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7 Eye-Opening Ways Meditation Can Help Your Personal Development

The term personality comes from the Latin word “persona”, and originally referred to a theatrical mask. Our personality, therefore, is a mask we wear over our true, inner selves. When we meditate, we drop this mask and we become our true selves.

Meditation is a state of deep rest and alertness at the same time. It is a practice that calms the mind and allows you to get in touch with your true Self. We get so caught up in the complexities of our busy lives that we become distanced from our true nature. Every human has a limitless ocean of joy within. Love is present at the very core of our being. Love is our very nature, and meditation, the age-old practice of calming the mind, is the way to repose in our true Self. It is the unbounded joy and peace that are experienced by meditating, by sitting still with ourselves for a few minutes. 

We can all use a little more balance in our lives, and meditation is known to be an effective way to center oneself and promote well-being. It is the need of the hour to relieve our mind of negativity, and to shake ourselves free of stress and tension. In the olden days, meditation was used to find enlightenment. Today, meditation is seen as an effective remedy to deal with the stresses of daily life, and to address the conflict in our minds and in society too. 

Apart from the several benefits of meditation, here’s how meditation can help you blossom your personality and develop into a well-grounded and sensitive yet sensible human being. 

1. Meditation Makes You More Kind and Compassionate

Researchers from Northeastern University College of Science and Harvard University examined the effect of meditation on interpersonal harmony and compassion in a study conducted in 2013. They found that meditation made people more willing to act compassionately and help people in need, even when doing so went against peer pressure.

2. Meditation Makes You Less Neurotic

Neuroticism is one of the Big Five higher-order personality traits in the study of psychology. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than average to be moody and to experience such feelings as anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depression, and loneliness. People who are neurotic respond worse to stressors, and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. 

In a study done in 1976, researchers found that 24 out of 39 meditating males became less neurotic; the degree to which they did so was related to the frequency of meditation.

3. Meditation Makes You More Agreeable, Authentic, and Responsible

We have the ability to influence our surroundings. When we enter a room where there has been a fight, we feel uneasy. But, when we enter a room where a baby is playing, we can pick up on a joyful, worry-free energy. Similarly, as we practice meditation on a regular basis, we will notice a noticeable transformation within ourselves. We will carry a beautiful energy around us. This will be apparent not just to us, but also to the people around us.

One study focused on personality changes occurring at a deeper, implicit level, and found that meditation may influence traits such as a sense of responsibility, authenticity, compassion, and self-acceptance, thus significantly shaping an individual’s personality toward a more coherent and healthy sense of self and identity (Thompson and Waltz, 2007). 

4. Meditation Makes You More Intuitive

Today, more and more people are relying on their intuition to achieve tremendous success and abundance in all areas of their lives, including money, relationships, success, and much more. Intuition is about tapping into the scientifically-proven quantum field or subconscious mind. Meditation is the very best tool to access your subconscious and awaken your dormant and yet super-powerful intuition.

5. Meditation Helps You Become More Forgiving

Forgiveness is a deliberate, conscious act of release and letting go of a past hurt or resentment from within. Forgiveness is the key to healthy and fulfilling relationships. 

As you quiet your mind with meditation, you become aware of the divinity of the present moment. Meditation gives you a powerful sense of clarity and a realization of the bigger picture. As your negativity drops, you begin to feel an abundance of love in your life, helping you let go of the past hurts quickly and easily.

6. Meditation Improves Self-Awareness and Self-Control

When you have inner peace, then you automatically succeed in what you do. The more silent you are from inside, the more powerful your thoughts and actions become.
—Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Meditation releases the accumulation of stress, and leaves our minds fresh and clear. This brings the mind to the present moment, which is the field of all actions. When the mind is totally in the present moment, we act with complete awareness.

Challenging situations and unsure times can be a cause for anxiety and may take away our awareness of the present moment. We are easily swayed by our emotions. We act on impulse,  even when we are required to take a calculated and rational decision. Meditation gives us the strength to accept situations as they are and respond in a conscious way. We do not react in ignorance, and say or do something which we may later regret.

7. Meditation Helps to Develop Great Ego Resiliency

A person with good ego resiliency has the ability to vary and adapt and express appropriate emotions in different situations and respond accordingly. 

The brittle ego is rigid and breaks under pressure; the resilient ego is flexible and adjusts to the ebb and flow of situations and circumstances.  Resiliency is the ability and skill to bounce back in the face of any adversity. We can also call this mental toughness, or even grit. The author of the best-selling book Grit, Dr. Angela Duckworth acknowledges “mental toughness” as the “secret sauce” pumping through the veins of successful people. 

The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of the human brain is responsible for pain resistance, willpower, motivation, focus, and emotional resilience. In a study to understand why meditators have such a high tolerance to pain, University of Montreal researchers compared the brains of 17 experienced meditators to brains of 18 non-meditators. The meditators’ brains had much thicker gray matter in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), with degree linked to years of experience. In other words, meditation fortifies the brain’s “grit” center.

Start Meditating: The Sooner, the Better!

Meditation brings huge benefits to any kind of personality—whether type A or type B, extrovert or introvert. You can see how well meditation encourages us to pursue higher values and help prevent us from staying stuck in old, conditioned behavior patterns that are no longer serving us well. That itself is an amazing reward.

The result of meditation is precious—it takes us to our Self. Practicing meditation regularly alleviates you from stress-related problems, deeply relaxes the mind, and rejuvenates the system. The Art of Living’s Happiness Retreat is a specially-crafted program to help you tap into your unlimited potential by diving deep within yourself. I see a huge difference in my personality since the time I have started practicing this form of meditation after trying out several others. 

Like any exercise routine or sport, meditation takes practice! No one in the world has “extra time”, but if you make the commitment, you can always find 10 minutes in your day to meditate. You don’t need the perfect moment or the perfect location. Create your own space and just show up like you would for any other appointment. Make it a non-negotiable practice. Meditation is one of the best ways to energize your body and calm your mind before a busy day.


Mindfulness & Meditation Retreats

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Previously published on artofliving.org