Benefits Of Meditating For Just 8 Minutes A Day

Meditation for just 8 minutes a day can improve your memory, attention, and empathy
benefits of meditating for just 8 minutes a day

When I first started listening to meditation podcasts, I was very resistant, and they didn’t work. Everyone is resistant to meditation at first. One may think they don’t have time for it because they have too much to do or sitting and feeling your breathing isn’t going to help you get your work done.

I know that I always felt like it was a waste of time. But taking just a few moments to be in your present moment has numerous benefits for your mental and physical health.

For meditation to work, you must put in the effort. If you are listening to a meditation podcast and waiting for it to work, it never will. You have to participate. Many people think you must empty your mind in order to meditate, and this is not necessarily true.

You can learn to entirely clear your mind, but most of us are too used to constantly thinking about what we need to do next, that this is unrealistic and unnecessary.

There are several ways to meditate. One way is to simply close your eyes and feel your breath entering and exiting your lungs as slow as you can. In a sitting position, you can also feel the restless energy in your head and imagine it slowly making its way down your body, out of your feet, and back into the earth.

Using your five senses: determining five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste, is a useful way to quiet your mind and stay in the moment.

Mindfulness as Meditation

In addition to giving your mind a break, meditation is a good time to check in with yourself and your feelings. This is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique in which you allow yourself to feel your feelings without judgment and determine the cause of the feelings.

Most of us hold on to feelings like anger, sadness, anxiety for longer than is useful to us. If we allow ourselves to feel these emotions without trying to push them down or escape them, they will go away faster. But while you are feeling these things, it is always a good idea to examine the cause.

You should ask yourself why you are feeling this way which may lead you to a deeper emotion. You can examine your feelings in these layers until you get to the “root” of whatever problem you may be having that is causing you distress. For example:

The first feeling you identify may be that you are irritable.

  • You should allow yourself to feel the emotion without judging it as good or bad.
  • Then you try to determine why you are feeling this emotion, what caused it. For this example, the feeling I will use is that you are feeling ignored or unwanted.
  • You can again feel this emotion, and then try to determine why you are feeling this way.
  • The reason you may be feeling ignored is that your friends are not answering your calls or texts.
  • After you identify this reason, you could examine it and determine that you feel that your friends do not like you.
  • You may then determine that this is illogical, and you are merely projecting your own feelings of negative self-worth onto your friends’ perceptions of you.
  • After you identify that you have feelings of negative self-worth, you could go deeper and determine why you feel that way and then work to change it.

By going through all these steps, mindfulness can help you to work through negative feelings faster and improve your overall self-esteem. Also, by understanding your own emotions, you will be better equipped to understand others’ emotions.

Therefore, if you ever feel like you are being ignored, another good way to not let it affect your mood or self-worth is to empathize with your friend and think about a time you had to ignore one of your friends for a while.

Meditation and mindfulness are different things because, with meditation, you are choosing a specific thing or action to think about, be it a mantra, or breathing.

While with mindfulness you are focusing on your emotions. However, both bring you to the present moment so that you are simply existing in your body and mind without worrying about external factors. Therefore, you can practice mindfulness at any time, or you can do it as a kind of meditation.

What 8 minutes of meditation can do to your brain

Mindfulness and meditation have been scientifically proven to improve mental and physical health. In their book, Altered Traits, Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body” Richie Davidson and Daniel Goleman lay out their extensive research which shows that meditation changes the way your brain works.

They found that meditation for only 8 mins a day improves memory and attention. Meditation also has long-term effects on improving traits like selflessness and compassion. Mindfulness can get you out of cycles of self-destructive thoughts.

When depressed, people often get stuck ruminating on the same kinds of thoughts. Meditation and mindfulness break up this pattern and help you to realize when it is happening so that it happens less often.

There, of course, needs to be more study done on the length of time spent meditating and its correlative effects on the brain, as most biological differences in the brain come from long-term mindfulness.

But in the cases of brains of life-long practitioners, it has been found that the size of the region of the brain which improves memory, empathy, and resilience increases. However, Davidson had resulted in the laboratory of changes in the brain in people who only practiced meditation thirty minutes a day for two weeks.

He says “Most people recognize that if you go to the gym for two weeks and work out every day with a personal trainer, you’ll feel a difference. But those changes aren’t going to persist unless you keep exercising. Meditation is very similar.”

Therefore, when people first begin meditating it is difficult for them. They haven’t developed the muscles in their brain. This is also why people who have been meditating for years keep doing it. It took a lot of hard work for them to get their brain in shape. 

Meditation has several benefits which can be marketed as being useful for increased productivity. Increased attention span and memory are “useful” skills. However, the most important reason to meditate is that it is a natural way to calm the brain and promote mental health.

For people with depression and anxiety, the use of meditation could be groundbreaking. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that meditation can be just as good as medication in cases of recurrent depression.

In the study with half of the participants using meditation and half using antidepressants, after 18 months, the relapse results were essentially the same, only differing by 1%.

This means that anyone with depression, depending on the severity, can learn to treat themselves. While anyone with depression should go to a licensed therapist, many people do not have the means to do so.

Therefore, meditation and mindfulness are excellent ways for people to improve their mental health without having to pay for treatment or medication.

I love science podcasts and mystery novels. I am an aspiring journalist and spend most of my free time writing.

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