Some people might underestimate the power of meditation and perhaps even misunderstand what it really means, but it has been scientifically proven to reduce our stress and anxiety levels and replace them with peacefulness, which can be beneficial for personal strength and resilience. It’s also been found that mindful reflection can be transformative for our finances, which we will explore in more detail in this post. We will also discuss what meditation means, different ways to meditate, how it affects our brains, and the concept of money meditation – the financial benefits of mindful exercises.
What is meditation?
The mindfulness app, Headspace, describes that “Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment.”
It’s a common misconception that meditation is solely a transcendental experience that can take years of training to master. While it can be that for many people, we look at meditation in its simple sense; how a few minutes of relaxation and reflection can have significant benefits on your mental health.
The science behind meditation
Neurological studies have been ongoing for years to draw links between mental state and exercise. Mediation in particular is something that researchers have been studying for decades, revealing a wide range of benefits that this calming exercise can have on our minds and overall psychological well-being.
Here are some of the main ways that meditation can affect our brains:
· Potential age-defying effects
A study found that meditation helps diminish the negative impact of ageing on the brain. The study focused on the link between age and cerebral grey matter in long-term meditators aged between 24 and 77 years. While both younger and older brains showed inevitable signs of natural decline, that decline was much steeper in those who hadn’t meditated much compared to older participants who had meditated for an average of 20 years.
· Meditation can make us happier
Our minds naturally wander and, generally, people tend to look for ways to ‘switch off’ and avoid overthinking and worrying – mental states that are associated with being less happy.
Researchers at Yale University carried out a study that focused on the neurological relationship between meditation and mind-wandering to examine how this mental exercise affects contemplation and, ultimately, happiness. The study found that the main nodes in the default mode network (DMN), which are responsible for self-referential thoughts, of experience meditators were “relatively deactivated” when meditating. In other words, meditation has a quieting effect on the mind, helping prevent overthinking and increase happiness.
· Reduced depression and anxiety levels
Delving further into the relationship between meditation and happiness, another study looked at mindfulness and its ability to reduce psychological stress. It discovered a moderate effect of 0.3 on positive mood, improved anxiety, and mental health-related quality of life. While this may sound low, antidepressants also have an effect size of around 0.3, making meditation a natural remedy that’s equally effective.
There are countless studies that examine the many impacts of meditation on the human brain, drawing a long list of positive conclusions. On top of the above, some other effects include improved learning and memory, enhanced concentration, and addiction recovery.
How meditation can benefit our finances
“To be calm and peaceful around money gives you the strength and resilience to live fully.”– Abacus Wealth
Financial anxiety comes in many forms and is very common, and while meditation may not be an obvious remedy, there are many techniques that can help alleviate financial stress and maintain control over our money and investments.
With the numerous studies highlighted earlier in mind, here are a few ways that meditation can help improve our finances:
1. Improved decision-making skills
Good decision-making skills are vital to building long-term sustainable wealth. Consistent meditation can help by reducing stress and fatigue, which can otherwise influence incautious financial and investment decisions.
2. Increased self-awareness
Taking the time to regularly connect with your mind can increase your financial self-awareness. This means that it can help you reflect on your spending and investment choices to truly understand your priorities, how they impact you, and how to make useful changes. Ultimately, a little meditation can help you set clearer financial priorities that continue to align with your values over time.
3. Improved concentration
Enhanced concentration can be a big help when it comes to keeping a company running effectively or optimising your investment portfolio. Regular meditation has proven to improve focus and clear thinking, which can be highly beneficial in our everyday financial lives to, for example, help formulate a strong investment strategy, set meaningful goals, or reflect on your existing investments and communicate more effectively with your financial teams.
4. Increased happiness
Meditation can help improve our moods and overall happiness by reducing stress. A positive outlook is crucial for financial success as it encourages a proactive mentality and motivation, so mindful exercises can help maintain positivity in your wealth-building strategy for the long term.
5. A healthy response to challenges
Setbacks are a common part of our everyday lives, and when it comes to success, the way in which we deal with them can make all the difference. This is another area that meditation can help with. Practicing peaceful thinking regularly can be a useful way of responding to challenges more effectively. Successful people confront their errors and grow from them, which helps develop power, self-confidence, and sustainable financial health.
6. An abundance mentality
Rather than feeling restricted and stressed, meditation can help form an abundance mentality. This means achieving a sense of contentment, energy, fulfilment, and the freedom to enjoy the successful life that you have created for yourself.
How to meditate for abundance
If you haven’t tried meditation before, there are many different exercises that could be worth trying. They can be adapted to fit in with your lifestyle, so you can easily work into your everyday schedule rather than finding the time to meditate.
Your mindfulness techniques can be as short or long as you wish – depending on what relaxes you and what you’d like to get from meditation, you might find that as little as 15 minutes a day of controlled breathing exercises in a calm environment can make a huge difference. Start by removing any distractions that could interfere with your meditation (for example: turn your phone off, close your laptop, or be alone). Set a time limit that you are comfortable with and simply use that time to focus on the in and out motion of your breathing. Connect with your mind and steer it to a place of relaxation and peace when it starts to wander. The NHS provides a useful guide for beginners to help you get started. Abacus Wealth also provides a range of money meditation podcasts that you may find useful in guiding you through your meditation sessions.
Numerous studies over the years have proven that meditation has powerful effects on our neurological state and responses. They have also shown that dedicated sessions of mindfulness and relaxation can have significant benefits on your psychological wellbeing and physical health.
When we apply the power of meditation to our financial lives, many of these benefits can have a direct influence on our success and wealth – this is where money meditation comes in. For example, a calm mind can improve our overall mood by reducing stress and anxiety, making us feel happy, energetic, and motivated to be successful. Ultimately, meditation has a powerful potential to encourage an abundance mindset – find the good in what we already have, appreciate the wealth we have built for ourselves, and find fulfilment within it to lead a full, healthy, and resilient life.
If you’d like to read more about self-development and how to keep improving your personal skills for wealth-building, you may find the Propiteer Capital Personal Development Blog useful. Here you’ll find plenty of handy tips on the health, fitness, and education of the wealthy.