Once upon a time, meditation in the western world was reserved for hippies. Luckily, those days are over, and it’s gone mainstream. Now, you have a wide variety of apps to choose from, studios offering guided meditation, and the ability to practice calm absolutely anywhere and at any time.
Dedicating ten minutes of your day, every day, to meditation is a sure-fire way to become a more mindful person. Meditation helps relieve stress, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and can help you stay focused on the present.
- Meditation Fights Depression
Over 17 million Americans are affected by a depressive disorder. It might be difficult to understand how meditation can help relieve depressive symptoms when people often struggle to find a medication to do so. Yet, numerous studies have found this to be the case (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-meditation-helps-with-depression). Meditation is about focusing on the present and allowing yourself to feel the emotions you are experiencing. It isn’t about pushing them down and ignoring them, but rather accepting them and not judging you for whatever you might be feeling. This is a powerful strategy for coping with depression.
- Meditation Improves Anxiety
Anxiety, mood swings, panic disorders, phobias, obsessions… all of these are issues that can be mitigated through regular meditation. We all experience ups and downs emotionally, but meditation can help you restore balance to your emotions and also provide stability in times of stress. Anxiety is essentially your body screaming out as it experiences too much stress and it comes all at once. It’s like the background noise you can’t stop. The dripping tap that you can’t fix. The distant hammering that is slowly driving you mad. Meditation can help you manage that (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31083878).
- Meditation Relieves Stress
When we face unexpected adversity, our body relies on coping mechanisms. The problem is that these coping mechanisms can result in burnout. Regular meditation can help you tame your mind. Meditation can help you reduce the presence of stress hormones, which will make you more vigilant, more productive, calmer, and more self-aware, too. This should explain why many high-powered firms are now encouraging employees to practice meditation and mindfulness.
- Meditation Alleviates Pain
Meditation can help you build up your resilience against pain. In one study, two groups of people were exposed to extreme heat. The difference between the groups was that one of the groups was filled with master meditators and the other group never meditated at all (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3090218/). The master meditators were able to resist the pain that came from being exposed to extreme heat. The other group wasn’t as lucky. So, not only can meditation alleviate pain, but it can also help you build your endurance to pain as well.
- Meditation and ADHD
How can meditation help individuals with ADHD? Focus and attention. Practicing meditation regularly can help you improve both of these. In a study of 50 adults with ADHD, researchers found that practicing meditation reduced their hyperactivity and also increased impulse control (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24374088). Meditation improves the brain’s ability to process information, as well as improving focus and attention.
- Meditation & Postpartum Depression
Women who are pregnant or new mothers are at risk of developing depression due to the sudden changes in hormones. This can be managed through practicing meditation. The process of meditation can also increase the connection between mother and newborn.
Meditation is useful as a one-off practice. However, to get the most of its benefits it’s something that you should make time for on a daily basis. While you will experience immediate relief, you will notice a cumulative effect once you have been practicing regularly.
Your sleep patterns will improve, your ability to focus will increase, and you will feel experience a greater sense of well-being.