11 Ways Meditation Can Change Your Personality

 Did you know, meditation can change core aspects of your personality, such as your sociability, levels of compassion, and confidence.

According to the University of California, it was long believed that personalities couldn’t change, that traits like neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness were permanent. But research from the Personality Change Consortium shows that there are ways to change character if we consider it a goal to do so.

To change character, you need to decide to do it. 

Naturally, genetics influences personality, but so do circumstances, thoughts and beliefs. Through life, we learn to think and feel in certain ways, some of which can be unhelpful. But we have the power to change our thoughts and beliefs and to seek out new events. And thereby we can change our personalities.  

Mindfulness, the quality of focusing the mind on present moment with acceptance, can help us to undo much of our ingrained thoughts, mannerisms, and behaviours. Indeed, one of the main ways meditation changes your temperament is that it gives you control over various aspects of your mind. 

Meditation can make you more forgiving, more loving, more peaceful, and more productive. I found this out from first-hand experience.

I did the Myers Briggs personality type test years ago and was very introverted (I’m INFP). Since meditating every day, I have gradually become more extroverted.

Here are eleven more ways meditation can change who you are.  

1: It can make you a calmer person

You’re the life of the party. You’re constantly doing crazy things. When people are around you, they feel excited and entertained. But damn if there aren’t times when you would do anything just to relax and be focused.

Does this sound like you? If so, meditation couls make you calmer and more focused. The best meditations for this are Samatha and Zen. (See the link above for guides to these techniques).

If you think about the quintessential idea of a “Meditative personality”, it is someone who is very calm. There’s a reason for that. It’s because mindfulness is arguably the number one way to cultivate inner peace. 

 

2: It can make a quiet person less withdrawn:

You’re a quiet person. And quiet people are often the most influential people around.

You keep to yourself. You don’t like to speak unless spoken to. And if you’re honest, you are kinda shy. Sometimes you wish you could just let go and be more outgoing.  

 “Open Monitoring Meditation” can help you to be more outgoing. It’s a technique that gets you out of your thoughts and more into the real world. It’s very liberating. Again, see the link at the top for a guide to all the methods.

Research shows that people who practice Open Monitoring tend to be more extroverted and more open to experiences, plus they are more positive and less prone to social anxiety.

3: Makes you more self-loving

Meditation can make you more self-loving. The best method for this is Loving Kindness Meditation. [1]

A study by Shahar et al (2014) at the Muda Center for Mindfulness Science and Society showed that loving-kindness meditation makes us less self-critical and more self-compassionate. Many teachers, such as Sharon Salzberg, say the same thing. 

3: Offers relief for highly sensitive empaths

Highly sensitive empaths are some of the most in-tune people around. They’re so aware of other people’s thoughts and feelings. They have a superpower: extreme empathy. But as empath expert Judith Orloff (author of The Empath’s Survival Guide) says, empathy can be a killer.

Empathy is great sometimes because empaths know so much about other people. As an empath myself, my empathy is one reason my online meditation lessons are so effective because I can feel my students’ emotions. The problem with being an empath is that it’s hard to tune out other people. It can be exhausting.

Thankfully, meditation can help empaths to tune-out other people’s feelings. This is especially true of Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation, a method made popular by expert Jon Kabat Zinn, trains the mind to stay in the present moment. That way, empaths can safeguard themselves from other people’s emotions. 

4: Helps you get over yourself

We all know those people who think they are the king or queen of the world, who focus exclusively on themselves, who are incredibly successful, but who don’t care about others.  

Meditation can change that.

Buddhist Karuna (compassion meditation) can help narcissists to recognise the suffering of others and inspire them to help others. This in turn will make the narcissist feel more valuable and more connected to others.  

Another excellent method for this is self-enquiry, which you might have heard of if you have read Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. 

5: Making you deeper

Some people already know everything they want to know and are rarely impressed. They’re bored of the trivialities of life and long for more. They want to go deeper, and meditation can help.   

It can awaken people to their deeper selves. This is especially true of the more spiritual methods like Chakra meditation.

Chakra meditation can open your spiritual side. Try meditating on your Third Eye Chakra, which experts like Richard Cavendish consider the gateway to your spiritual self.

6: Let’s you get past the superficiality of existence

If you feel like life is plastic and this entire world is one big exercise in vanity, mindfulness can help you see a deeper aspect of reality.

If you wish you could let go of it all, chuck out the credit cards, not worry about work, find some trans-dimensional wonderland where things were more enlightened…  you might like to try Huna, which is a spiritual Hawaiian practice used for cultivating the lifeforce (prana). 

7: Meditation can liberate you

If you are so classy that you’re basically on a pedestal; if everyone looks up to you and you’re a role model for all your friends and family, you might feel lonely and pressured. You probably want to let your hair down. 

What you really need is a sense of personal liberation. One way to get it is to practice the more active styles of meditation, especially Osho’s Dynamic Meditation Technique.  Rajneesh (Osho) stated that this is a wonderful alternative to seated meditation, one that can liberate the soul.

 

8: Let’s you overcome the “Wounded romantic” character type:

You’re so romantic you know every one of Shakespeare’s sonnets by heart. “Shall I compare thee to a rose?” “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo? Deny thy father and—”

Everyone loves you because you’re so rich in spirit and so romantic. It’s like you have ten times the amount of soul as all your friends and family.

Old scars heal slowly, though. And romantic life can be a painful one. Thankfully, it can turn you from “Wounded Romantic” to more of a loving and optimistic person. If that sounds good to you, you might like to try Loving Kindness meditation.

9: If you’re too professional:

Your career is a lengthy line of successes, and your bank account is extra chunky. Everyone respects you because you are pure business. Being all business, all the time can be a real drainer, though. Sometimes you would love to have a laugh and have fun, you know?

If you wish you were more of a fun-loving person, I highly recommend the Buddhist practice of Smiling Buddha Meditation, which involves meditating on your own smile. This meditation technique creates joy deep in your soul. Again, refer to the link above for guides to all these methods.

1O: Meditation can help stressed people chill

Woah. You are pretty stressed, huh? What you need is a serious spot of relaxation. Some inner Zen. A little serenity, you know? It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? I hear you. Life is so stressful and busy; it can be hard to chill.

Good news:

There are tons of relaxing meditations that will make you chill out. The best meditation to overcome stress and chill out is Forest Bathing Meditation, which is one of the most relaxing meditations in the world. [2]

Research from Harvard University shows that meditation helps promote the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which produces feelings of wellbeing and relaxation. 

11: It helps atheists and agnostics too

If you’re an atheist or agnostic and you just hate the idea of doing anything remotely spiritual, you might think that you can’t meditate, but you’re wrong.

Meditation doesn’t have to be spiritual and can be suitable for the ultra-non-spiritual person. You’ll still get the same benefits of meditating, and it may help you to discover your own personal sense of spirituality.

Giving Is Caring

By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion's Roar. Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul's biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield. "My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation" - Paul Harrison

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