Mindfulness is the process of conditioning your mind and body to be more present.
Meditation is a popular exercise that falls under the umbrella of mindfulness practices.
There are several health benefits associated with having a regular meditation routine.
Meditation can help lower cortisol levels, which is known as the “stress hormone” that causes inflammation in the body. Increased cortisol can lead to developing high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, fatigue, and attention problems. It can also alleviate stress-triggered medical conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia. Meditation techniques can be used to promote sleep because they can help you relax your body and have better control over the thoughts that might be keeping you up at night.
Improved mindset, positive self-image, and emotional health are also benefits of practicing mindfulness meditations. This is because it trains your brain to have fewer negative thoughts. It may also help you develop more self-awareness and understanding, as well as gratitude. People who meditate often report having increased feelings of kindness for themselves and others. Mindfulness practices teach you how to identify self-defeating and unhelpful thoughts, along with how to replace them with more compassionate ones.
Being an active participant in routine meditation practice can increase your attention span and improve your memory. The brain is a muscle, and the more you are intentional about working its attention span and memory, it may become stronger over time. Studies have shown that it may prevent age-related memory loss.
With the consistency and discipline of regular meditation practice, it can help reduce cravings associated with emotional or stress eating and substance use. Since meditation promotes self-awareness, it can help you be present in your emotions and explore the reasons behind your cravings.
Mindfulness meditations are an accessible way to improve your lifestyle. It doesn’t cost you anything unless you decide to take a meditation class, purchase an app, or work with a therapist to further develop your mindfulness skills. However, it is recommended that you seek therapy during your mindfulness journey to help you process your thoughts and behaviors with a qualified, trained professional.
There are several free resources to use for mediation, including YouTube and apps, such as InsightTimer, or checking out a CD at your local library. Silent and nature mediations are other techniques available for your use. While there is a variety of meditation styles, it is encouraged for you to experiment and find what methods work best for you.
For those beginning meditation, it is recommended to start with 5-10 minute meditations at least 2-3 days per week. Once you make this a habit, over time, you may decide to meditate for 20 mins-1 hour or practice it 5-7 days per week, depending on how you can fit it into your schedule.
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