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There’s no doubt that meditation is good for you.
In fact, nearly every scientific paper and health website agrees that there are genuine health benefits to meditating.
But can meditation help toughen up your mind too?
We wanted as definitive an answer as possible to the question, “Does Meditation Improve Mental Strength?”
We asked a number of psychologists about this and this is what they told us.
They told us that mental resilience correlated well to the regular use of mindfulness meditation training and that this had been shown to be true in groups as varied as the military, parents, and college students.
They said that mindfulness training helps to regulate your emotions and decrease psychological stress and this, in turn, helps us to better manage the threat of future stress.
They noted that you need to maintain constant practice in mindfulness training classes and this in turn stimulates a process called neuroplasticity, which is the body’s relaxation response (of sorts) when put into stressful situations, it’s a kind of mental armor if you will.
Thus, you might say mind fitness builds resiliency in everyday life.
Mindfulness practitioners say that you do not need to spend money or attend classes to begin working on this kind mental toughness, either.
You can begin working on mind fitness by starting with some simple breathing exercises that have you sit somewhere quietly every day for just ten minutes and where you focus on your breathing.
All you do, is sit, and listen to your breathing, and let everything else go around you.
This should decrease anxiety, see you experience fewer negative moods and even see your blood pressure drop. These exercises decrease stress by helping you stay mindful of the present moment.
Why does this work? Well, think about right now as you read this article.
If you are in the present moment, all of your attention should be on the words you are reading right now. You are not worried about things happening later on today, you are not stressed about the things you did earlier in the day.
Right now, everything is OK if you are fully present. You’re not unhappy, you’re not angry, you’re not elated, you’re simply reading these words – there’s nothing to be stressed about is there?
If you focus on this simple mindfulness homework diligently then you will find that your mental health as a whole improves over time.
Research shows that simple meditation every say for a period of 2-3 months can transform the physiology of your brain on a permanent basis.
Neuroplasticity stops being something theoretical and it becomes a physical attribute of your brain.
In addition, the amygdala (the part of your brain most associated with stress, pain and anxiety) begins to reduce in size, that is less of your brain is given up to bad feelings and the frontal lobe (the part of your brain that directly relates to logical decision making and personal emotional control) starts to grow in size.
That means your mind becomes geared to thinking in a positive manner and your brain structurally is better prepared to manage stress.
Those who do focused breathing guided meditation on a regular basis often find that they simply have a more positive outlook and are better at rational thinking than those who don’t do these things.
Interestingly, this kind of meditation is also linked to better working memory capacity and greater longevity overall (this might be from avoiding high blood pressure).
Ideally, you should meditate every single day of your life. Regular meditation sessions don’t need to take up all of our daily lives, the idea session length (at least to begin with) is about 10 minutes.
Over time, however, you may find that you enjoy the increased levels of well-being and opt to spend more time on this.
The best time to learn to meditate was 10 years ago, the next best time is today.
Regular meditation has so many benefits that there’s no sense in putting off learning.
The inner workings of the mind are very complicated but there’s no doubt at all that meditating builds mental toughness and helps keep stress at bay.
So, why not get started today?