25 Skills You Learn With Meditation

  • By: Ryan Kane
  • Updated: April 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

It’s easy to lose sight of just how powerful of a ripple effect meditation can have on your life.

If you’re just starting your meditation journey, you might struggle with deciding how much time to invest in a practice that has uncertain payoff.

If you’re a regular meditator, it may be hard to keep motivation up, especially if it feels like you haven’t yet seen the benefits you were expecting.

Either way, it’s important to keep in mind why you’re doing this practice in the first place. 

From improved focus, gratitude, and self-compassion, to less anger, stress, and anxiety, here’s a friendly reminder of some of the many skills you’ll learn over the course of your mindfulness meditation practice.

  1. Acceptance: Acceptance is a skill learned through many forms of meditation. Meditation teaches you to focus on what is, rather than what you think should be. It’s not easy to let go of wishing that things were different than they are. Meditation can help you dwell in the present moment rather than striving for change. 
  2. Abundance: An abundance mentality can be cultivated through meditation and affirmations. What is an abundance mentality? It’s the idea that in each moment, the possibilities are greater than you imagine. While a scarcity mindset makes you anxious with the belief that you’re competing for limited resources, an abundance mindset encourages a creative openness to new possibilities.  
  3. Anger Management: Meditation helps you to pause before reacting, and slow down the development of anger by recognizing what’s triggering you along the way. 
  4. Anxiety Management: Oftentimes, anxiety comes from excessive worrying about what may happen in the future. By teaching you to stay in the present moment, meditation can help to reduce anxiety. 
  5. Authenticity: We’re all trying to find our most authentic selves. Meditation can help you do that by tapping into the core of who you are, and giving you time to sit and simply be with yourself, with no masks or pretense. As you begin to know yourself better, your authentic self shines through.
  6. Clarity: A key takeaway from meditation practices is enhanced clarity. On a normal day, it’s easy for your mind to become overwhelmed with thought—leading to the “monkey mind” described by many meditation practitioners. Improved focus and awareness of the present moment can reduce the hold those thousands of daily thoughts have on you, increasing the clarity of your thinking.
  7. Confidence: By better understanding your authentic self through meditation and especially through self-compassion exercises, the practice of meditation can help you to cultivate a quiet confidence in yourself. 
  8. Creativity: Studies have shown that meditation can increase creativity by reducing the fear of being judged by others, improving concentration, and enhancing open-mindedness.
  9. Decision Making: Studies have shown that a single meditation session can help people make more rational decisions and avoid the sunk cost bias. 
  10. Empathy: Through practices like loving-kindness meditation, the muscle of empathy can be strengthened over time, making it easier to feel compassion for others.
  11. Flow: Flow is a feeling of total engagement while doing things you enjoy, to the extent that you lose track of time and become immersed in what you’re doing. Meditation helps to improve your concentration, focus, and ability to remain in the present moment, all of which are powerful components of the flow phenomenon
  12. Focus: Meditation changes the brain, improving your ability to stay focused even in the face of distractions. 
  13. Forgiveness: Forgiveness isn’t easy. But over time, meditation can help you to let go of past difficulties, moving away from fear and anger and towards healing.
  14. Gratitude: By strengthening your capacity for love and compassion, meditation helps put you on the path to gratitude and appreciation for everything in life. 
  15. Happiness: Studies have shown that meditation can help to change the brain, wiring it for increased happiness over time. Another way to think about this is that meditation helps to remove the obstacles to being happy, by reducing your psychological suffering and helping you appreciate the present moment with gratitude.
  16. Patience: Sitting on a cushion one day after the next without seeing immediate results is, in itself, an extreme exercise in patience. But wrangling with your own mind’s distracted thoughts helps even more. Over time, meditation and mindfulness practices help you to pause before reacting and accept life for what it is, creating a natural buffer of patience.
  17. Performance: Studies have shown that meditation can increase performance, whether on standardized tests, in sporting competitions, or in business settings.
  18. Positive Body Image: By changing negative thought patterns, mindfulness intervention has been shown to help people develop a positive body image. Gratitude and self-compassion are important components of this process.
  19. Presence: It’s all too easy to find yourself going through life on autopilot: your body may be present, but your brain is elsewhere. Meditation helps cultivate your powers of attention and presence over time, helping you to live more powerfully in the moment rather than getting lost in the past or future. 
  20. Relationships: Mindfulness and meditation can have a powerful effect on your relationships. Meditation promotes compassion, empathy, being present, reducing stress and anxiety, being grateful, and pausing before reacting, all of which are invaluable in interpersonal relationships.
  21. Resilience: Meditation can be an important tool in building resilience. By staying focused on the present moment, understanding that life is about change, and improving your ability to cope with stress, meditation makes it easier to be adaptable in the face of change.
  22. Self-Compassion: For some reason, compassion for yourself can be harder than compassion for others. Meditation can help you along the road toward understanding yourself and learning to treat yourself as you would a dear friend or a child, unlocking a new way of looking at yourself. 
  23. Sleep: Although meditation can’t replace sleep entirely, mindfulness-based training for insomnia has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and spend less time lying awake in bed. 
  24. Stress Management: Meditation can physically change the brain, influencing stress pathways to reduce the amount of stress you experience. Mindfulness meditation also promotes a number of skills that can lead to less stress, like self-compassion, acceptance, and staying present.
  25. Suffering: The Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh said that the art of happiness is also the art of suffering well. Suffering includes all those small moments throughout a day when things don’t quite go your way: you were late for something, for example, or you got in an argument with your partner. Meditation helps to reduce the psychological component of suffering by cultivating self-compassion and a focus on the present moment.

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