The Healing Benefits of Meditation And How to Begin a Daily Practice

The Healing Benefits of Meditation And How to Begin a Daily Practice

There are thousands of studies documenting the healing benefits of meditation which can have a positive impact on mental, physical and emotional health. Read on to find out more... 
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So, you want to start a meditation practice but first want to understand why it's beneficial.

I get it, before starting anything new it's always helpful to understand why you're doing it so you can get the most out of it.

There are thousands of studies documenting the healing benefits of meditation which can have a positive impact on mental, physical and emotional health. Read on to find out more... 

Emotional Benefits of Meditation

The brain is where meditation works its magic.

One of the most incredible discoveries is that meditation doesn't just help us cope with negative emotions and change our mindset, it can also physically rewire our brains to shift into more positive thoughts and emotions. Here's how:

Having consistent practice decreases negative neurological connections to the prefrontal cortex, helping to let go of fear, stress, and anxiety. It also builds new positive connections to the parts of the brain responsible for promoting decision-making and concentration. 

Research also shows the area of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and problem-solving also increases with regular meditation practice.

So, not only do we feel calmer and centered, we BECOME calmer and centered - pretty cool, huh?

Physical Benefits of Meditation

In today's world, many of us are living in a state of chronic stress. When stress hormones are released into the bloodstream, too much can negatively affect the body. 

It can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, suppress the immune system, increases blood pressure and deplete our energy levels.

However, when the body and mind are relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system is switched on, causing the body to stop releasing a large number of stress hormones.

This is where having a meditation practice comes in. 

Many people who have a regular meditation practice have conditioned their bodies to relax on demand and can more effectively manage stress. 

Mental Benefits of Meditation

Most of us are familiar with the healing benefits meditation can have on our mental health: a sense of calm, compassion, increased awareness, and more focus, though there are even more ways a daily practice can benefit the mind. 

Researchers from John Hopkins University found meditation helped ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain related to stress. 

What’s more, it's been found that people who committed to meditation for 10 days experienced an increase in satisfaction with life. 

So, now that you know the healing benefits, let's take a look at how you can begin a daily practice...

1. Start Small

If you want a habit to stick, it's best to start small and not place too many expectations on yourself. Begin by committing to two minutes a day, and if you feel like it, you can increase the time to five, or even 10 minutes if that feels good for you. All you're committing to is two or five minutes, then each week you can add on another minute until it becomes effortless.

2. Start Early

If possible, try to meditate first thing in the morning. This will help you get it done before the demands of the day ask of you, and I can guarantee it'll help you feel great. 

3. Find A Quiet Spot

Another reason why morning is usually best is that it tends to be the quietest time of day.

This spot may be in your bedroom, in the garden, or maybe in some other setting - as long as you can sit with yourself in stillness for a few minutes, this will help you settle in.

4. Be Flexible

Not every day is going to look the same, you may need to change where you meditate or even do it at a different time if something important has come up during your usual time. The key is to not use these circumstances as an excuse to skip it and remain open instead.

5. Get A Friend Involved

If you can get a friend (or what I like to call, an accountability buddy) to commit to a daily meditation practice with you, this can be a really helpful way to establish a routine until it becomes an embedded habit. You don't have to meditate at the same time, or do the same meditation - just the act of checking in with each other can keep you up!