Friday 21st May marks this years World Meditation Day. If you’re an avid LT Co. follower, you will have read about how Laura has recently been using the Calm app to help bring awareness into her daily routine. It’s something which is hugely beneficial to mental health. But, what actually is meditation and how does it benefit you?
What is Meditation?
According to Headspace, meditation is about training in awareness to gain a healthier perspective on life. You’re not trying to turn your thoughts off, but instead to observe them without judgement. If you’ve never tried it, we recommend using an app like Calm, Headspace or Glo. These are great for grasping the basics and learning how to improve your practice. Like anything else, this is a new skill to learn so don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away – it takes time to get in the zone and fully engage.
Many blogs and posts recommend practicing first thing in the morning in order to set yourself up for the day. However, the beauty of the apps is that you can practice at a time that suits you.
What are the Benefits?
Practising meditation has many benefits to your physical and mental health. Many people take it up as a means of reducing stress, calming anxiety or as a way of creating some space in their day to day life however, it can be great for other things as well!
Taking the time to meditate has been shown to reduce your stress hormones. Whilst we all experience stress from time to time with work, family or anything life throws at us (!) having too much of this hormone can be damaging to your physical health. The hormones epinephrine (adrenaline and cortisol) can increase blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. By continually having spikes of these hormones, it will eventually effect your energy levels, sleep and immunity so keeping them at bay is really important for your physical health.
Studies have shown that meditation can help with emotional regulation – something I know I could definitely do with sometimes! It has been found to help with increasing positivity as well as reducing irritability and aggression. By being able to distance yourself from your thoughts and be more present in day to day life, it’s guaranteed to make you feel more positive and upbeat about life!
Most people are somewhat aware of the mental health benefits of meditation. It can effect everything from increased awareness and compassion to more clarity and serenity. It’s also known to increase your focus. A study found that meditating for just 4 weeks increased the focus of participants by 14%. As well as the increase in positive feelings and emotions, it can also decrease any feelings of anxiety and depression.
If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that looking after your mental and physical health is a priority and if meditation can reduce stress, impulsive emotions and increase positivity then that’s a start! I’m off to light my Earth Day candle and set some time aside to practice meditation!