Our lives are becoming increasingly more busy and stressful, so its little wonder that as more people become aware of the benefits of meditation, they are turning to it in droves.
Far from being massively time consuming and uncomfortable as many people believe, mediation can be done anywhere, by anyone and for as long as they feel comfortable.
A short daily (or regular) meditation can focus your thoughts and have many more incredible benefits which we’ve listed below.
One of the most commons reason people turn to meditation is to relieve stress as many are now experiencing stress on a daily, and
When the body experiences stress in any form, it causes the release of cortisol, a hormone that causes inflammation and was initially used to protect the body.
You see, back in hunter gatherer days, stress would be a temporary measure of having to fight an animal to kill for your dinner or to run away from something that wanted to eat you for theirs, which is now called the fight or flight response. And after the stressful situation was over, the body would return to its regular, relaxed state.
Nowadays however, many people find themselves in a chronic state of stress and only get relief when they are asleep or partaking in an activity which reduces stress. And being constantly on alert, the body can suffer from several ailments such as poor sleep, exhaustion, depression, anxiety and fuzzy thinking.
The process of a regular meditation allows the body to reset, by breathing deeply, feeling safe and comfortable and being calm relaxes the body which halts the cortisol distribution.
Note: it is important to add that although we don’t list them here, many physical problems can be cause or worsened by stress so meditation can also have positive effects on the physical body.
Anxiety is often caused by stress, so as a result of reducing the stress hormone and putting the body into a state of relaxation, many anxiety disorders such as social anxiety, obsessive behaviours, phobias and panic attacks can be better managed.
It will also come as no surprise that those who suffer from anxiety due to pressure at work can also see a benefit from reducing stress and also increased focus and mental clarity.
There are so many distractions in our daily lives that it is easy to lose focus and not be able to concentrate on a single task.
Partaking in a meditation regularly trains our focus so that when you find your mind wandering or thoughts entering your head, you can refocus your attention on your breathing. This trains the brain now to be distracted by every thought that pops into your mind and this practice is easily transferable to daily life.
So next time you are in the middle of a task and you feel your mind wandering, you can easily bring yourself back on track.
Lots of us have experienced the odd sleepless night due to worrying about a situation or in anticipation of an exciting event the next day, and as long as its only a one off or occasional night, your body will soon recover.
Unfortunately for many people interrupted sleep or insomnia can be a regular occurrence and that’s when the body starts to suffer.
Sleep, and more importantly a cycle of deep sleep, is the time when HGH (human growth hormone) is pumped into the body, letting tissues repair and the immune system toughen up to fight any diseases that come near. So not getting a restful night can slow down the HGH production and leave the body vulnerable, as well as fatigued, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Meditation slows down the stress response, allowing the body to relax and prepare to drift into quality sleep. (you could also do a night time meditation as you lie in bed so you are warm, comfortable and relaxed as you fall asleep.)
Stress, increased inflammation and symptoms of anxiety can all raise the blood pressure, which in turn can cause an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
The great news is that as you reduce the causes, the blood pressure will naturally reduce as well. Add that to the benefit of deep breathing for getting more oxygen circulating the body and improved quality of sleep making sure that the body is flooded with a healthy dose of growth hormone to repair and protect the tissues, your heart will be delighted that you decided to take 10 minutes to meditate.
Increased Energy Levels
It may sound odd that after pointing out all the ways it helps you relax, that meditation can give you a boost of energy as well, but that’s exactly right.
After any activity, your body needs to get proper rest, so a meditation helps the body relax, recover either during rest or through good quality sleep and taking concentrated breaths helps oxygenate the blood which in turn makes the body recover quicker.
We mentioned improved focus above, but it’s worth mentioning that a daily meditation has been recognised as being able to improve concentration and so “rewire” the working brain to become more efficient so that less energy is used to perform tasks.
It is a form of brain training where the networks within the brain are repeatedly activated and strengthened, so that they become for efficient.
This form of training has positive impacts on numerous cognitive functions, including how the brain stores and retains memories, giving a sense of clarity and improves decision making abilities as information can be efficiently retrieved.
With all of the above benefits, 10 minutes a day to sit or lie comfortably and concentrate on breathing slowly and deeply doesn’t seem like much does it?