Meditation is a great practice for one’s mental health that helps provide a healthy overall outlook on the world. Honestly, I am an avid supporter of meditation and regularly write about my spirituality and mediation practices. However, I do think it’s important to bring up the side effects of meditation. While they aren’t usually debilitating or life-changing in any way, there are negative side effects to mediation that should be noted. I began experiencing them after meditating regularly for about a year, and I was concerned, as I didn’t know what was going on with myself. After doing some research, I found out that they were all side effects from the meditation. Reading about it being a relatively normal thing calmed my mind and made me feel better. So, I wanted to offer that relief to some of you who are currently newer to mediation and may be experiencing the following side effects.
Regular meditation can leave your brain functions less sharp than they usually are. As someone with OCD, I always rely on my focus, detail-oriented nature, and ability to think quickly on my feet. Through regular mediation, I found my focus and attention to detail wasn’t as sharp as it normally was. I began switching words that I used regularly (like “left” and “right”), and it was very out of character. Basically, I became flightier. This doesn’t always happen, but it can come with frequent meditation, so it is important to note that.
Strange Physical Sensations in Your Head
As you meditate, you lose a lot of the tension and stress being held within your head. This is a good thing! However, if you’re used to holding a lot of stress in your head (as I am), this can feel strange for a while. Your head will feel lighter and more relaxed, which is great, but it can also feel odd, for a lack of a better way to describe it. You may experience headaches as your head adjusts (like when you massage a really tense muscle and it is sore afterwards). You may even feel like both sides of your brain are separating. Just know that this is normal and that you should be okay. Mindfulness meditation also changes the grey matter within your brain, so your brain is actually changing in this process sometimes. You’ll just need to get used to it feeling different.
Because you get yourself used to being in a deeply relaxed state while still being conscious, your body may default to this instead of falling asleep. People who frequently meditate have reported issues falling asleep. They can lay there in a deeply relaxed, trance-like state for hours without sleeping. I’ve had it on a few occasions, and it isn’t fun. (But its specifically when I’m anxious about other things and my body doesn’t want to sleep so it defaults to a meditation-like state.)
Because meditation teaches you to go with the flow, you become more fluid in your reactions. You may start to feel disconnected from your emotions and the world at times. You may feel as if you are looking at yourself from above and not actually living your life, rather watching it. These moments may come and go, but they may happen if you meditate frequently.
All in all, I have found that meditation is a very valuable practice that teaches you a lot about yourself and the world around you. The side effects mentioned above may seem odd, but you will likely not experience all of them, and if you meditate periodically and not too frequently, the odds are you won’t be affected by them at all. All good things in moderation- and meditation is no exception to this. Just know that if you are experiencing these symptoms, they could very well be a side effect from your meditation practice. Of course, while it’s always important to see a doctor when something is wrong, you should note and mention to your doctor that you have been meditating when you go for a checkup.
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