I have been meditating for about a year now. When I started, I was not disciplined. I would skip a few days & it was just never a daily practice for me. I kind of hated it. I had read enough scientific literature & heard enough testimonies to know it was good for me. So, I kept forcing myself to do it. It wasn’t until a few months ago until I really began to feel the effects & become more disciplined with it. Once I began feeling the effects, I was afraid to stop. It changed my life.
Focus. I began to notice my spidey sense a few months ago. I could literally feel time slowing down in some moments; during exams, sports & physical activities, important conversations & more. Obviously I had not acquired some sixth sense, but I attribute this enhanced awareness to a drastic increase in my ability to focus. Meditation has been shown to increase the concentration of grey matter in your brain; a lack of grey matter is associated with ADHD (trouble focusing). I have ADHD, so my hypothesis is: consistently meditating over an extended period of time has increased the concentration of grey matter in my brain, thus drastically improving my focus & awareness. Sorry, I do not have a before & after fMRI of my brain to show you.
Self-control & awareness. Having had ADHD my entire life, I have always been an impulsive person. I never really planned much out, just impulsively acted on my feelings & emotions. This has gotten me in a great deal of trouble & has even put my life in danger many times. This was probably the most beneficial side effect of meditation, personally. We all have that split-second window, where we have a chance to think over what we’re about to do in the moment. This can be right before you buy that doughnut or you pop that pill. My whole life, this split-second gap almost always ended in “fuck it, just do it”. Now, I feel like that window is no longer a split-second. I feel like I am truly able to suppress my immediate impulses, cravings and/or desires in order to properly think everything through. Meditation has been shown to improve the density of the frontal cortex, which is the area of our brain responsible for logical thinking, reasoning & planning.
Control your nervous system. There are two branches of our nervous system. One branch is able to be consciously influenced, known as the somatic nervous system. The other runs on autopilot & is known as the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is what beats your heart, breathes, fights infections, heals your wounds, digests your food, etc. Meditation has actually been scientifically proven to improve our ability to consciously influence this unconscious part of our nervous system. If you have not heard of Wim Hof, go check him out. He has, under the scrutiny of science, shown that he is able to consciously influence his metabolic activity, immune system, & other intricate aspects of his autonomic nervous system. He’s also broken over 20 world records doing crazy shit like running a marathon through the desert without any prior training and without drinking any water the entire time. I have not been able to do any of this yet… But, I can see how he is able to do it. With enough practice & diligence, you really tune into your being. We have to keep in mind how intelligent the natural processes in our body are. We, as humans, have yet to design anything close to the sophisticated-ness of our body/mind. Meditation is the practice by which you shut off your conscious mind & tune into your deeper self. Your primal being. This will give you control over that which you thought was impossible. Check out Wim Hof. There are legit scientific studies published on this guy proving his capabilities. His whole message is that we all have this power within us, you just need to tune in.
Lots of studies tracking people who meditate consistently showed increased activity in the left frontal lobe along with its relation to the limbic system, signifying increases in positive emotions and higher levels of happiness, focus and higher thought (https://www.thealternativedaily.com/study-meditation-actually-increases-frontal-cortex-and-boosts-frontal-lobe-activity/).
Give it a shot! Just 5 minutes in the morning and/or evening. I promise, if you stick with it, there is no way you won’t change for the better.