Feeling stressed and anxious, having trouble focusing, or looking for a way to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health? Meditation is an increasingly popular practice, and with good reason! Studies have demonstrated the many benefits of meditating, from stress reduction to pain management. To learn more about meditation and its health benefits, read on.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a mind and body practice that has been used for thousands of years to enter a state of relaxation, deepen understanding, and promote calmness, tranquility, and peace. There are several different types of meditation, including guided, unguided, calming, insight, body scan, visualization, and others. Though these types differ in their approach, they all share some things in common: finding a quiet space with few distractions, holding a specific and comfortable posture, focusing one’s attention, and keeping an open attitude. These simple requirements make meditation an accessible, adjustable practice that can be done by anyone, anywhere.

At Pursue Wellness, we offer meditation, as well as yoga classes and workshops. Learn more here!

What are the Health Benefits of Meditation?

Incorporating time to meditate into your daily routine comes with a host of benefits. One of the most significant benefits you may see immediately is increased relaxation and calmness, which can carry on throughout the rest of your day. More positive mental health outcomes from meditation include enhanced focus, awareness, mental clarity, and memory. Studies have shown that those who practiced mindfulness can increase their focus by 14% and decrease mind-wandering by 22%.

Meditation also has great benefits for those struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Studies have demonstrated that mindfulness mediation programs can improve symptoms associated with both illnesses. Those who suffer from insomnia may also benefit from regular meditation practice.

A few studies have demonstrated mindfulness meditation’s ability to help manage pain. A large meta-analysis found that though meditators and non-meditators both experienced the same causes of pain, those who meditated we more able to cope with the pain and even had reduced pain sensation.

Meditation’s ability to reduce stress has many positive impacts on the body as a whole, as stress can play a huge role in physical ailments such as high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and inflammation, which is linked to many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Reducing stress is a key component to preventing or managing serious health conditions, and incorporating daily meditation is an excellent way to improve your overall wellbeing.

How Do I Practice Meditation?

Meditation can be practiced on your own, by finding a quiet space and taking a deep breath. Focus all your attention on breathing and try to bring your mind back to your breath whenever you feel it start to wander.

If you’re just starting out on your meditation journey, guided meditation may be more helpful. A great way to get into a regular mindfulness practice is to use the app Headspace. This is an online meditation subscription that provides you with tons of guided meditations. Whether you’re looking for meditation for sleep, compassion, running, mindful eating, or something else, Headspace has something for you. If you’re interested in learning more about meditation, check out this new series. Headspace has collaborated with Netflix to create an animated TV show narrated by Headspace founder, Andy Puddicombe. This show can help get you more familiar with the tools you need to build a practice, the science behind meditation, and how you can get started.

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