Meditation is the practice of focusing on your body rather than your thoughts.
The most common form of this practice is to sit still and concentrate on your breathing, either with your eyes open or closed.
People who meditate for as little 10 to 20 minutes a day have reported a number of benefits. Among the most well-known effects of this practice are the reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression.
People who regularly meditate often claim they find it easier to separate themselves from their thoughts.
By taking a few minutes to pause from thinking and focus solely on their bodies, they learn to recognize thoughts as emotions that live outside of them.
As a result, when negative emotions arrive during their everyday lives, they are less affected by them.
It's for this reason that people who meditate also find it easier to fully connect with the present moment, rather than being distracted by the constant monologue of their inner thoughts.
Many people find the meditation process itself highly enjoyable too, with some reporting ecstatic highs during particularly clean sessions.
However, this is only scratching the surface of the benefits reported by people who regularly meditate.
Here are four advantages of meditation that you may not have heard of before.
1. Focus and productivity
Think you're too busy to meditate for 20 minutes a day? It could be argued that you're too busy NOT to do this.
By teaching yourself to clear your thoughts when you meditate, it becomes easier to do the same when focusing on everyday tasks.
Rather than being distracted by other things that are on your mind, you may notice improved concentration and become far more productive as a result. You’ll end up getting more done by meditating for 20 minutes a day, then you would have done with that extra 20 minutes gained by skipping meditation.
It also becomes easier to remain focused for long periods even when you’re physically tired, which can have huge benefits for professional athletes and casual sports players alike.
2. Weight loss
The reduction of stress caused by regular meditation can also have an impact on your weight.
When we are stressed, our body produces an excess of cortisol. This causes cravings for carbohydrates, fat, and sugar even if we're not hungry, as these all have a calming effect.
It also signals to your body to store calories as fat, making it harder to lose weight, even if you're doing all the right things in terms of diet and exercise.
By meditating, reducing stress and therefore cortisol production, it becomes easier to resist junk food and to lose weight while doing so.
3. Better sleep
Poor sleep often arises from being unable to shut your mind off at night, perhaps because of stress or even because of excitement. Either way, once they started practicing turning off their thoughts for meditation, many people have reported finding it easier to fall asleep.
A good night’s sleep in itself can reduce cortisol, improve focus and help you feel calmer.
4. Improved sex life
One of the main causes of erectile dysfunction (if you're a man) or failure to orgasm (if you're a woman) is being unable to lose yourself in the moment.
Whether it's because your nervous being naked around a new person or you're desperate to make a good impression on your partner, being stuck in your thoughts is the best way to ensure that sex is mediocre at best.
Thankfully, meditation teaches you to escape your thoughts, making it easier to connect with your partner, appreciate every sensation and ultimately enjoy mind-blowing orgasms.
If that's not worth 10 to 20 minutes a day of your time, it's hard to think of what is.
How to meditate effectively
If you regularly suffer from stress or anxiety, you may initially find it hard to turn off your thoughts. Meditation is easier when it’s practiced in an empty room free from distractions.
Set an alarm so you don’t have to worry about constantly checking the time and make sure you’re sitting comfortably from the start.
From there, take deep breaths and concentrate on how your body feels when you do this.
If a thought pops into your brain, don’t get frustrated or resist it. Accept it, then avert your concentration back to your breathing.
The more you practice, the easier it will become and the more likely you will be to notice the benefits listed in this article.