The Benefits of Meditating While Travelling
Meditation increases feelings of happiness and well-being
Yes, waking up to the sun outside your window and the sea a few steps away is lovely. But if you want to experience maximum happiness on your holidays, morning meditation is a good place to start. You’ll still have lots of time for exploring, because mediation practice can be as long or as short as you want it to be. According to Shawn Achor, meditating for just two minutes a day can leave people feeling happier and calmer. This boost in well-being is probably one of the most talked about benefits of travelling.
Meditation can diminish the stresses of travelling
Travelling isn’t always dreamy. Luggage is lost, flights are delayed and insect bites are rarely pleasant. If you’re meditating daily, you’ll be in better shape to deal with any issues that come up during your travels. The stress-reducing powers of meditation have become widely known in recent years. One particular study, carried out on health care professionals, showed that an intensive 8 week mindfulness meditation course resulted in lower stress levels among the participants.
Meditation helps you to get on better with people
Loving-kindness meditation, a practice that’s used in Buddhist traditions, focuses on developing a sense of compassion and kindness towards all living beings. When you’re crammed into a camper van with your travel buddy, anything that encourages empathy and love can only be a good thing. If you have a long trip coming up with a friend/ partner/ family member and you’re predicting arguments, maybe you should give loving-kindness meditation a try.
Solo travellers can use meditation to feel more socially connected
According to the American Psychological Association, subjects “who practiced even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals.” To top it off, going to group meditation sessions is an excellent way to meet new people. Places like Dzogchen Beara Retreat Centre in Ireland run loving-kindness retreats throughout the year. Retreats aren’t just an opportunity to deepen your practice, but also an opportunity to meet people from around over the world.
Mindfulness can help you to connect with nature
Mindfulness allows you to appreciate what’s going on around you. Paying attention to the little things means you’re more likely to enjoy your immediate surroundings. Stop mid-hike and sit quietly under a tree, or head to the beach at sunrise and listen to the waves. Meditating in nature can be really special, so take the opportunity to try it while you’re travelling.
Meditation encourages you to enjoy the moment while travelling
Buddhist meditation and mindfulness meditation are all about experiencing the present moment and developing ‘thoughtless awareness’. When travelling, it’s easy to slip into the trap of constantly planning your next move or meal. Mindfulness meditation can help you to slow down, enjoy the moment and make the most of your trip.
Meditation makes long journeys more comfortable
One of the benefits of meditating while travelling is that it makes the travel part more enjoyable. When you’re on a long bus ride and can’t sleep, meditating can be a relaxing way to pass the time. According to Dr. Adrian Williams, meditation can also diminish the effects of jet lag. Williams writes, “Meditation is a useful tool to get your mind to the right place. When sleep evades you, it can help bring calm to the body and mind.”
Meditation can help you to make better food decisions
Eating food you usually wouldn’t can be one of the most fun aspects of travel. But after a week of croissants in Paris or pies in London, it’s unlikely you’ll feel your best. Regular meditation might give you that bit of extra self-control when it comes to food choices. One study found that after 11 hours of meditation, there were structural changes in the part of the brain that monitors focus and self-control. If you want to take things a step further, Mindful Eating Meditation focuses on being more thoughtful about the way we nourish our bodies.
Better sleep is a side effect of meditation
Better sleep is arguably one of the most powerful benefits of meditating. It’s also a must if you plan to stay lively during your trip. If you have trouble falling asleep in new places, try listening to a guided meditation. Mindfulness Meditation and Transcendental Meditation (TM) are also known to help promote better sleep.
Meditation increases your energy levels
So, with all of this reduced stress, better sleep and improved well-being, it’s no wonder that meditators claim to have increased alertness and higher energy levels. This is particularly beneficial when you have Machu Picchu to trek to, or a new city to traipse around. Initially, taking 20, or even 10, minutes out of your day might seem like a lot. But the benefits of meditation mean you’ll end up getting the most out of your travels.
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