Contradictory to popular belief not all meditation is sitting cross legged with your eyes closed while chanting in an incense filled room with a bunch of hippies,. Meditation can come in so many different forms and settings.
It can be as simple as walking and taking in your surroundings, a shower meditation is a great way to slough away negativity and feel refreshed or you can by all means try the traditional meditation techniques. I enjoy guided meditations and sounds of rain to go to sleep.
You can meditate at any time of the day, find a quiet spot with no distractions and give it a try!
In this blog i will explore the many types of meditation there are and the benefits and simplicity of meditation in every day life.
20 Scientific benefits of meditation
Meditation can improve your health
- Reduces inflammation: Meditation has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of inflammation that is caused by stressful situations.
- Minimises pain: A four day mindfulness course dramatically reduces both the unpleasantness and intensity of pain.
- Boosts your immune system: After an 8 week program of mindfulness meditation, patients were found to have an improved immune response to the influenza vaccine.
- Lowers your blood pressure: Research has show that mindfulness-based therapy can reduce elevated blood pressure by as much as some prescription drugs.
- Reduces your cortisol level: In a study of mindfulness meditation, a 4 day program was shown to reduce blood cortisol levels by around 20%.
- Lowers your oxygen consumption: Calming meditation has been shown to reduce oxygen consumption by almost 20%, in fact it had a greater effect than sleep.
Meditation can boost your productivity
- Improved multitasking: An 8 week study found that a group practising meditation displayed better memory and job performance than a group that didn’t.
- Improves your memory: Working memory was significantly improved by a short course in mindfulness meditation.
- Makes you more attentive: Meditation actually thickens an area of the cerebral cortex which is associated with attentiveness.
- Boosts your creativity: A body of research suggests that mindfulness meditation can improve your creativity and enhance problem-solving skills.
- Lengthens your attention span: Research shows that only 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention.
- Improves sleep quality: A study on older adults with mild sleep disturbances found that mindfulness meditation resulted in better quality sleep.
Meditation can make you happier
- Reduces stress: A Harvard study found that meditation causes positive structural changes in the brain relating to sensory, cognitive and emotional processing.
- Helps with depression: Researches at Johns Hopkins study found daily meditation to be as effective as antidepressants in reducing depression symptoms.
- Decreases feelings of loneliness: An 8 week mindfulness program was shown to reduce loneliness in the elderly. It lowered the health concerns associated with loneliness too.
- Makes you feel more positive: Meditation has been shown to lead to an increase in daily experiences of positive emotion.
Meditation can improve your social life
- Makes you a more compassionate person: In one study, the amount of meditation practised was directly proportional to the amount of compassion that a participant displayed.
- Helps to regulate your emotions: Meditation has been linked to an increased volume in a part of the brain that promotes emotional regulation and response control.
- Increases social connection: Even a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation can increase feelings of social connection an positivity toward strangers.
- Lowers anxiety: Meditation training has been shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders and panic disorders.
Meditation allows people to gain new perspective on stressful situations, focus on the present, increase self awareness, build new skills to manage stress and reduces negative emotions. How many of us can do with that in our lives right?
Meditation typically includes the following elements: Breathing, a specific object (focal point) or an image and a mantra.
Use your breathing to relax you, in through your nose and out through your mouth, use slow, deep and even breaths. This will help to reduce the use of the shoulders and neck and upper chest muscles.
Sit in a comfortable position and made sure you are warm, you can be lying down, sitting or even walking.
You also want a quiet setting, no phones (i know, i know) TV or any distractions.
Start with a simple guided meditation (there are many on YouTube, Deepak Chopra is a personal favourite) then once you are comfortable with that you can move onto more intense meditations.
Don’t over complicate things, you want to be relaxed, revived and have a new sense of energy once you finish your meditations.
I hope you enjoyed this and would love your feedback, thanks for reading, Natalie
Please see below for a link to one of my favourite morning meditations: