As a meditation teacher, one of my favorite things is observing my students before and after meditation.
It’s well known that there are over 100 benefits of meditation: immediate effects and long term effects. Of course, to get the most out of meditation you will need to continue to practice it regularly. That’s when you experience the full range of benefits and the significant difference it can make to your wellbeing. However, there are nevertheless some massive immediate effects of meditation, things you can notice after just twenty minutes of your very first meditation session.
The first time I meditate, my “before and after” were basically being stressed and restless and then, afterwards, feeling inner calm and a sense of grounding and stability. Maybe your experiences differ. After all, meditation is a unique and personal experience.
That said, here are some of the differences before and after meditation, and the immediate effects you will notice.
What you’ll notice before and after meditation
Before meditation, you might notice that your mind is full of noise. If you haven’t given yourself a break from work and from generally being busy, your mind will be full of noise. You will be thinking all sorts of things in one frenzied blur.
Before I meditate, I often find it difficult to think straight because there are just so many thoughts running through my mind. My mind jumps from one thing to another, and I have absolutely no mind-body connection.
If I’ve had a rough day, I will also be feeling stressed and anxious, which will manifest in various physical states, like a raised heartbeat and twitchiness (I get twitchy eyes when I feel anxious).
Before meditation, I feel like time is going by far too quickly, and that I have a pile of things to do that I will never get around to finishing.
Before I meditate, I have zero appreciation for the present moment. Mindfulness is zero. I could pass by the most beautiful garden and hardly even notice it because my mind is elsewhere.
That’s what it’s like before meditation. After meditation, things look a lot better.
After meditation, everything starts to feel so much better. One of the immediate effects of meditation that I personally notice is my quiet mind. All those thoughts that were running through my mind only moment earlier have suddenly subsided and there is quiet and inner-peace.
I find that meditation also has the effect of organizing my mind. If I’ve got a lot to do and I’ve been running around frantically trying to get it done, meditation will slow my mind down so that I can do things logically, one at a time.
Breathing also changed immediately after meditation. My breath slows to about one half the speed it had previously been at, which is simply because I’m deep breathing.
I’m pretty sure all my family, friends and colleagues can notice after I mediate, too. I’m a lot more thoughtful, compassionate and patient. I’m pretty sure that if you speak to me before an after meditation, you’ll say that I’m a lot more pleasant to be around afterwards, partly because I’m more relaxed but also because I’m focusing better so I become a better listener.
Of course there are immediate physical effects of meditation too. I feel less tension in my body, I stand taller after meditating, and my walk even changes (I have a much more confident gait after I’ve meditated).
I even seem to become more creative after I meditate. Certain meditations have the effect of stimulating divergent thinking (the ability to formulate new ideas based on disparate information). That’s one reason I always meditate before I start blogging or writing one of my books.
More than anything though, the biggest difference I notice before and after meditation is that it create a sense of space. Before meditation I feel tight and confined, like I have no freedom. After meditation, I feel much more relaxed and flexible in my body, and much freer in my life in general.
Those are the immediate effects that I personally notice from meditating. How about you? What do you notice most before and after meditation? Leave a comment and remember to subscribe.