Achieving overall health requires you to care for yourself as a whole — both mind and body. You go to the gym to work on your fitness. You spend time in the kitchen perfecting your nutrition. Why not put the same effort into keeping your mind healthy? One common method of getting in the right headspace is practicing meditation. Let's talk about some of the benefits of meditation and why you should incorporate it into your daily life.
What is Meditation?
According to Headspace.com, meditation is about "training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective." It requires you to be more mindful, meaning you're present in the moment, paying attention only to the here and now.
The Many Benefits of Meditation
Meditation isn't just some trendy fad. It has many benefits — both physical and mental — all backed by science.
1. It Might Help Reduce Your Stress
Research has repeatedly found that meditation can play a role in improving not only emotional feelings of stress but the physiological ramifications as well.
One study found that following a meditation program can result in small to moderate reductions in stress, including for those suffering from PTSD and cancer. Other research found it can even help reduce chronic inflammatory conditions that arise as a symptom of stress.
2. Meditation Can Make You a Nicer Person
Believe it or not, meditation can increase the kindness you feel toward yourself and others. One study discovered that kindness-based meditation benefitted not only the individuals' health but also their social interaction with their communities.
According to research, certain kinds of meditation may also have a positive impact on social anxiety, marital conflict, and the stress that long-term caregivers experience.
3. Meditation Helps You Be More Productive
Did you know that meditation can help you work more efficiently throughout the day? It's true — and we need the help. One experiment found that every time we're distracted while working by things like email and texting, we lose as many as 10 IQ points.
Studies have found that meditation can help you better multitask by reducing stress while doing so. Meditation can also improve cognition by helping you maintain focus for longer periods of time and have a better attention span. Plus, it's good for your memory.
4. It Helps You Sleep Better
Is there anyone who isn't tired? Between work, school, family, and life's many other responsibilities, so many of us are walking around exhausted. Meditation could be a solution.
Research notes that meditation can be used to treat insomnia, showing positive long-term results.
5. Meditation is Good for Your Heart
Keeping your heart healthy is crucial for living a long and happy life. This is yet another reason to start meditating.
One study found that meditation helped older participants reduce their blood pressure. Further research has found that it can enhance insulin resistance and otherwise improve your cardiovascular system.
Any way you slice it, we should all be making time for meditation. Start small, and don't put pressure on yourself to do it perfectly. Even five or 10 minutes of sitting in silence can have a positive effect. Give it a try today!