We all come across difficult times or crises at some point in our lives. It can be in the form of an illness, death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, financial crisis, failure, or any other kind of painful life events. These difficult times can make us feel that the ground beneath us is no longer stable.
Meditation can help us in becoming more intimate with our life experiences, be them good or bad. Meditation refers to a practice of training one’s mind to focus and to redirect one’s thoughts. Meditation employs techniques like mindfulness or focusing the mind on a specific thing, idea, or a pursuit. Meditation assists in achieving mentally clear and emotionally calm and balanced condition. It has become extremely popular in relieving stress in times of crisis.
Meditation offers numerous benefits especially in times of crisis.
Most people are not aware of their true selves. They never try to investigate what they want to achieve in their lives. They neither know their strengths, nor they know their weaknesses. They do not have clear goals. This lack of awareness deviates them from the path of success and offers failure. This failure becomes a stressor for them. They fail to realize that their capabilities do not match with their pursuit. Meditation helps in improving self-awareness. It helps people in matching their capabilities and goals. It puts them on the right path. A person who has an artist inside him may face failure while pursuing a medical degree. Meditation can help that person realize that a medical degree was never made for him and there is a better alternative to pursue.
Increase in self-compassion
The most common thing that people do in difficult times is self-blame. When people encounter negative life experiences, they turn towards self-judgment and self-hatred. The two wings of meditation, awareness, and compassion can help people in standing strong in the face of hardships. Awareness provides the ability to see things clearly which can help in seeing the bigger picture. It can also help in identifying the negative inner chatter. Treating oneself with kindness is extremely useful for being able to face life challenges.
Decreases occurrence of unhelpful thoughts
Everybody must have noticed that there is a stream of continuous chatter in our minds. This keeps on reminding us of our lost battles. It usually happens to me that I get engaged with a memory like it is happening again. Also, I invest my mental energy in finding a perfect comeback in the lost battle related to that memory. I achieve nothing but just the waste of my energy and time. These types of unhelpful thoughts make it even more difficult for us to deal with the difficult times. Meditation helps us in identifying this constant chatter and realizing that these thoughts are unhelpful. Passing these thoughts with throwing fuel on them provides a liberating effect.
Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from a difficult life situation. Meditation allows you to in acknowledging when things go against your plans. It helps in accepting things the way they are. Sometimes people try to cope with a stressor by denying its presence which is an unhealthy coping strategy because it prevents them from addressing the problem and finding a solution for it. Meditation helps in accepting the presence of the problem and focusing on its potential solutions.
We usually lose hope in difficult times and feel that things will never change. However, we forget the fact that life changes constantly. The present becomes past and the future becomes present. Mindfulness helps us in acknowledging this ever-changing property of life. In this way, we gain our lost or a new perspective and bring our lives back on the track.
Triggers relaxation response
When people are faced with a life stressor, their fight or flight repose becomes activated. This response is beneficial when there is an actual threat. However, it can cause severe physical damage if it gets prolonged as happens during the time of crisis. Meditation can help in inducing a relaxation response that is opposite to the fight or flight response. It brings the body back to a calm state, repairs it, and prevents any further physical damage due to the presence of a stressor. It stops the occurrence of stress-induced thoughts and it also directly affects the physiological processes of our body. It slows done breathing and heart rate. It normalizes blood pressure. It improves the supply of oxygen to the body. It boosts the immune system. It reduces the production of cortisol. In this way, it provides a double dose of relaxation.
Reduces life-damaging habits
Meditation can help people in reducing life-damaging habits like smoking, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse. These life-damaging habits can often become sources of the crisis. For example, a person who abuses drugs may lose his wife. Other examples include the loss of a job or severe illness due to drug abuse. Reducing these habits can reduce the future likelihood of the occurrence of stressors or crisis.
Boosts creativity and imagination
Creativity and imagination are immensely helpful tools for problem-solving. Creativity fosters divergent thinking which helps in identifying all the possible solutions to a problem. It enables people to view a situation from multiple perspectives. Meditation has been linked with boosting creativity by numerous researchers. Meditation boosts creativity which in turn boosts problem-solving ability. In this way, it helps in bouncing back from a crisis even stronger.
Enhances mental and physical well-being
Poor mental and physical health can make a person vulnerable to mental and physical disorders, especially during a crisis. Poor mental health leads to the development of psychological disorders which make difficult times even worse. Poor physical health also adds to the existing stressor making situation even worse. Research has found numerous benefits of meditation for both mental and physical well-being. Good mental and physical well-being improves tolerance and strength. It also improves the mind’s ability to find a solution early and the body’s ability to implement that solution as early as possible.
The world is a difficult place to live in. However, it is always in our hands to make things work in our favor. Meditation is one of those magical techniques that can help us in making things work in our favor.
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