Taking a few minutes out of your day to relax, reconnect with yourself, refocus, and give yourself back some ‘you time’ during meditation could be the key to longer lasting health and wellness.
Here are some of the ways a daily practice of mindful meditation boosts our health:
1. Forces you to relax
With so much ‘stuff’ going on around us, sometimes it can be difficult to relax. Meditation forces us to take time-out from everything else that’s going on and focus on the one thing that really matters: ourselves.
2. Helps you connect with goals
For people embarking on a lifestyle change, time spent meditating can help you to refocus on your goals, what’s most important to you, and allow you to regroup your strength for the day ahead.
3. Reduces stress
Deep breathing during meditation literally calms your whole body down. When your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale, the nerve that runs from your neck to the diaphragm sends a signal to your brain to turn down your sympathetic nervous system – your fight or flight response – and turn up your parasympathetic nervous system – your rest, relaxation, and digestive response.
4. Reduces blood pressure
A flow-on effect from reducing stress, regular meditation practice can reduce blood pressure, lowering your risk of kidneys damage, stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
5. Increases fertility
The stress-fighting properties of meditation could also help you have a baby. A study at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed.
6. Lessons feelings of pain
Meditation can help lessen the severity of pain. A study at the Wake Forest University in North Carolina tested the pain threshold of 15 volunteers who had never meditated before after 20 minute meditation sessions. On average, participants experienced a 40 per cent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 per cent reduction in pain unpleasantness.
7. Makes you smarter
Scientific studies have found meditation increases grey matter in the brain. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted brain scans that revealed experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.
8. Wakes you up
Scientific studies have found meditation is 10 per cent more effective at increasing alertness than a powernap.
9. Boosts your immunity
Studies have shown people who regularly enjoy meditating have higher levels of antibodies in their blood, suggesting they would be more able to fight off infection.
10. Improves your mindset
When was the last time you did something for you? Taking time out for a daily meditation practice allows you to do something just for you, imparting feelings of positivity, wellness, and helping you to feel like you’re in control and being proactive in your health and wellness journey.