Meditation is something that more and more people are getting in to because there is a huge range of benefits. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular types of meditation although there are many different ways to take part in this practice.
However, there is a flip side and, as with anything, there may be cons to meditation that many people are not aware of. But should that mean that you should ditch your meditation practice in favour of something else? Or so the pros far outweigh the cons?
We have written many posts on the pros of meditation techniques but in this article, we are going to look at the practice through less biased eyes and show you some of the good and bad things about your meditation practice.
What Is Meditation?
Many people believe that meditation is the act of sitting silently, clearing the mind of all thoughts and is a way to improve your life through spirituality. In some aspects, this is correct. However, while some of the meditations we see in religions like Hinduism and Buddhism might be very strict practices. There are other ways that you can practice this technique.
To meditate means to bring the mind into the present moment. With so much focus on social media, TV, career and many other distractions, it can be easy for the mind to focus on things that have happened or thoughts of what might come tomorrow.
But a meditation practice allows people to reduce stress and find peace and calm. Your meditation session also does not need to be a way of ridding the mind of all thoughts. You cannot simply switch the mind off like that and while many people have this incorrect understanding of meditation sessions, the truth is that meditation is something that allows us to observe our thoughts and emotions without judgement and then letting them pass.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on being in the present moment and whether you use a guided meditation or do a meditative walk, these techniques can make huge positive changes in our lives.
You can meditate using meditation music or by listening to the voice of a guide. However, if music isn’t your thing, you may find peace by sitting somewhere quiet and placing your awareness on the breath while you try to remain present.
Of course, this post is about the pros and cons of meditation and while this is a practice that has been done for thousands of years, many people experience problems.
The Pros And Cons Of Meditation
One of the main problems that people face when turning to a meditation routine is that they believe that this practice will change their life instantly, and that is simply not the case. While some people do notice changes from the first session, other people may need to practice mindfulness and meditation for months before they see a difference.
The key is to go into the practice with an open mind and be ready to experience meditation in a way that is unique to you. With this in mind, let’s explore the pros and cons.
Meditation Helps You Relax
One of the key reasons that people decide to try mindfulness and meditation is that they believe that it will help them to relax and this is certainly true. If you need to find a way of clearing your mind and lowering your stress levels then there is no doubt that meditation will work.
You can use meditation music to block out the stresses of life or you might lull yourself into a meditative state through breathing an visualisation. But whichever type of meditation you choose, you will be moving away from the stress and anxiety of daily life which can help to calm and relax you.
Connect To Your Inner Self
How many of you reading this post or other posts like this can honestly say that you are in a place where you understand your true self? Many of us cannot and this is because in the western world, too many of us have stopped paying attention to our intuition. We simply do not trust ourselves to make the right decisions. When we do make a decision it is often based on what our brain tells us to do and not what our heart desires.
Some might say that meditation is a way to unite the body, soul and mind and that connecting with our inner self will allow us to navigate our way through life much more easily.
Improve Your Mental Health
In recent times, there have been a lot of studies looking at the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and we are constantly seeing the same results. One of the things that always comes up is that meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day can have a positive impact on mental health issues.
This is particularly true for people who are suffering with things like anxiety and depression, which believe it or not are two of the biggest problems for mental health professionals in the modern world. The stress that we face every day at work, home and in the world in general is taking a massive toll.
But meditation can help to improve this and has the potential to fill our lives with greater levels of happiness. However, there are some mental conditions that may not be suited to mindfulness and meditation as this practice could exacerbate the problems. For this reason, you should always speak to your doctor before beginning a regular practice.
Get A Better Insight Into Your Life
All too often, we believe that we know what we need. We feel as though we know our own body and mind better than anyone else; and we probably do but we certainly don’t often go deep enough to truly understand our feelings.
A great thing about meditation is the idea that we can begin to understand things with a different perspective. While sitting with closed eyes and indulging in some meditative music, you will begin to see situations differently and this may help you to understand the people and situations in your life more easily.
Improve Your Sleep With Meditation
While there is a great amount of stress in our lives and most of the time, we find ourselves incredibly busy, a lot of people still find that they have serious issues when it comes to getting a decent night’s sleep.
If this sounds like you then you are by no means alone. Millions of people around the globe struggle to fall to sleep at night and even when they do, they find it almost impossible to remain asleep.
However, there is now enough evidence to show that meditation is a great way to help improve your sleep quality and how easy it is to fall to sleep in the first instance. Of course, mindfulness practices and meditative music cannot help with this alone but when you combine it with other lifestyle changes such as an improved diet, exercise and good sleep hygiene, you will likely notice an impressive difference.
There Are No Limits
One of the greatest things about meditating is that there is no limit and zero constraints on how or where you practice. You have a choice over the type of meditation you do; whether that be music, a mindfulness walk or breathing exercises and anything else. This is something that you can tailor to your own needs and preferences.
On top of this, you have the choice over the amount of time you spend in meditation. There are those who love to use meditative music or guided meditations several times a day for rather lengthy sessions. However, in contrast, if you wanted to do just a few minutes a day, you have the option to do this.
But what we think is best of all is that meditation and mindfulness can be done anywhere. You don’t need to be in a particular location to start meditating. You can do it on the train on the commute home from work, in the bath or shower, while walking the dog or anywhere else that you please.
Many people think that you cannot meditate while moving but the opposite is true. If meditation to you means putting your headphones in and experiencing the present moment with your favourite music then that is entirely OK.
Improve Physical Health
One of the best parts of meditation is that not only can it help your health mentally but it may also have a physical impact. This technique has been proven to lower the blood pressure. As we know, lower blood pressure means better heart health.
When you combine this with other elements of a healthy lifestyle, you will soon begin to see very positive results.
Meditation Is Accessible
One of the greatest things about living in this modern time is how easily we can access a multitude of meditation aids. Whether you head to a platform like YouTube and watch a guided session or read a website filled with free meditation scripts or download one of the many meditation apps, you will always have a plethora of meditation materials at your fingertips.
Doesn’t this make it so much easier to get into meditation than it would have been even as little as twenty years ago?
Meditation Is Not A Magic Solution
When approaching meditation for the first time, it is crucial that the practitioner does so with a realistic expectation. While meditation is certainly something that can help in many ways, it is by no means an instant cure for all of your problems.
That being said, a lot of people come into the practice with this expectation and then are sorely disappointed. Even though many doctors are now suggesting meditation as a complimentary therapy, they will tell you that you must also access other types of help.
In essence, meditation is not a magic cure.
Meditation Requires Practise
Too many of us enter into meditation thinking that we will have en epiphany of self realization from the first session and a deep knowledge of ourselves along with no stress and ultimate concentration. These are all things that can be achieved through meditation but they certainly will not take place overnight.
Meditation requires a lot of hard work and when you bring it into your life, you must be prepared to commit. The very nature of meditation means that while it can help massively in your life, it needs to be an ongoing practice. Which leads us onto our next point.
Meditation Needs To Be Regular
A person cannot merely decide to meditate one day and then not do it again for a week, then leave it two days, then perhaps another fortnight; this will not help.
There is no denying that modern life does take up a lot of our time but when a person dedicated time to meditation, they are much more likely to notice the benefits than a person who simply practices as and when they feel like it. In short, you have to be committed.
Meditation Can Reignite Bad Memories
Some of us will have had very traumatic experiences and as you switch on your meditative music and bask in the present moment, it is not difficult for the mind to begin working over time. The result is that some people may end up with vivid re-livings of their past and this can be very disturbing.
Even worse, this can mean that your mental state is adversely affected and where meditation can serve as a way to improve health in a mental capacity, it can also go in the opposite direction.
There Is A Stigma Attached To Meditating
While meditating is becoming more and more widely accepted in the west, there are still some people who struggle to understand the concept. As such, there are some communities where meditation is almost viewed as wrong, despite the scientific research that mindfulness and meditation are positive, for the most part.
If you live in such an area, you may have found that your mindfulness practices have been frowned upon and may have even found yourself practising in secret.
Some people also believe that meditation is a purely religious practice and if you come from a place where this is true, it can be hard work convincing people otherwise. Therefore, when they hear meditative music coming from your home or notice you browsing a meditation website like this one, they may become suspicious.
The Results Are Not Easy To Measure
There have been many studies showing the effects of meditation but this does not necessarily mean that meditation will be easy to measure. You could spend hours each day quietly listening to a guided meditation or music and while you may notice some improvements in certain areas of your life, there is nothing to measure this against.
For this reason, a lot of people will poo poo the idea of meditation and the positive effects it can have on a person.
Meditation can be done in many ways, through music, guided sessions, silence, breathing and much more. However, while the practice is known to have a positive impact on conditions like anxiety, depression and stress, there are some downsides to meditation that are not often talked about.
Before engaging in this practice, you must make sure that you are aware of the pros and cons as this will help you to weigh up whether meditation is right for you.