Meditation has been taking over the health scene. But many still doubt this powerful practice, despite studies showing how impactful it can be. Meditation teaches you to focus your attention inward and allow the troubles of life to fade away. Those who have a regular meditation practice see several key health benefits.
One of the most commonly reported benefits of meditation is a reduction in stress. This stress is caused by increased levels of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can be detrimental to our health, affect our ability to sleep, and increase anxiety and depression. Along with increasing blood pressure, fatigue and creating a cloudy mental state, stress causes a lot of long-term problems. Meditation has been shown to help improve our stress levels and decrease depression. By refocusing our attention and allowing our worries to fade away, we retrain our brain how to handle stress.
Meditation has also been shown to improve our emotional well-being. It gives us a more positive outlook on life and improves our self-image. This can be tied back to the reduced stress and anxiety levels discussed earlier. By retraining our brains to handle emotions better and focus our energy where it is needed, we not only reduce our stress levels, but we also improve our emotional health.
Meditation helps us learn how to control our thought patterns. This is something that is often missing in the modern world. Most of our minds are flooded with worry and To-do lists. However, meditation allows us to control our thought process rather than being controlled by it. This means that we are able to become more self-aware and in turn allows us to influence these preprogrammed thoughts into something more beneficial.
Meditation has also been shown to lengthen our attention. This is not surprising in that meditation is almost entirely about controlling our attention. Unlike in other attention training, meditation teaches you how to focus only on one thing even when other distracting thoughts and feelings creep in. This will help you not only emotionally but in your professional and personal life as well. Greater attention span, especially when combined with the improved focus can be a very powerful combination.
Decreases Blood Pressure
Again, going back to the decreased anxiety and lowered levels of cortisol, meditation helps decrease high blood pressure. Increased blood pressure is responsible for several long-term health factors. This includes clotted arteries, heart attack, and stroke. By relearning how to regulate your emotions and control your thoughts you keep your cortisol levels down, which in turn keeps our blood pressure lower. The simple action of meditation can help reduce or even eliminate some of the potential health risks associated with high blood pressure.
There are several different types of meditations you can get started with, but mindfulness is a popular one for beginners. Mindfulness requires that you focus your attention inward to what your body is experiencing. By allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment and letting any other thoughts simply pass by, you learn to reconnect with yourself.
- Choose a comfortable position. You can be sitting or lying down. Whatever is comfortable for you is fine. Try to relax while maintaining a good posture.
- Focus your attention inward. When first starting with mindfulness, focus on your breath and the sensations you feel.
- You may notice that your mind wanders from your breath. This is OK. Simply allow these thoughts to pass by but don’t engage with them. Then slowly return your mind to focus in on your breath.
- Start out slow. Starting with just a few minutes every day is a great way to introduce yourself to mindfulness meditation.
- As you improve you will notice that your mind wanders less, and you can maintain this for longer.
Meditation is a simple practice of a reconnecting with yourself. In our modern world, we are so often overwhelmed by things outside of our control. Allowing ourselves to recenter and simply exist can be one of the most beneficial things to our health, our relationships, and our professional lives. Start a simple meditation practice and see all of these benefits and more begin to transform your life.