While stress cannot be seen or touched, it can be felt; across our bodies and through our minds. Stress can lead to headaches, anxiety, depression, heart diseases, an increase in blood pressure and even premature death not to mention the serious negative repercussions on your mental health. And while stress cannot be eradicated at the root, the effects can be minimised through mindful practices that relax and calm your mind, body and spirit as well as prevent illness.
Meditation practices are a great way to help find balance during stressful situations. Just breathing techniques can do wonders for you to overcome a distressing and challenging scenario. Meditating daily can provide the mental shift needed to equip you for life’s ongoing challenges. Research has proven that mindfulness improves mental health, mood and quality of life, increases memory, focus and resistance to distraction, and enhances emotional regulation.
Meditating for a Mental Health & Physical Fitness
For Your Mental Health
Yes, calming the mind can have major effects on your physical health as its effects on the sympathetic nervous system works to regulate heart rate, breathing, blood pressure during stress and your response to said stress but meditation has a higher purpose. Conducting daily meditative practices help with your creativity, your intuition, and your connection with your inner world. Meditation decreases activity in two regions of the brain; the amygdala which is responsible for regulating concentration, memory and emotions and the default mode network (DMN), the part of the brain that controls daydreaming and other distractions such as wandering thoughts. By meditating, we consciously calm our minds, thoughts and emotions, vastly improving our mental health and leading ourselves to better sleep, decreased anxiety and a more optimistic outlook towards life.
For a Fit Body
For the body, meditation is like a soothing balm to our nerves. It helps our systems run as they should instead of running on a reflex to distressed or overwhelming feelings, curbing any stress-induced shutdowns. Physical benefits of meditation include:
Reduced symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Ease symptoms of arthritis
There’s no right or wrong way to meditate but if you’re a novice, start with a guided meditation to help you ease into the practice. Set aside some time every day to establish a routine and create a pace that’s comfortable for you.
Meditating for a Good Mood
For a Calm Mind
A study published in 2016 established that meditation can help people cope with anger. There’s evidence proving that practising meditation can indeed help manage negative emotions like anger and fear. Anxious minds are plagued by repetitive thoughts which can affect mood and productivity. But 10 minutes of meditation daily can reduce the wandering of the mind, especially for those with high levels of emotional stress. Mindfulness exercises like meditation can shift awareness from internal worries to the present, reducing stress about the future as well as past events.
Starting Your Meditative Practice
If you’re serious about meditating regularly, build a routine. Of course, take the time you need but discipline is key to creating a healthy practice that’ll help you in the long run. Meditate every day at the same time, either in the morning, afternoon or night, whatever your preferred time is. Treat it like a routine habit like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
Set aside a place to meditate. Surround yourself with things that bring you calm. Try to engage all your senses, smell, hearing as well as vision. Light candles, put fresh flowers in a corner, incense, or even crystals or pictures that bring you a sense of calm.
Focus on your breathing, slow, deep and gentle. Breathe peace and quiet into your heart and mind and breathe out negativity and tension. Consider each exhale as the rush of an ocean wave washing into the shore. Each exhale is the wave brushing away.
To start out, try our guided meditation which will ease you seamlessly into the practice.
As you keep doing this regularly, you’ll start feeling inner peace and poise, even amidst the chaotic lives that we all lead.