A friend recently told me he had coughed up blood due to stress. He discovered the harmful effects that can be caused by holding on to stress, anger, frustration and other negative emotions. The best way to solve this problem is meditation.
I could write about the scientifically studied effects of meditation: reducing stress, pain, anxiety, aging, depression, feelings of loneliness and inflammation at the cellular level.
Or how it increases your immune function, positive emotions, emotional intelligence, compassion, ability to regulate emotions, ability to introspect, grey matter in key areas of your brain, focus, multitasking, memory and creativity.
But instead, I would like to write about the most important benefit that meditation gives us.
The Ability To Let Go.
We are always our own worst critics. I label almost everything I do as "not good enough" no matter how many people tell me otherwise.
We all judge our bodies, habits, careers, intelligence, and lifestyles more than anyone else ever could. We beat ourselves up so much and the worst part is that we think it is normal.
When we aren't holding grudges against ourselves, we are holding on to all the negativity the world gives us.
Something makes us angry in the morning and it ruins our day, or something stresses us out and we can't let go of it. We hold on to anger, sadness, envy, stress, regret and so much more.
Our mental well-being is one of the most important building blocks to a happy and fulfilled life. If we don't have a healthy mind we can never get near our full potential.
We are robbing the world of the beautiful gifts we could be sharing, just because we can't seem to let go of any of the things that do us no good.
When We Meditate.
We focus on the breath. It might not seem like much, but it is hard.
Thoughts will come up and we will get trapped in them for minutes at a time before snapping back and re-focusing on the breath.
We will have thoughts about the things that have angered us recently, the things we dislike about ourselves and the world; all the automatic and vindictive thoughts that circle in our brain on a daily basis.
When we practice snapping out of these thought patterns and focusing back on our breath we are constantly exercising our ability to let go of the thoughts that only hurt us.
Over time we get quicker and quicker at this until our negative knee-jerk reactions can no longer drag us down the rabbit hole.
When We Are In The Real World.
After practicing meditation and letting go, we become experts in daily life.
When we see someone more popular, richer and better looking than us, we get jealous. But we've practiced for this, and so we immediately let go and go about our day without a second thought.
When someone cuts us off in traffic, instead of letting the anger build and ruin our day, we let it go. When we have thoughts that put down and hurt us, we let them go.
We let go of everything that does no good for us and we never look back.
That is what meditation gives us, a second chance after every negative thought, every unhealthy emotion, and every harmful event.
In practicing meditation, we practice letting go. And when you let go of the bad, you make a lot more room for the good.