When you’re just starting out, meditation might seem intimidating and hard. Sitting down and “thinking of nothing” sounds absolutely impossible. And you are right. It is.
But meditation is far from thinking about nothing. It’s about letting your thoughts come and go, allowing them to spend as much time in your head as needed. Throughout the day, those thoughts often don’t get enough attention. We live in a crazy, fast-paced world, and carving out the time to actually stop and focus on ourselves has become a luxury instead of a necessity. This is what meditation can help to change.
The idea that meditation does wonders for our mental state is not a novelty, but there are so many benefits that come from this ancient practice that are not talked about. Read on to learn how you can turn meditation into a regular part of your routine and what benefits it offers your body!
1. Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Studies conducted worldwide are proving how meditation helps ease and control the fight-or-flight mode and lower the amount of stress and anxiety a person experiences. When you’re tuning in to your own breath and deepening each inhale and each exhale, you’re activating the parasympathetic nervous system and letting your mind know it’s time to rest and slow down.
You’re also increasing your body’s oxygen supplies and helping all of your cells receive the nutrients they need to thrive, repair, and heal. This action is crucial in optimizing all of the systems in your body, and maintaining a healthy hormonal balance.
2. Improving Sleep Quality
Having a regular meditation practice is connected to higher-quality sleep, healthier REM to deep sleep ratio, less frequent middle-of-the-night waking up, and even to treating insomnia. How? Meditation calms your mind and stimulates the release of melatonin, a hormone we desperately need to enter dreamland.
When your breath steadies and you get down to your resting heart rate, your body knows it’s time to rest and digest. This helps keep your blood from rushing to your outer layers, causing alertness and activity.
Instead, the deep breathing deactivates your “alarms” and helps your body do the hard job of healing, regenerating, and replenishing lost energy, nutrients, and nerve stimulations. And that’s why the power of meditation is so strong – it can literally help you heal more efficiently from the inside out.
3. Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure and Sugar Levels
A recent study conducted by Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, IA shows an incredible connection between meditation and lower blood pressure levels, specifically caused by stimulating the genes that produce telomerase – an important enzyme that slows down aging and helps control blood pressure.
Sitting down for 20 minutes in the morning and in the evening can help you center yourself and take a pause before and after a very busy day. When your stress levels go up, so does your blood pressure, so by reducing one, you’re helping reduce the other. Simple as that.
4. Showing More Compassion and Tolerance
This means extending compassion toward others, but also toward yourself. It’s not uncommon in today’s world to be judgmental, full of opinions and arguments ready to prove everyone wrong, and even ignorant of what’s going on around you. And that’s why many relationships go through hardship and struggle, as people often see the world through their eyes first.
Meditation helps you get centered and listen to your own intuition, connects you to your emotions and deep thoughts, and allows you to deal with whatever’s bothering you with peace and quiet. That way, you’re not projecting into every other aspect of your life and you’re not being hard on others or yourself for those things you cannot change.
Compassion, tolerance, love, respect, and support. They all come from within. And that’s exactly the space you’re working with when you meditate.
How To Start Using Meditation
Dedicate a time to sit down and close your eyes. Limit all distractions and technology. You can create a peaceful setting in a special corner of your home or even just climb into your bed and plump yourself up with pillows for support. You can try to go inwards on your own, or choose to download one of many meditation apps out there and let them guide you.
Before you begin, take a deep inhale and exhale, feeling your body rise and fall. And for the next few minutes, try to either focus on the meditation you’re listening to or on the sound of your own breath, working on deepening it as much as you can.
You’ll hear the noise outside your window and the smell of your burning candle, but don’t let it take over and distract you. Let them be in the background as things you can’t control. Focus on allowing yourself to feel and experience whatever your mind wants you to, even if it gets uncomfortable. This is your moment and you can stop at any time.
Slowly, but surely, your three minutes will turn into five, then 10, and then 20. Eventually, you’ll go from wanting to meditate to needing to meditate. It just takes practice, time, and consistency. Don’t give up after one bad session – it’s all a part of the process. After all, it’s simply a conversation with yourself, and you’re more than equipped to deal with it.
Meditation has many known benefits, and probably even more of those we know nothing about. Start today and start slow, there’s no one counting your minutes, observing your progress, and making sure you “do it right.”
Let it feel right, let it feel good, and all the benefits will follow.
Do you practice meditation regularly? Tell us how it has helped you below!