Spending just a few minutes meditating daily can be one of the most effective things you do to improve your health. Meditation is a practice that dates back thousands of years and is becoming an increasingly popular way of relaxing and reducing stress. It can be practised absolutely anywhere, anytime and by anyone.
Although meditation is most strongly linked to feelings of calmness, tranquillity and peace, there are numerous health benefits of the practice. Here are 3 scientifically proven health benefits of meditation that are backed by studies:
Reduced Stress And Anxiety
Stress reduction is perhaps one of the most common reasons that people try meditation and understandably so. When we meditate and learn to accept our thoughts rather than resist them, we become much more effective at staying detached from negative feelings. Instead of allowing these feelings to determine our reactions, meditation can help us to respond in a more controlled manner.
This particular study demonstrated the significance of an 8-week mindfulness program. It showed considerable reductions in stress symptoms as well as participants reporting that they had an increased sense of control over their emotions.
By taking a step back and meditating on a regular basis, we give ourselves the ability to accept the present moment instead of resisting it.
Improved Quality Of Sleep
Sleep deprivation is an incredibly common affliction in today’s world. It’s estimated that up to 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from poor sleep. By taking a few minutes of your day to meditate, you can slowly begin to take control of your mind and prevent those compulsive ‘runaway’ thoughts that so often lead to sleepless nights.
In a study based on the treatment of insomnia, meditation was proven to not only help participants fall asleep faster but also stay asleep for a longer period of time. Even if you don’t suffer from insomnia, this can be of huge benefit to your sleep quality.
Getting a good night’s rest is often an overlooked aspect of maintaining good physical and mental health. By using meditation to improve your sleeping pattern, you can avoid all of the harmful effects of sleep deprivation and promote well-being.
Better Attention Span And Focus
Meditation commonly involves focusing on a particular object, sound or thing such as your breathing. If you do this on a regular basis, you’re effectively training your mind to target its attention on one thing without getting distracted. This can serve to significantly improve your cognitive abilities when it comes to your work and even things like sports.
Studies like this demonstrate that even just 4 days of daily meditation can improve your capacity to sustain attention and make decisions. As I’ve personally found through meditating over a long period of time, you will be able to stop your mind from wandering as much, stay present and fully focused on what you need to do.
The Bottom Line
Contrary to popular belief, meditation does not involve controlling what you think about. It is about practising acceptance and the realisation that you don’t have to be a slave to whatever happens in your mind.
You may not be able to control your external environment but you can always choose how you react to that situation. Taking just a few minutes a day to meditate will not only give you the ability to live in the moment but also benefit from the above health benefits.
If you’re unsure about how to get started on meditation, here’s a guide to the basics.