Meditation is a life-changing practice that, at first glance, may not seem that way. Some think the benefits of meditation are overrated or that it’s just a placebo, but the practice can have real, long-lasting effects on you and bring you levels of calmness and intense feel-good sensations you hadn’t experienced before.
This is what contributes to making people feel good after a meditation, assuming they stay in the present. There’s a difference between being present and just sitting with thoughts, dwelling on them.
That’s why it’s crucial to not engage in these thoughts, as it’s a way to be drawn in from the mind into another place but the present, while simultaneously being dragged out of the meditation.
But research suggests that meditation can mimic the same effects as found in external substances which make you feel good, almost making you feel high, but in the natural sense.
Personally, I find additional reasons meditation makes me feel good after the practice. And while I can’t guarantee you’ll feel the same, you are likely to have a similar experience like me and many others. The benefits of meditation are there for those who stick with the practice long enough.
Not in all meditations will you feel the same way, but for the most part, assuming you are practicing mindfully, you won’t regret doing the practice, just like you probably don’t regret when you’re able to do things you know you are supposed to do. I.e, eating healthy, hitting the gym, or engaging in any habit that improves your life.
Regulating Your Emotions
While you still experience emotions when meditating, you no longer sprint to them at the first thought you get. To begin with, not all thoughts you get are yours, and just like thoughts, emotions can come in waves.
That’s the beauty about meditation, you become less reactive to those emotions, therefore, by no longer being drawn to them, you reach a point where you can pick which emotions will pop up more often.
At the very least, you’ll be less affected by these emotions. However, with meditation, you release dopamine which increases your happiness and feel-good sensations.
But these feel-good sensations actually contribute something good, unlike many other temporal feel-good engaging activities like relying on the external substance.
Meditation allows you to take a step back from both your thoughts and emotions and rather than attaching any labels to these, you just watch in observation as they are unable to affect you to the same degree as before.
Almost as if you become a character in a series and you’re watching yourself behind a screen.
The impact on these thoughts and emotions becomes smaller, and being able to observe them without interacting with them, they become less intimidating.
It’s only after the observation of these thoughts and emotions that you’re able to gravitate away from what doesn’t serve you while holding onto what does.
Sense of Purpose
Meditation can guide you on the right path, but once I finish my meditation practice, I tend to feel like the path forward is illuminated and free of distractions, almost as if a pathway was created for me to get a step closer to my purpose.
When there are fewer things to focus on, it’s easier to gravitate to feel good emotions or engage in things that make you feel good without overthinking what’s out of your control like the past or future.
Almost as if you’ve transcended and started living, rather than just existing and letting life happen to you.
When you’re no longer burdened by the past or future, you give yourself permission to feel fulfilled, rather than waiting for everything to be perfect or having a condition before you allow yourself to feel happy.
However, this can actually be a good thing, because I personally work in a way that I can’t engage in any activity that would otherwise feel fun if I don’t do what I feel like I need to do. In this case, meditation.
If you’ve reached a point where your conscience can’t stop bothering you to meditate, you’re in a good place. This would only lead to becoming a better version of yourself, as well as getting rid of the clutter that was getting in the way of you feeling good.
And apart from having your path illuminated, you will feel like you have a sense of purpose, especially if you are progressing.
My best guess on why meditation isn’t as appealing as it should be is because it takes time to master and takes portions of your day to practice, but it pays off.
However, if you allow it, meditation can be more fulfilling than any external substance, and the best part is that it comes from within. You feel more complete with meditation as if the part missing for you to have a fulfilling day no longer is missing.
Meditation Is Like Working Out, But For The Mind
You can either sit at home all day, purely engaging in temporal feel-good activities or you can pick up a good habit like working out or meditation.
While meditation won’t grow your muscles, it can make you mentally tougher, and even when you engage in activities that would otherwise be pleasurable, that’s where these activities end and it usually follows regret, especially if progress goes backward.
With meditation, you train your mind to do things that you actually want to do, while simultaneously feeling good about your choices. But meditation doesn’t make you feel good instantly.
In fact, the feel-good sensations can come after as much as during the meditation, but subconsciously, how consistent you stay with it has to do with how you see meditation.
If you replace meditation with someone else that would otherwise be destructive to yourself, the shift is usually gonna take time, because building a positive routine takes time, whereas picking up bad routines is easy.
You Find Out There’s More Than What You Know
Pre-meditation you might’ve had a certain limited scope of reality, especially if you don’t question anything and live mindlessly.
I mean, it’s an easy life, it’s one where we don’t have to make our own choices but either our surroundings or mind do them for us. But there is a deep sense of freedom in meditation.
One that allows you to both be free from yourself and one that lets you see there’s more to life than you initially thought.
You then start exploring your options and learning more about the present moment that’s always been in front of you but that you’ve ignored to escape to the present or past, for the sake of comfort or something else.
But the truth is, you can build your present to make it more fulfilling than the past ever was and the future will ever be.
You will be creating a future for yourself deliberately, instead of expecting the future to be better and being led by the mind and emotions.
Suffering Becomes a Choice
Of course, suffering will always be a part of existence, we can’t escape it. But at times, we make ourselves suffer unnecessarily.
All because our emotions are the primary culprit of such suffering. But if we remove the variable that makes us as reactive as before, and we become indifferent, even the suffering caused by those emotions has less of an effect on us.
We can’t control what happens to us but we can control how we respond, and by saying this am I in no way advocating for repressing our emotions or saying you’ll never feel sad again.
It’s a human emotion that will still be there and of course, we will grieve over what’s painful. That’s normal, that’s healthy. But by defaulting to the present moment, we bear to handle things as they are, rather than running away or numbing ourselves.
In that sense, we become better prepared and equipped for what life throws at us, and our emotional detachment from things allows us to move on quicker when we experience events like breakups. Instead of running away, we first feel, observe and ultimately let go, as opposed to feeling and holding on to.
While no meditation is guaranteed to work the same, meditation is almost a way to make you feel good at command, assuming you are doing it properly.
Of course, meditation doesn’t work the same way for everyone, but generally, you’ll have no regrets by engaging in meditation as opposed to other feel-good escapes that only make you feel good for the time being without contributing anything good to you and leave you with regret.
Meditation allows you to experience natural feel-good sensations that stem from within and last throughout the entire day, especially if you do the practice in the morning.
Meditation can replicate the effect of external substances, but meditation isn’t addictive and is likely to have a long-lasting effect on you.
If you currently underestimate the effects of meditation, consider giving it a fair attempt and you’ll be able to make your own fair judgment on whether the practice is worth pursuing. Feel-good sensations are one of the many positive byproducts of meditation.