It’s a proven fact that these days, pretty much everyone’s lives are more complicated — and thus more stressful — than they were for previous generations. With conflicting demands of work, fun and family tugging us in different directions, we also have to keep up with an exhausting barrage of news and media, all while trying to eat healthily and exercise. It can seem impossible at times — which is why we often have difficult emotions crop up, like anger, resentment, and grief.
These emotions are not new, of course — they’ve always been a part of the human experience. But the difference today is that because of the insane pace of our lives; we don’t take the time to sit down and confront how we’re feeling. When you have so many things to do each day, you feel the need to pull yourself together and ignore what you feel so that you can go to work and be productive each day. However, bottling up emotions this way can be detrimental — not just for your mental state, but for your physical health and interpersonal relationships with friends and family.
Whether you’re experiencing a breakup, a personal failure or a death in the family, you need a way to confront what you’re feeling — and that’s where meditation can help. Meditation techniques are traditionally seen as something people do to feel more relaxed, and aren’t typically seen as helping deal with negative emotions. However, besides clearing your mind and helping you reduce stress, meditation also helps you explore what you’re feeling and overcome the negativity in your life.
How does it work?
Meditation helps you overcome difficult emotions in several ways. To start, it forces you to acknowledge what you’re feeling, reducing the stigma around experiencing emotions like anger and sadness. It’s important to know that it is entirely natural to feel this way, and meditation helps you reach this understanding by getting you to admit to yourself that you are upset.
In a meditation session, you sit down in a quiet place, get rid of extraneous thoughts and merely allow yourself to feel whatever emotion you are feeling. Opening up the floodgates of feeling is the first step, as after you acknowledge to yourself that you feel a certain way, you can start to move toward healing and forgiveness.
Meditation is also beneficial because it builds resilience. People who meditate have to not only work on blocking out the distractions around them, but also on arranging their everyday lives around their meditation sessions. Committing yourself to meditating daily is one way that you can demonstrate you have the self-discipline it takes to follow through on your promises to yourself. Similarly, meditation helps deal with negative emotions by building up the resiliency you need to deal with any issues that may arise, even if they are difficult to accept.
Why is it beneficial?
Meditation is helpful in many ways, starting with the fact that people who meditate experience feelings of calmness and relaxation, which is primarily necessary for a stressful environment. This can set up a warm and inviting atmosphere for dealing with the specific emotions that you’re addressing, which can make you finally feel comfortable enough to admit to yourself why you’re feeling this way and what kinds of underlying issues you need to follow up on.
Meditation also helps you deal with the effects of those emotions, particularly in your work and relationships. If you feel like you can’t go about your daily life as normal because of the emotions you’re experiencing, then meditating can help you to build the discipline necessary to grit your teeth and go forward anyway. Furthermore, it provides a designated time and place in which to release your emotions, which can go a long way toward helping you avoid later emotional breakdowns at work (which can happen if you keep what you’re feeling bottled up inside).
Ultimately, meditation can be helpful just because of how easy it is to do. Combined with the “mindfulness” movement, which asks you to be conscious of the way you live your life and to evaluate your work-life balance, this process is one of the best ways to address any suppressed anger, sadness or shame you might be feeling. It doesn’t have to take more than 10 minutes a day and can help you not just in the short term, but in the long run when you can think back on what you learned and use it to your advantage.
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