The popularity of mindfulness and meditation is increasing as more people discover their benefits. Research has shown that practicing daily mindfulness and meditation benefits a person’s overall wellness in a number of interesting and perhaps unexpected ways. While we all know that taking time each day to be calm and control our breathing will help us relax, most of us probably don’t know about the other benefits that practicing daily mindfulness and meditation has been shown to have.
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION
For example, meditating each day has been shown to help people who are suffering from addiction by reducing cravings, reducing their anxiety, and helping them to control their emotions. When used in tandem with other forms of therapy such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy or experiential rehab, practicing meditation has been shown to have a significant impact on the success of recovering addicts. This is why many addiction recovery centers incorporate mindfulness and meditation into their programs.
Some of the other benefits of mindfulness and meditation include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety. One of the most common uses for meditation is to reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, when most people are asked about the benefits of meditation, usually the first thing they say is that it reduces stress. And they’re right!
- Promotes better emotional health. The psychological benefits of mindfulness and meditation include more emotional awareness, greater emotional control, and increasing patience, tolerance, and overall happiness.
- Enhances self-awareness. Mindfulness and meditation are inherently reflective activities, and practicing them often has been shown to improve self-awareness.
- Improves focus, attentiveness, and attention span. In fact, mindfulness and meditation have been shown to improve all areas of cognition and even reduce the risk of age-related memory loss.
- Improves sleep. It makes sense that taking time to relax each day will help you fall asleep at night. In one study, people who meditated for 10 minutes before bed fell asleep up to 30 minutes before they usually did and reported feeling more well-rested the next morning.
These are only a few of the benefits that mindfulness and meditation have been shown to provide those who regularly practice them, but it does well to explain the various ways in which they can help. When you think about it, it makes sense how spending some time each day to concentrate on living in the moment and controlling your thoughts can lead to benefits such as these.
PRACTICING DAILY MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION
While it might sound great in theory, a lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to being more mindful and meditating each day. But that doesn’t need to be the case! Just like any new habit, it’s best to tackle meditating one small step at a time. Here are a few easy things you can do to start incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily life.
Pay attention during routine activities. Try bringing awareness to the activities you usually do routinely, such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or driving to work. Put yourself in the moment, focusing on the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings you are experiencing.
Meditate for 2 minutes in the morning and evening. Practicing mindfulness and meditation first thing in the morning will help to start your day off on the right foot. Before you use electronics, take two minutes to be still and in the moment. And when it comes time to hit the hay, turn the lights off, put your phone away and take some time to meditate. It will help you sleep!
Space it out. Studies have shown that being mindful for a few minutes at a time several times each day is better than spending one long session. Being mindful for one or two minutes at a time is a great place to start.
Be aware of your emotions. Emotional triggers can often be the best reminders to take some time to relax. For the next few days, pay some extra attention to how you feel and take a moment to breathe when you feel yourself getting tense or stressed.
Don’t forget to breathe! Whenever you remember to, spend a few minutes focusing on your breath. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths, focusing on making them deep, steady, and slow.