There are countless studies these days that laud the benefits of meditation. From medical (lowering your blood pressure), to educational (increasing your ability to focus), meditation is now being acknowledged and recommended by experts in various fields.
When I first started meditating, one of the most significant differences that I noticed was the fact that I was finally able to calm my “monkey mind” and fall asleep at night in under an hour! That had been a serious issue for me for as along as I can remember (even as a child!). I was a night owl, not because I found myself to have an incredibly sharp mind in the late hours, but rather because I couldn’t seem to gain control over my thoughts! A night owl by default, I guess you would say. However, with continued practice, that hour became forty-five minutes, then thirty minutes, and down and down. These days, unless I have a pressing issue on my mind, I am usually asleep within ten minutes of hitting the pillow.
As if this wasn’t enough of a reason, I also have experimented with using meditation or conscious calming of my mind, to lower my blood pressure. Always one for conducting a good experiment, I have tested the “meditation can lower your blood pressure” theory in 2 ways. The first was at the doctor’s office. I can’t say that I love going to the doctor, so when I go, I must admit that I am not my most peaceful/best self. I get nervous and my blood pressure has been elevated on occasion during the initial exam. After having one questionable reading, I used a few breathing and centering techniques that are a part of my meditation practice. When they took my blood pressure a second time (yes, it was alarmingly high the first and warranted another reading), they were shocked to see how different the second reading was! To the point where the nurse asked if I had been nervous when I first came in 🙂 Ummmm, yes. The other method that I used to try quite often, was to go to the pharmacy area and use their armband to test myself. I would sit down, not nervous, just a regular person, take my blood pressure and then take it again while using centering and breathing. Even a slight decrease was consistent. Try it! It’s actually quite amazing.
As far as increasing focus and other benefits of teaching children mindfulness techniques goes, I personally haven’t done much research on this, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not out there! Check out some of these links and see how schools have integrated “mindfulness” or meditation into their school days.
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/should-schools-teach-kids-to-meditate/283229/ (this one is long and does talk about meditation/mindfulness in conjunction with yoga, but it has some great insights).
So I guess the point of this entire post is that meditation/mindfulness, whether it’s 3 breaths a day or 30 minutes a day, can be beneficial to you no matter your age. I would love to hear from others who have had positive outcomes. How has meditation been beneficial in your life?