The Many Benefits of Meditation
Anxiety disorder, depression, stress. The mind is supposed to be a temple, yet too often we allow it to be consumed by negative thoughts. The 21st century is filled with all sorts of distractions that can cloud your judgement and make you forget what is really important in life, your own well-being. Modern medicine will often direct patients towards prescription medications to treat mental melancholy or ailments, but many choose more natural methods to boost mental wellbeing.
If you are looking for a way to improve your mental health, meditating is something you should consider. Meditation is the practice of using mindfulness to achieve mental clarity and emotional stability, often done by focusing on a particular positive thought or goal. There is a misconception that meditation requires you to sit with your legs crossed while chanting and focusing your mind to think about nothing. Although this is a form of meditation, this is not the only way to achieve the practice. Instead, the primary goal of meditation is simply to relax the mind, slow the heart rate, and allow the tension in the muscles to relax. By attempting to accomplish this, you give your body health benefits no over-the-counter medicine can achieve. For experienced and beginner meditators alike, below are some of the many benefits associated with the practice:
1. Reduces stress
Several studies have confirmed that meditation on a regular basis can reduce the stress hormone cortisol, the culprit of many negative body effects produced by stress.
2. Reduce anxiety
Anxiety disorders are becoming more and more frequently diagnosed. When dealing with a panic attack or highly stressful situation, it is important to slow down your heart rate to allow your body to calm down and relax. Meditation does exactly that, the slow breathing is crucial to allowing your body to naturally destress and calm down on its own.
3. Increase attention span
By clearing your mind of distractions it improves your ability to focus and stay on task. Even daily short meditations can cause an increase in concentration, as multiple studies have shown.
4. Improve sleep
In one particular study, groups of people were assigned to one of two groups. One group practiced meditation, while the other didn’t. Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stay asleep longer, while those who did not experienced less positive results.
5. Reduce blood pressure
The calming practice of meditation has been proven to reduce strain on the heart by relaxing the nerve tension in blood vessels that assist in coordinating heart functions.
6. Give it a try
If you are having trouble meditating, first, place yourself in a particular calm setting, preferably somewhere that engages your senses (i.e., outside in nature, inside a sauna, or inside a steam room, etc.). Now, as you inhale and exhale, think of a setting that matches your environment and place yourself mentally there. For example, if you are in a sauna, pretend that you are in a desert…think of the hot dry sun, the lizards crawling in the sand, and the overlapping dunes all around you. When meditating, focus on something with great detail and you will be astonished at how your mind can escape the confines of your skull. Have patience, stay consistent, and practice over time to allow meditation to give you all the mental health benefits it has to offer.