A state of mind enriched with an underlying sense of contentment, fulfillment, and satisfaction in life, is happiness a feeling you chase but never quite reach? Well, contrary to popular belief, the 'feel-good' emotion is ever-present, often hidden beneath multiple layers of worries and concerns. All it takes is the correct opportunity to step out from the worldly troubles that consume us and tap into the readily accessible experience of pleasure.
You'd certainly be lying if you claimed that you've never typed the four magic words, 'How to be happy?', in search of an attainable response. An ultimate end goal of sorts, knowingly or unknowingly all our actions in life are directed towards the pursuit of happiness.
Elucidating on the significance of meditation for happiness, entrepreneur and digital content creator, Ranveer Allahbadia of 'BeerBiceps' fame gives you the lowdown on how to inch closer towards a calmer, peaceful state of mind.
Altering Breathing Patterns
"Meditation changes your breathing patterns in the long run. While one usually underestimates the power of good breathing, given it's directly connected to your mind, it's important to realise that it's the only bodily function which is both voluntary as well as involuntary," informs Ranveer. You may have noticed that when you watch a horror movie you tend to breathe faster out of fear and when you are in a calm state of mind, your breathing slows down. All of this is nothing but your mind reacting to your breath and vice versa. "This proves that your mind and breath are intimately connected and work in tandem. Meditation, when practised regularly helps gradually slow down your breathing, inducing a calming effect on your overall health and well-being," he adds.
The Mind & Body Connection
"Consistent practise of meditation for about 15 to 20 minutes a day has shown to reduce the size of the Amygdala, a part of our brain which is directly associated with regulating emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety etc. With regular practise, one can effectively minimise the impact of such negative emotions, thus feeling happier and more at peace!" claims Ranveer.
Self-Awareness & Mindfulness
"To enjoy a happy and calm life, one must possess a tremendous amount of self-awareness. It is meditation that'll help you gain this awareness, urging you to fully live and exist in the present moment." Meditation drives you a step closer to becoming more self-aware and helps in self-growth and productivity. "There is a concept of 'implicit memory' where our brains block an array of experiences we've gone through, however, we often subconsciously hold on to the feelings attached to these very memories," he adds. For instance, if you find yourself fearful of dogs, you may have been chased by one as a kid, although fail to recall the happening of any such incident. In such cases, meditation allows you to break down these memories and attain awareness about your feelings and actions. But all said and done, nothing happens overnight, and it is solely with regular practise that you'll be able to succeed. "The more aware one is, the better one can heal and let go of the baggage, inviting positive emotions of bliss and joy," states Ranveer.
Meditation = Increased REM Sleep
REM sleep is considered to play a heavy role in learning, memory, and mood, and the daily practise of meditation can help increase our REM sleep hours. "If you meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day, you can experience this effect in full bloom! By being well-rested, you'd automatically feel less irritable and upset and can experience a more peaceful, happy state of mind," he advocates.
The Power of Pranayama
While this one may sound a bit superficial, it's a 100 percent true. Practising pranayama along with meditation can change your life for the better. Pranayama involves learning to control your breathing patterns; they say the slower you breathe, the longer you live! According to Ranveer, with adequate training pranayama not only has a calming effect on your mind, but it also increases the oxygen level in your body which is directly proportional to healthy skin, hair and overall well-being. The amalgamation of meditation and pranayama can help with both mental and physical health, boosting your confidence and happiness levels.