In keeping with September’s Self-Care Awareness Month theme, next up, we’re covering meditation. Meditation is an excellent form of self-care that’s beneficial for all three main categories: physical, mental, and emotional. Although it may not seem like something as simple as closing your eyes, clearing your mind, and focusing on your breathing could have such a profound effect, it can, and there is lots of science behind it. Below, we dive into five of the top benefits of meditation and some quick tips on starting your own meditation practice.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Stress can wreak havoc on your health and trigger many physical illnesses. Research shows that a mindfulness meditation practice can help lower cortisol (aka the stress hormone). So not only can meditation help you feel less overall stress in your life, but it can also improve the symptoms of stress-related conditions such as inflammation and chronic pain. Also, stress and anxiety go hand in hand. So by reducing stress, meditation can also help manage anxiety.
Supports quality sleep
Have trouble sleeping? Meditation can help with that, too, by evoking the body’s relaxation response. Research shows that a regular mindfulness meditation practice is an effective treatment for insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders, and provides long-lasting results. And the better quality sleep you get, the better your overall health will be.
Creates mental clarity
Often, our stress source is the mental chatter that’s on repeat in our minds, whether we’re worrying about the future or feeling overwhelmed by our mile-long to-do list. Meditation can help quiet that internal noise that can negatively impact our wellbeing. Studies have shown that meditation reduces mind wandering, improves focus, cultivates mental resilience, and increases satisfaction. Not too shabby for just a few minutes of stillness.
Helps cope with emotions
Dealing with negative emotions is part of being a human, but meditation is a helpful tool for coping with those emotions. Research shows that meditation supports emotional regulation leading you to think more positive thoughts and increase good-feeling emotions. The practice of meditation helps create distance between you and the thoughts and feelings, so you can purely focus on the present moment.
Although meditation is typically known as a solo activity, it doesn’t have to be. It’s also a mindful, self-care practice you can do with your significant other. Research showed that meditating as a couple can improve the romantic relationship quality and result in higher relationship satisfaction because it helps you better identify and communicate emotions and fosters empathy towards one another.
Tips for starting a meditation practice
Ready to start a regular meditation? Keep reading for some quick tips on getting started.