you know someone who has struggled with addiction? One of the most beautiful effects of meditation is that it can help people overcome powerful addictions. One fascinating study found that Vipassana meditation can be incredibly effective at helping people overcoming alcohol and drug related addictions, and similar effects have been found for various types of meditation.

#10:
Meditation improves cardiovascular health

Want to get some of the benefits of exercise by sitting in one
place? Researchers have found that both mindfulness and Transcendental
Meditation improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of heart
disease.

#11: Meditation
enhances your immune system

Do you get sick more often than you would like? Believe it or not, a variety of different types of meditation, from mindfulness to yoga, have been shown to strengthen the human immune system and make you more resistant to viruses and infections. Take that, cold season.

#12:
Meditation helps you find “flow”

Have you ever felt totally, utterly absorbed in the moment? Maybe you were playing a sport or painting a picture, and the world around you just seemed to vanish. This is called “flow,” and is a rare state where the human mind is operating in complete harmony with itself, when you reach a challenge perfectly suited to your abilities. Meditation can help you reach this amazing state of mind, according to some fascinating research.

#13:
Meditation reduces physical and emotional pain (better than morphine)

Perhaps the most amazing benefit of meditation is that it has the capability to reduce mental and physical pain better than morphine. Yep, you read that right. That’s a pretty incredibly scientific finding.

#14:
Meditation takes you towards enlightenment?

Traditionally, the goal of meditation is to reach Enlightenment,
or a state of perfect happiness and understanding. Can
you reach enlightenment by meditating? Who’s to say? Many people say yes,
although science still doesn’t have an answer. 


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