My favorite meditation benefit isn’t necessarily the one most people are chasing.
Over the years I’ve met people who meditate to develop a spiritual side, fight stress, overcome addictions, dramatically slow brain aging and shrinkage, or become more productive at work, among other goals.
I’m on board with all of these, but at the end of the day I primarily do it because it makes me feel a whole lot more awesome. Specifically, meditation more quickly dispels the “vague feeling of disquiet,” that sometimes creeps in and downgrades my days.
I stopped a moment, closed my eyes, and checked in with my mental state. I realized that I was feeling mildly annoyed that a tech had come out to my place three times without actually fixing my internet connectivity problem.
As I thought negatively about that situation, my thoughts had spiraled in other negative directions in a scattershot, vague sort of way, and before long I was letting a complete nonissue taint my day and hold back my work, even if just a little.
Meditation Benefit: Banishing Disquiet
Ever notice that you’re feeling a bit off, but can’t put your finger on why? My experience is that I sometimes have a “feeling of disquiet,” or a vague sense of “not good enoughness,” anger, lack, or a similar emotion creep in without a very strong reason for why.
Usually, if I take time to observe my thinking process, there has been at least a small amount of negative mental commentary on some aspect of my existence which caused this to spring up. Emotion follows thought, so this isn’t surprising. Often, the thinking is going on in the far background of my consciousness as I’m going about my day doing other things.
Now it’s entirely possible to more consciously direct your thinking, which will eventually eliminate this, but sometimes it’s best to stop thinking entirely.
When you meditate, you stop thought, and your mind gets to wind down for awhile. This means that your emotions wind down too. Usually your emotional state returns to at least neutral, or “content,” but I often find it returns to mildly happy even without additional positive thought stimulus.
Those annoying, unreasonable negative emotions weighing you down just disappear like the made up things they are when you stop thinking the negative thoughts that spawn them and resisting your current moment. Then you can go about your day in a much happier and more productive state.
The Quick Fix
As I realized that my thoughts were holding back my podcast, I walked over to the wall, put my back to it, and sank down to the ground. I set a timer for 12 minutes (because that’s what I had time for), closed my eyes, and brought my awareness to the present moment.
In the quiet of my mind, I became aware that my brain and eyes felt kind of stressed (which may sound like a weird awareness, if you’re not really tuned in to this sort of thing), almost like they were pulsing in an unpleasant way. I kept my eyes closed and kept my mind silent, and my head and eyed slowly started to bleed off their stress and tightness.
Occasionally a thought would appear, but I would just let it go and return to the present moment. After some minutes had passed, I gradually became aware that I was feeling pretty good.
Without the negative mental chatter, my emotional state couldn’t help but improve.
Before my timer went off there was a knock on the door – the internet tech arriving early for repair attempt number four.
But I’d already fixed my “vague disquiet,” problem, and was ready to take another crack at the podcast.
How To Get Your Meditation On
Meditation may sound hard, or you may think that you’re not suited for it. The truth is that people who think this often get the most from it when they finally figure it out.
If you’d like to get my best tips for starting a meditation practice that might radically improve the quality of your life, check out my free guide.