The word meditate is derived from Latin and means “to ponder.” Meditation involves being silent and still for a prolonged period of time, in order to rest and reset the mind.
The benefits of consistent meditation practice have been proven by science to be almost too numerous to count. Yet many people still struggle to incorporate this into their arsenal of healthy habits. If this is you, you may want to reconsider. Read on for a rundown of the major benefits to get you motivated, plus a few tips for getting started.
8 Proven Perks of a Meditation Practice
- Manage stress - For battling burnout and keeping your cool, science says meditation instantly lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone response.
- Improve sleep - Recent studies show that people who meditate stay asleep longer, experience deeper rest, and have been able to improve insomnia for the long term.
- Enhance your mood - For folks battling depression and other emotional mood disturbances, meditation has proven incredibly beneficial - reducing unpleasant emotions and increasing positive self-awareness.
- Boost your brain - The benefits of meditation for the brain are far-reaching. Science has demonstrated that regular practice results in better cognitive performance including focus and problem-solving.
- Combat addictive tendencies - Research shows that over time, and with consistent practice, meditation may help with regulating emotions, cravings, and impulses that contribute to addiction.
- Prevent mental aging - Because it has proven so beneficial for the brain, studies have linked meditation to keep the mind younger and healthier longer, by preventing memory loss and preserving mental stamina.
- Control anxiety - By reducing stress and improving mood, another perk of meditation turns out to be lowered anxiety. Experts say even just a few minutes per day can help keep worry, panic, and persistent thoughts at bay.
- Reduce pain levels - A recent meta-analysis concluded that meditation was effective for managing pain. Because chronic pain is linked to stress and inflammation levels, science is finding that this helps control pain signals to the brain by reducing both.
Find your sacred space
You don’t need a fully furnished zen room to meditate, just somewhere quiet and with minimal distractions. If you lack privacy, try getting creative. You could meditate in bed with headphones or even get outside under a tree for extra grounding.
Consider guided meditation
These days there are hundreds of free videos on YouTube and numerous smartphone apps to help you meditate. If you struggle with distractions, guided meditations with relaxing music or a simple mantra can be great for keeping you in the zone.
Think progress not perfection
Although it seems simple, meditation is a practice that takes time to build. If you miss a day, or have trouble staying in the moment other days, don’t sweat it. Showing up is what counts, so just strive to do your best, and you’ll still reap plenty of benefits.