The Benefits of Daily Meditation

I am sure we all have found ourselves more overworked, tired, stressed out and “burnt out” than we would even acknowledge or like to admit, but that’s the beauty of the cycle of the fast paced, constantly moving and grooving day of a busy, driven college student. We are all running around making paths to create some kind of difference in the world, but sometimes in order to make an outward change, we must first center ourselves. This is where the importance of just a little bit of daily meditation can play a huge role in our outward expression and impact on the world. 

 

Whether you devote an hour or even just five minutes a day on meditation, the benefits will be immense. The simple task of taking time for yourself is the first real, huge step to inducing any positive mental health and wellness change… and meditation doesn’t have to be this preconceived idea of effortlessly releasing thoughts in a barren room lit by hundreds of candle lights; it can simply be the act of focusing on inhalations and exhalations as you complete your big morning stretches or the practice of counting your breaths before you fall asleep at night. Mediation shouldn’t be intimidating, in fact, it should be and is inviting to all walks of life. 

 

Self-compassion

Meditation, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as “engaging in mental exercise such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.” Mindfulness meditation encourages the brain and body to slow down and allows for a deeper art of self-reflection to be reached. This practice of self-reflection can help release a more positive outlook on oneself by increasing self-compassion, confidence and overall general mood. Meditation can also help achieve a stronger focus on the present which will in turn improve general focus and concentration on all other aspects of life, leading to increased positivity and happiness. 

person stretching outside in sun Photo by Radu Florin from unsplash

 

Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Mediation is known to alter the head-space into thinking lighter, more positive thoughts; thus reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness meditation is proven to reduce levels of cortisol in the body which is the hormone that releases stress. Reduced or even more regulated levels of cortisol will decrease the feeling of overall stress that can be contributed by a multitude of factors from carrying out an active life. Breath-work, chanting mantras or focusing on words and phrases during mediation can also release a calming effect that helps train the brain into focusing more on present life which can decrease stress, anxiety and depression about the past and future. A small amount of daily meditation can positively impact the overall feelings of accumulated stress, anxiety and depression. Reducing these three tiring emotions can lead to a plethora of benefits in other areas of one’s life including healthier relationships, increased focus, more balanced lifestyle, etc. 

woman breathing/relaxing Photo by Darius Bashar from Unsplash

 

Physical Well-Being

Although mediation is thought of mostly as a mental challenge or exercise, it actually has great impacts to physical well-being and health as well. A healthy practice of meditation can have positive impacts on deeper, sustained sleep, maintaining healthy weight and decreasing chronic pain. Having stronger self-compassion and a more stable focus on life will aid in quality sleep which directly impacts overall quality of life. No one enjoys being sleep deprived, so people that have better sleep patterns tend to be happier, and that’s just general knowledge! Women, as a population, tend to fluctuate with weight more than men as there are many biological factors that easily impact hormones and weight regulators. Having a more focused and calm mindset will aid in making better choices that support maintaining a healthy weight or will assist in weight loss or gain (if that is a goal). Lastly, mediation can greatly impact the heartache of chronic pain. Chronic pain is no fun, and unfortunately way too many people deal with it whether it is because our lifestyles are more sedentary than they used to be or due to medical reasons, no one enjoys pain and discomfort. And while no, breathing and meditation will not eradicate all back pain, for example, it certainly can help alleviate some of the tension and stress associated with chronic pain. In fact, many doctors actually implement mindful meditation as part of a comprehensive pain management plan to help reduce and manage chronic pain. 

Unsplash

 

Now have I convinced you to take maybe just five minutes out of your day to focus on your breath, mind, and self? I hope that answer is yes. And I hope you implement a little bit of mediation into your daily life and soon see the positive benefits of meditation. Mediation has a multitude of positive benefits varying from mental health and physical health included previously but also mediation can increase really any aspect of life you are looking to improve if you focus on yourself, your goals and your mindset.