Reasons to "Meditate on Meditation"
You’ve heard how helpful meditation can be, but you’re not sure it is for you. Or you think you should start to meditate, but you don’t have the time or aren’t sure how.
Here’s a bit of information to help you understand the benefits, and inspiration to start a simple practice.
Why Meditate? Top 5 Health Benefits:
Backed by science, experts show there are many reasons to meditate. Here are a few of the benefits:
- Reduces stress, anxiety and depression – Meditation calms the mind and helps you control your emotions, which can reduce stress. Studies by a Harvard neuroscientist show that meditation makes structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing.
- Improves concentration – Regular meditation improves your ability to focus and center yourself, translating into better memory and being present in the moment.
- Improves your self-awareness – Meditation teaches you to recognize and calm your emotions, and help you put them in perspective.
- Improves your immune system – The immune system is impacted by your positive and negative thoughts, and it performs better in an environment of positive thoughts. Studies have shown that meditation boosts antibodies, which can help fight off or slow sickness.
- Slows aging – All of meditation’s positive effects on the brain help to keep the mind sharp, and to preserve cognition and memory.
Beginner’s Guide to Starting Meditation:
Just start – get a book or read online. Many people think there is some magic to starting, or you must enlist the help of an expert. Not true - starting is the first and biggest step! You can always improve your methods after some practice. Here’s some ideas:
- 10 Minutes a day – You can learn about basic meditation techniques in books or online, and you can start at home with 10 minutes every morning or evening; building to 30 or 40 minutes over time. While we recommend setting aside time to do a full meditation session, there are also mini “moments"; those times when you find just a few unplanned minutes. These times help you to become more aware of yourself and your surroundings, allowing you to “be present." Check out our article Mini Meditations You Can Do Anywhere.
- Join a class - Many local community centers, yoga studios or gyms offer meditation classes for beginners up to expert level. Join one! The regular class schedule will get you in the practice of meditating on a regular basis. You will learn basic methods and meet others who may motivate you. As you advance, having a meditation teacher will help you understand the different methods, and improve your practice over time.
- Apps – There are many Apps that can guide you through a meditation session, and help you expand your techniques. They can also send you a message, reminding you to take the time each day. One App we really like is Headspace.
Understanding more about meditation and mindfulness can be very beneficial to you. Whether you are just beginning or are growing into a serious practice, the health benefits are clear. To learn more about meditation and mindfulness, see our article What is Mindfulness and Should I Practice It?