Does Meditation Benefit Your Mind and Body?
A lot of things benefit the mind and body. For example, exercise, yoga, and time with friends are all great. Meditation, too, is excellent for mind and body health. A few misconceptions surround it, so let’s clarify what it means. Meditating essentially means you take the time to settle your mind, often in the middle of the day and no matter where you are. Techniques such as mindfulness or focusing on a certain activity, thought, or object calms your emotions and mind.
Mental Health Is Tied to Physical Health
The mind and the body work together. The ability to target both things at the same time is one reason that meditation for companies is so popular and effective. Companies that want to enhance their employees’ well-being, promote team building, and boost the bottom line find that meditation accomplishes multiple objectives. Here are some ways that meditation’s effect on the brain bolsters physical health, too.
- Meditation increases patience and tolerance while lowering resting blood pressure and heart rate.
- Happiness tends to lead to more physical activity.
- A lack of stress means better sleep quality.
- Meditation can enhance a person’s breathing.
- Good mental health can mean fewer headaches, incidences of heartburn, doctors’ appointments, and so on.
- Productivity increases when the mind is focused, meaning less time sitting at work.
- Meditation brings clarity that helps people maximize their time and the physical activities they enjoy.
- Many medical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, and anxiety elevate people’s stress levels. Meditation decreases stress considerably.
- Some forms such as tai chi and yoga involve physical movement.
How Meditation Enhances Mental Health
Meditation is a time-honed, holistic approach to reducing stress and calming the mind. In other words, it can help you achieve inner peace.
People have reduced their anxieties for thousands of years this way. Meditation allows you to focus on something calming or relaxing. Your confusing, chaotic, and stressful thoughts fall by the wayside. The benefits of this practice continue all day not just for the length of the session.
You Can Tailor Different Types to Your Needs
Meditation takes various forms, including mantra, mindfulness, qi gong, transcendental, guided, and even yoga. You can customize your meditation to your needs. For example, a teacher or guide leads guided meditation sessions and encourages you to use multiple senses. You might use sound, texture, sight, and smell during guided meditation.
Meanwhile, you repeat calming words in mantra meditation. The words occupy your mind and prevent your thoughts from wandering. “Every day is a new beginning,” is a mantra that resonates with many people. Transcendental meditation also uses a personal mantra in a specific way. It allows your body and mind to relax.
Tai chi and yoga include strong physical components to meditation. Yoga focuses on bodily flexibility, while tai chi promotes graceful martial arts training. Mindfulness meditation means you zoom in on conscious experiences while meditating. You might observe the pace of your breath, your pulse, or your emotions (without judgment).
Common Features of Meditation
Meditation can be in person, virtual, solo, in small groups, or in large groups. As mentioned earlier, even meditation during work hours is something many companies have gotten firmly behind. Virtual corporate mindfulness classes can run for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. Companies or individual participants can choose certain areas of focus such as releasing failure, envisioning new challenges, team building, and working from home. Whether you are new to meditation or a pro, the practice often incorporates these features.
Quiet environment: Turn off TVs, cellphones, and radios. Even better, settle yourself in a space where none of these devices surround you. That said, meditation experts may be able to meditate anywhere, even in long lines and traffic. Do what works for you.
Open mind: Keep an open mind about what meditation can do for you. When you think (about anything), do not judge.
Comfort: Good posture during meditation is important. As long as you have that, it does not matter whether you are walking, sitting, lying down, in yoga positions, or something else. Do what makes you comfortable.
Even breathing: Keep your breaths even-paced and deep. Don’t breathe quickly. Slow your respiration, and use your shoulder, neck, and upper chest muscles. If or when you sense your attention wandering, direct it back to your breathing.
Focus: You usually must focus your attention on something to take your mind off stress, anxiety, and distractions. The focus could be on a mantra, your experiences during the session (perhaps trying to introduce relaxation into areas of pain or tension in your body), a work challenge, an image, or something else. You could even contemplate a certain person with kindness, reflect on the meaning of a poem, or focus on how your feet move as you walk.
Many people who start meditation report that it has helped their mind and body more than they thought possible. Mindfulness forces you to slow down, focus, and take stock, and has direct links to physical well-being.