It is no wonder that mindfulness and meditation are becoming increasingly popular. The world seems to be moving faster with every passing day, causing us to feel stressed, overwhelmed, or at the very least – fuzzy-brained. Regular physical exercise of any kind is a great way of getting some of that negative energy out. However, very often, it is not enough to untangle the knots in our minds. This is where meditation can come in. The benefits of daily meditation exercises have been researched extensively and are known to help with everything from sharpening your focus to reducing anxiety. Let’s dive in.
Taking daily meditation exercises will help you improve your focus and concentration. Meditation helps with mindfulness – the feeling of being present in the moment. Practicing mindfulness regularly ensures that you are present and focused on whatever other tasks you engage in during your day. With the advent of technology and the internet at our fingertips, most people’s attention span is dwindling. Not only does this make certain activities harder to do, but it also contributes to our overall feeling of confusion and feeling unmoored. A daily mindfulness exercise will go a long way in helping you be present in your everyday life.
Research has shown that regular meditation can improve a person’s self-esteem. Meditation focuses your attention inward and requires a lot of self-reflection. It also allows people to notice and examine their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practicing mindfulness daily will help you become more self-aware and appreciate your positive attributes, resulting in higher self-esteem. Furthermore, researchers also say that daily meditation exercises can be of particular help to people experiencing social anxiety.
Regular physical exercise is incredibly important when dealing with stress. However, even though something like Zumba is excellent light exercise you could enjoy whenever, sometimes it is hard to find the time or motivation to go to a class.
Stressful situations, however, happen all the same. In order to be able to handle everything life throws at you while staying calm and collected, it is important to meditate every day and maintain your inner equilibrium. Usually, repeating a mantra – a word or a phrase – helps your mind focus during meditating and avoid getting distracted. During transcendental meditation, for example, you silently repeat a word or sound in order to keep your mind focused. Researchers have found that this has a calming effect. And practicing it regularly lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A mere 15- or 20-minute exercise a day will help you avoid burnout altogether, even in the most stressful of times.
Improving mental health
Besides making you feel more at peace, daily meditation exercises can also help with specific mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Obviously, meditation is not a cure-all, but making it a vital part of anxiety or depression treatment can reap great benefits. By practicing mindfulness without distractions, people with anxiety are able to calm their minds and avoid negative thinking patterns that can lead to depression. Furthermore, daily meditation can help with insomnia, or reduce other symptoms of depression like low appetite or moodiness.
Similarly to the way it can help with anxiety or depression, daily meditation can also be a powerful ally in fighting addiction. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness helps individuals acknowledge and control addictive urges. A different study suggests that addicts who practice meditation regularly are less likely to relapse. Apparently, meditation has a therapeutic effect which alters the way the brain experiences pleasure.
If you are someone who experiences chronic pain, you have probably tried pretty much everything. While simply meditating won’t make the pain go away completely, it can still be a useful tool in pain management. It is possible for meditation to actually reduce acute, chronic or post-surgical pain. It also helps people withstand the pain more easily.
Different meditations will highlight different things. If you start doing it regularly, you are likely to go through them all at some point. The loving kindness daily meditation can help you develop empathy and altruism, while simultaneously ridding you of any biases you may have been carrying. The idea is pretty simple. It usually involves invoking a person and wishing them love and happiness.
Preserving brain power
Slowing down aging is another one of the powerful benefits of meditation. A study showed that people who practiced daily meditation preserved more grey matter throughout their brains than those that didn’t. They still had less grey matter than younger people who also meditated, but they still managed to preserve some through this activity. And it is not only one part of the brain that was preserved through this activity – the benefits were shown all over.
How to establish a routine
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of daily meditation exercises at length, you may be wondering how to go about establishing a routine for yourself. Some research shows that consistency is actually even more important than the duration of the exercises. This is why you should definitely try to make it a daily thing to improve your mental health.
1. Pick a time and place
If you are after creating a habit, you want as few variables as possible. Designating a time and a place for meditation each day will go a long way in it becoming a habit you don’t think about twice. Many people prefer to do it in the morning, as it sets them up for the day. However, you can decide for yourself, just ensure it is a time when you can focus on it and at a place that is comfy, safe and without too many distractions.
2. Pick the duration
As a beginner, you can start short – 3, 5 or 10 minutes. The more you get into it, the more you’ll be able to figure out what duration works best for you. Your sweet spot will be the duration you will deem effective while at the same time being easy to achieve every day.
3. Get comfy
There is no one position that works for everyone. In order to be able to focus, you want to be comfortable. So, whether you choose to lie on the floor, sit on your couch or something else, make sure you keep good posture and your comfort levels up.
4. Try out guided meditation
Guided meditation is great for everyone, but especially beginners. There are all kinds of apps and podcasts that can help lead you through your daily meditation exercises.