Mindfulness Monday: Why Meditation Makes A Difference

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Ever heard of Sahaj? It means “effortless” in Sanskrit.

Sahaj is a type of meditation practiced twice a day, just before eating. Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan, a Sahaj meditation teacher, also describes Sahaj as “mental hygiene.” That’s a phrase we really like. Our meals might help you clean up your diet, but meditation will help you clean up your mind. But Sahaj is just one of the many kinds of meditation out there – for example, at Freshly, we love to use meditation apps and we also love to eat. (Mindfully, that is!) Regardless of what kind of meditation you try, there are many, many benefits. 

We’ve noticed that when we meditate, we’re more productive (focusing practically becomes second nature), less stressed, more in touch with our emotions, and restful. “Meditation puts you on the fast track to being happy,” says Ronnie Newman, director of research and health promotion at the Art of Living Foundation, the umbrella organization for the Sahaj meditation course. And according to Forbes, meditation also makes us less self-obsessed: Studies at Yale University “have shown that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts.” Apparently, mind-wandering tends to be “associated with being less happy, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future, [so] it’s the goal for many people to dial it down.”

When it seems like there’s way too much to worry about, dialing it down sounds like a pretty good idea. But there’s more. Emma Seppälä, the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion, says, “Hundreds of studies suggest that meditation doesn’t just decrease stress levels…it also has tangible health benefits such as improved immunity, lower inflammation, and decreased pain.” Those are benefits we can get behind.

“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.” – Jon Kabatt-Zinn