Guest post by Uma
Here’s all you need to know if you want to learn more about meditation: it’s health benefits, its advantages, and how you can make the most out of this ancient relaxation practice to achieve a state of mindfulness.
We live in a world filled with constant activity. From work to balancing family life, it can be difficult to find time to relax and unwind.
All of that go-go-go can lead to major stress. While stress can be good for the body and the mind, if it’s experienced in high levels over a long period of time, it can wreck havoc on our overall health and well-being. Chronic stress has been linked to serious ailments, including:
- – Depression
- – Insomnia
- – Gastrointestinal issues
- – Decreased immunity
- – Cardiovascular disease
- – Diabetes
Given the dire consequences that stress can cause, it’s important to find time to take a load off and relax.
There are tons of ways to relax, but one of the most effective methods of relaxation is meditation. In fact, it’s been practiced for more than 5,000 years and has been found to provide a number of notable benefits.
If you’re looking for a way to really relax and gain all of the benefits that unplugging from your hectic life can provide, keep on reading to learn more about meditation, it’s advantages, and how you can make the most out of this ancient relaxation practice.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a centuries-old practice, with the first known documentation dating back to 1,500 BC India. The practice began to spread and eventually became the spiritual practice of Buddhists between the years 500 and 600 BC. Eventually, it spread across the globe and is now regarded as one of the most effective ways to promote relaxation and relieve stress.
But what exactly is meditation? It’s a technique that focuses on relaxing the mind in order to achieve a state of mindfulness. During this practice, the mind focuses on something particular, such as a thought, an object, or an activity.
The goal of focus during meditation is to achieve an altered state of consciousness that is completely different from the state of consciousness that one usually experiences during the normal state of wakefulness. Through meditation, it is believed that one can truly experience the center of consciousness within them as they aren’t distracted by the thoughts that usually race through one’s head.
The Benefits of Meditation
The effects of meditation have been the focus of many scientific studies. Though every study provides different findings, there are key elements that are the same across each one.
Some of the most notable benefits that countless studies have found meditation provides include:
- Stress management. Stress can make anyone feel overly worried, on-edge, and anxious. Through meditation, you learn to take all of your attention off of everything that’s causing your stress, making it an excellent stress management tool.
- Strengthened immune system. One of the negative effects of stress is the toll it takes on your immune system. Constant stress lowers your immune response, making you more susceptible to various ailments, from the common cold to chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Since meditation promotes relaxation, it can strengthen your immunity, thus improving your physical health.
- Reduced depression and anxiety. Chronic stress can do severe damage to your mental health. A surplus of cortisol (the stress hormone) decreases various hormones and neurotransmitters, such as endorphins (the feel good hormones). When these elements are suppressed for prolonged periods of time, depression and anxiety can result. Since meditation helps to calm the mind, it can effectively reduce the production of cortisol. It also promotes a feeling of inner happiness and fulfillment, which also help to alleviate stress and anxiety.
How to Meditate
Now that you know the benefits of meditation, you are probably eager to start practicing it for yourself. But how do you actually meditate? It’s not difficult and no tools or equipment is required. All you need is a quiet space and the following techniques to help you find your way to inner enlightenment:
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes, and if possible, darken the space you are in.
- Breathe in and out as naturally as possible.
- Clear your mind. Focus on your breath and body. Take notice of how your body reacts to your breathing.
- If your mind begins to wander, bring your attention back on your breath.
Once you start to get the hang of meditation, you can start utilizing tools and strategies that will help you gain even more from the practice. For example, you can incorporate crystals and gemstones into your meditation, you can purchase a chair or cushion that is specifically designed for meditation, or you can utilize mala beads.
Whether the stress of everyday life is starting to impact your overall health and well-being, or you simply want to find a way to achieve enlightenment, relaxation through meditation is certainly worth considering. Once you begin practicing, you’ll notice a marked difference in your stress levels, your happiness, and your outlook on life in general.
- Uma Campbell is a yoga instructor and freelance writer. She currently lives in Southern California. She enjoys writing about meditation, natural medicine, and home design. Her interests include: home decor, yoga, and running. She also really loves crafting. She has her own line of home-made jewelry.
- You can follow her on her Twitter account: @umajcampbell
Thank you so much Uma for this guest post!
I hope you’ve all learned something interesting about Meditation and its health benefits. Do you meditate or are you envisioning to start? How else do you cope with stress in your life? Don’t hesitate to leave Uma a comment and to pin this post to share the love ♥