3 reasons you should meditate


In today’s world, we are constantly overstimulated by technology and inundated with never ending tasks. We try to fill up our time as much as possible and squeeze in every last second.  This can be overwhelming! How did we use to operate without our smartphones and labtops? With everything at the tip of our fingertips, it’s easy to go into information overload, get distracted and lose our peace of mind in the process. Yet, we keep going because it’s what we know how to do best, especially being New Yorkers. In order to preserve our sanity, it’s important to become mindful through meditation. This will help you take a step back as you learn to rebalance your mental well being. Here are three reasons why you should meditate.


1.Reduce Stress

This would be at the top of the list. We deal with daily stresses when it comes to work and relationships. In big cities like New York, it’s more magnified because of the competition all across the board and costly living expenses. The lifestyle here can be cutthroat and you need to be on top of your game if you don’t want to be left behind. It’s almost like you’re the hamster on the wheel. You just keep going and going. At some point you will burn out, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Learning how to breathe, which is one of the most fundamental things in life, can help you reduce your stress levels and anxiety.  Just a few minutes a day can do wonders for your brain. All you need to do is to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.  There are also apps such as Headspace and Buddhify which help with guided meditation.  Kadampa Meditation Center in NYC is my top choice as a place of solace.  It’s great for beginners or for those who have been meditating for years.  There are a variety of classes with guided meditation and lectures which I found to be very helpful.  Do your homework and find what works best for you.


2. Preserve your sense of self

It’s easy to become detached from ourselves though the onslaught of media which tells us how we should look, feel or act today.  We can lose touch with our emotions and values as we become displaced with reality. Society can be cruel and very judgmental. We see certain standards set in place and we yearn to meet those expectations, even though they may not be in line with our own beliefs. We live in a very self-absorbed world and it’s important that we don’t get caught up and lose our sense of self. Through meditation, we can practice being mindful of our authentic selves, and not who we are pretending to be. Don’t be so hard on yourself and embrace who you really are with your imperfections and flaws.

3. Meditation rewires your brain

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry and reported in the New York times earlier this year, shows for the first time that when we meditate, this appears to strengthen communication between the two areas of the brian involved in self-control and internal focus. Meditation also helps reduce levels of a substance in the blood linked to stress.  The brain is designed to adapt constantly. By creating new pathways in our brain, mindfulness can help change the banter in our head from chaotic to calm. The only way you can find out if this works for you is to try.  I myself have only started to practice meditation this year. I find it to be challenging at times and peaceful at others.  I’m not at the point where I can do it on my own, but I do enjoy the lectures and guided meditation at the center tI attend.  When I’m unable to go to class, I go to my app to keep me in check.  Keep in mind, you will have your good days and bad days.  Some days you will not be in the mood.  It will be difficult at first so start with baby steps.  Little by little, you can train your brain and change the way it thinks.  It will be a journey and constant work in progress.  Embrace the process.

Did you know that some of the most successful people in the world meditate? They range from business executives to athletes to celebrities.  Rupert Murdoch, Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Derek Jeter, and Kobe Bryant are just a few. We all live in a crazy world these days as we deal with everything from terrorist attacks, social unrest and killings to politics.  Peace on earth would be great but let’s work on establishing peace of mind first.  I only touched upon a few of the reasons why you should meditate but there are so many more.  Meditation can improve focus, decrease depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia and increase quality of life.  Not only can it help us mentally but physically as well.  Start small, and start with a few minutes a day to build up.  Take a break when you need to.  Gently close your eyes.  Take a long big inhale and feel all the negativity leave your body as you exhale.  Feel your chest rise and fall with each breath and focus on your breathing.  All you need is a few minutes a day.

Cindy Lai



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