A Brief History of Meditation and How it Can Help Men Today
You’ve probably heard of meditation, but do you know where it came from? Though its roots go back thousands of years, meditation has only recently begun to gain popularity in the Western world. Here’s everything you need to know about meditation and how it can physically and mentally benefit men.
A Brief History of Meditation
Meditation is an ancient practice with roots in many different cultures. The first recorded instance of meditation came from 1,500 BCE when Hindu scriptures described a state of “self-withdrawal” achieved through yoga. Since then, meditation has been practiced by Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus alike.
It wasn’t until the late 19th century that meditation began to gain traction in the Western world. Then, in 1892, a Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, gave a speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago. His talk sparked an interest in Eastern philosophies and practices—including meditation—among American intellectuals.
During the 1960s counterculture movement, Westerners began experimenting with psychedelics to achieve spiritual enlightenment. This led to a renewed interest in Eastern religions and philosophies—including meditation—which was seen as more authentic than traditional Western religious practices. In 1967, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi popularized Transcendental Meditation (TM) with his book “The Science of Being and Art of Living.” TM quickly gained popularity among celebrities like The Beatles and Beach Boys; soon, mediation was seen as a hip, cool thing to do.
Since then, meditation has become more mainstream; nowadays, you don’t have to be a hippie or a celebrity to enjoy its benefits. Instead, anyone can benefit from adding meditation to their daily routine.
How Meditation Can Benefit Men Today
There are numerous benefits associated with meditation; some of these benefits are physical, while others are mental or emotional. Here are some ways meditation can benefit men today.
Losing weight is a primary concern among many men. Long-term stress can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to weight gain, particularly around the midsection. Meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”) and even boost testosterone in some cases.
Stress is also responsible for many physical health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep problems. Meditation can help reduce stress and address these physical issues in men.
Meditation has been shown to improve men’s creativity, focus, and memory and help them see things from different perspectives. For example, dealing with a particularly stressful situation might cause a man to become overwhelmed or even depressed; meditation could help him reframe the problem and reduce his stress.
Meditation can also help men deal with anger and depression; some research shows that it can even alleviate anxiety disorders like PTSD symptoms.
In addition to improving problem-solving skills and helping with stress, meditation can improve a man’s relationships. When they are less stressed, men become more patient and generous—both of which can help them form stronger bonds with the people around them.
Meditation has also improved moods and made men more optimistic about life. For many men, this is one of the most significant benefits associated with meditation. So how can you get started with meditation? First, find a way to integrate meditation into your home.
The first step is to build a space mainly for meditation. Here are a few suggestions:
If you have some outdoor space, try building a small patio area dedicated to meditation. This can be as simple as a patch of grass in your backyard or a more elaborate structure made specifically for meditation. If it’s too hot to do some activities or the sunlight is bothering you, consider installing corrugated roofing sheets on your patio. This can block out the sun and help you enjoy a peaceful time of meditation.
If you have extra space in your home, consider turning it into a yoga studio where you can meditate peacefully. This may require some renovations, but having an area dedicated to meditation will make it much easier to find time slots to meditate each day.
Finally, start your meditation routine by going slow. Even just a few minutes of meditation per day can provide enormous benefits, so don’t feel you need to do hours of meditation at once. Instead, take it one step at a time and work up from there—and before you know it, your daily meditation habit will be an essential part of your routine.
Meditation is an ancient practice with numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your well-being without taking medication or going to therapy, give meditation a try! You only need a quiet place to sit or lie comfortably, and you can start reaping the rewards today.