In a time of social media, health pandemics, constant news cycle, a little space for clarity and mindfulness is more valuable than ever for your mind and your body.
If meditation is a daily practice or a daunting idea, you may want to consider the potential health benefits that come with sitting still in our hectic, busy world and training your mind to focus your thoughts.
Maximize Fitness Training
Along with physical workouts and nutrition, more and more studies show that a holistic lifestyle can benefit from meditation. Scientists and psychologists agree that a great, sweaty workout won’t have quite the same positive effect if we’re still weighed down by negative emotions and high levels of stress, even if extreme physical exertion does help with boosting our mood. Instead, when physical workouts are combined with meditation and mindfulness, you get the double whammy that clears up negative thought patterns and anxiety, making for stronger bodies and minds.
In our world of distractions and dopamine hits from social media likes and follows, we can become addicted to constantly being entertained or engaged, and unable to sit still, or bored for more than a few seconds. Meditation and mindfulness are the perfect antidote; studies are showing that meditation helps us focus our attention and lengthen our attention span. The professionals behind savemypenny.com/blog/best-meditations-books-you-cant-avoid/ say that there are so many great books out there to get you up to speed if you’re still new to the practice. Meditating, even for just a few minutes a day, has been shown to be a benefit to reverse your brain’s habit of wandering, worrying, and craving constant stimulus or distraction, leaving room for more meaningful and creative thoughts and endeavors.
Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss
Meditation has been shown to not only improve our attention and ability to focus but help our brains feel younger and help with memory retention. Some are encouraging seniors to practice meditation to combat age-related memory loss.
Stress. It’s a near-constant factor in so many of our lives, you just can’t seem to escape it! However, meditation continues to prove itself as an effective way to reduce stress levels and the stress hormone cortisol which releases inflammation-promoting chemicals that disrupt sleep, increase blood pressure and cause anxiety, all of which clouds our thinking. Instead, meditation has been found to help people reduce their anxiety and symptoms of anxiety disorders like social anxiety, phobias, and even panic attacks. If you have an especially stressful home or work environment, meditation might be helpful to you.
Meditation has been found to improve your self-image and generally give participants a more positive outlook; a more glass-half-full type of thinking. It’s also shown signs of helping combat some forms of depression and becoming effective long-term if made a habitual practice.
Pregnant women and new mothers have also reported meditation to have a positive effect in fighting postpartum depression and reduce mood fluctuations, making it easier to develop a strong emotional connection to their new baby.
With meditation comes mental strength and discipline. Basically, you become a stronger person on the inside as your willpower muscles are flexed, which has been proven to help people break their addictive behaviors and dependencies.
What meditation does is helps people redirect their attention which allows them to control their impulses and allows more cognitive thinking to take over instead of instinct. Whether it’s alcohol or food cravings, people have noted how meditation has allowed them to fight through temptations and triggers and form new, more productive habits.
We all could probably use a bit more sleep. But with so much to worry about in the news and games on our phones to play, sometimes it’s our sleep that suffers the most. Again, that’s where mindfulness can help. Meditation has been found to help people fall asleep sooner, and stay asleep longer while making you more relaxed. And the benefits of good sleep are many, from more energy, productivity at work, better immune system and generally healthier, happier versions of ourselves.
Meditation can also help relieve the strain on our hearts by lowering blood pressure, especially for older adults. Mindfulness helps relax nerve signals that would normally activate the “fight or flight” response that increases our ability to respond to stressful situations but cause high blood pressure which makes the heart work harder. Regular meditation then can help prevent heart disease over time.
In the end, if you’re looking to really maximize your health, both physically and mentally, meditation should be a no-brainer. With so many benefits to your heart, memory, attention, and sleep, not to mention the ability to reduce stress, even those who’ve never tried meditation should consider looking into what they’re missing.