What Are the Benefits of Meditation?
If you’ve been tense and stressed out, you’ve likely heard this advice before from someone in your circle: “You should try meditating!”
This isn’t always the best advice to hear. It can feel dismissive and a little bit too new-age for people who are already dealing with stress. That said, there are some connections between meditation and mental health (as well as physical health) that you may want to look into.
So what are the benefits of meditation anyway? Do you really need to try something new that isn’t even medically-based?
Meditation won’t hurt you, and the worst that could happen is nothing. Why not give it a shot?
Let’s talk about it.
Keep reading for some of the benefits that meditation could offer you.
It Encourages Mindfulness
You’ve probably heard that word before. What is mindfulness anyway?
Mindfulness is an awareness of yourself and your surroundings. When you’re being mindful, you’re “present” in your current moment instead of allowing your mind to wander.
This can root you in reality and allow you to see things that you may not have seen before when you were so distracted by your busy modern schedule.
Mindfulness meditation can have benefits in several areas of your mental health.
Depression and Anxiety
If medication isn’t yet in your budget, or you have medication-resistant depression or anxiety, you may benefit from mindfulness training.
When you meditate for mindfulness, your brain gets quiet and dismisses the thoughts that want to interrupt your experience. Anxious thoughts are slowed down to a manageable level.
After you’ve been practicing for a while, mindfulness will be easier in your day to day life. When you begin to feel anxious or depressed, use mindfulness to ground you in reality. What do you see, feel, hear, and smell? What’s going on around you?
Getting out of your head in this way can ease some of the emotional effects of depression and anxiety.
Many of us are easily distracted in our increasingly digital world that offers instant gratification and far too much to look at.
Attention spans have allegedly been lowered over time to instead make room for multitasking. While this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, sometimes you need to concentrate on specific tasks.
Mindfulness training allows for this concentration. When you feel distracted, your trained mind should be able to bring you back to the present so that you can complete your work.
Does it feel like time moves way too quickly? You wake up in the morning, get some work done, and suddenly it’s time to cook dinner. Where did your day go?
This is a similar problem to the concentration issue. We often blind ourselves to the passage of time, getting distracted by work and the idea of whatever comes after it.
In this, we lose precious moments and contribute to our anxiety.
Mindfulness won’t literally slow the sands of time, but it will slow your mind so that you’re able to recognize time passing.
It Lowers Stress
Meditation is wonderful for de-stressing the mind and body. Taking a few minutes out of your day to slow everything down, practice your breathing, and empty your mind can offer a great release.
Stress doesn’t just impact your mental health. Stress is a key factor in your physical health as well. Let’s talk about it.
Stress can contribute to future problems with the heart.
Chronic high stress will raise your blood pressure, damaging your arteries and making it harder for your cardiovascular system to function effectively.
Your heart may pound, causing it to work in overdrive.
These things can lead to an eventual heart attack, or just a weakened heart more vulnerable to problems in the future.
Did you know that stress has an impact on the immune system?
Chronic stress ravages the immune system. It weakens its defenses, opening you up to disease.
When your immune system isn’t working effectively, you’ll get sick more often, likely causing more stress and perpetuating the cycle.
If other benefits of meditation haven’t convinced you, maybe this will.
Different parts of our reproductive systems can be directly impacted by chronic stress. Stress can impact a couple’s ability to conceive.
Stress can contribute to erectile dysfunction and disruptions in the menstrual cycle. People with chronic stress may experience missed or delayed periods.
How to Start Meditating
If this is all convincing to you, it might be time to start your own meditation practice. You don’t need anything fancy to begin.
There are many guided meditations online, both in written and audio forms, but to get started you just need yourself and a quiet place to sit.
Sit down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Begin slow and steady breaths either completely through the nose or in through the nose and out through the mouth. Your goal is to focus on those breaths.
As you sit, your mind will start to wander. It’s bored and it wants something new to latch onto! Instead, bring it back to your breathing, concentrating only on the breath until your mind is empty of everything else.
Repeat this every time your brain tries to find something new to pay attention to.
When you’re just beginning, a 5-minute meditation can be a great start. As you practice, you’ll work your way up.
This is a journey, so keep practicing!
What Are the Benefits of Meditation: Takeaways
Meditation isn’t just a woo-woo way to sit quietly for a while. So what are the benefits of meditation?
You can ease some of your anxiety, increase your ability to concentrate on tasks, and even protect your heart and immune system from harm.
Beginning a meditation practice is an easy way to get your body on track.
For more posts about physical and mental health, or to find affordable medications that fit your budget, visit our site.