5 Reasons You Should Incorporate Meditation Into Your Self-Care Routine
There are countless advantages to incorporating meditation into your self-care routine. Not only is meditation a scientifically proven way to maintain a healthier lifestyle, but it also does so in a way that is physically, psychologically, and spiritually beneficial.
Yet, there are many different forms of meditation, and finding the right one which suits your lifestyle will make all the difference. There are solitary meditations, group meditations, guided meditations, mindfulness meditations, and so much more. However, starting out can feel intimidating, and it’s important to remember that meditation is something you practice. So, like anything you practice, remember that falling into the meditation groove will only get easier and more effective over time.
Here are 5 top reasons why you should start meditating today!
Meditation is a Great Stress-Reliever
Stress is caused when we encounter a pressure, worry, or perceived threat in our lives and, in response, our bodies trigger our autonomic nervous systems. This response releases stress hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, causing an increase in blood pressure and breathing rate.
Thankfully, numerous scientific studies have proven that meditation is a great way to deal with and overcome both short and long term stress. In alleviating stress, consistent meditation has been shown to train the mind to be less reactive to external stimuli, reprogram the brain to respond to threats with relaxation, and therefore lead to a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.
Meditation Increases Mental Clarity and Focus
The pursuit of mental clarity can be brought upon for a number of reasons. Perhaps you want to retain more information, be more productive, or become more intuitive. Or, maybe you need to work out a problem or become more focused.
Mental clarity and focus are things that can be heightened in a number of ways including diet, exercise and, you guessed it, meditation. In achieving mental clarity and focus, meditation works by keeping your body relaxed and your mind still so you can access information quicker and easier.
In time, with regular meditation practices, you’ll be able to strengthen your mind, focus solely on what you want to, and stay clear of brain fog.
Improved Short-Term and Long Term Memory
Adding to the point made above regarding meditation and retention, many studies performed by neuroscientists have suggested that there is a direct link between consistently-practiced meditation and better memory. In particular, scientists found that meditation boosts blood flow to the cerebral cortex of the brain; the area of the brain that is responsible for learning, focus, and memory.
What’s more is, they found that even just 20 minutes a day of meditation is able to provide these benefits.
When I first started meditating a few years ago, I had no idea how much my community would expand as a result. The first and most powerful way I made friends through meditating was by attending group meditation classes every week. Each time I went to class, roughly the same group of people would show up and we would eventually grow a bond that is hard to replicate in any other setting. There’s something to be said for exchanging energy during group meditation!
The second way I built a community around meditation was simply by talking about it. You don’t always know who in your life meditates until you speak up about your practice. Simply letting people know, both in real life and on social media, that I meditate has fostered relationships that I would probably never have sought out otherwise.
Of course, this is an experience based on my personality and love of meditating in a group setting, but if you’re looking for a way to build a community of like-minded thinkers, then opening yourself up to meditation is a great starting point.
Helps to Control Pain
While the cause of it is often physical trauma, pain is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. When that signal reaches the brain, the brain then decodes it based on our sensory receptors in our cells, past trauma, and our reflexes.
In conjunction with, or even in lieu of, pain-relieving medications, numerous studies have shown that meditation helps control feelings of physical pain. The results were that not only does meditation help target the main pain-receptive part of the brain and relax it, it also helps to minimize the effects of pain long-term.
We meditate to take control of our minds, achieve greater clarity, and give ourselves time for reflection and perspective. Meditation is not about turning off your feelings or altering your belief system yet, if we allow it and are consistent with it, the practice has the power to change our lives in a multitude of ways.
Do you meditate as part of your self-care routine? If so, what are some of your favourite benefits? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!