Mindfulness meditation might bring to mind images crystal balls and burning incense, but did you know there’s legit science backing up the practice? Over the past few decades, countless studies have shown physical and mental benefits to developing a regular mindfulness meditation practice.
Here’s 11 reasons why should break out your meditation pillow today:
- It lowers stress. Regular mindfulness meditation has been shown to lower stress hormones, like cortisol. By teaching your brain to focus on the present moment, rather than drifting into worries about the future, meditation is a useful treatment for anxiety.
- Boosts the immune system. A meditation a day keeps the doctor away? Sure looks like it! Studies have shown meditation can improve immune functioning through multiple mechanisms.
- Better sleep. Catch more quality zzz’s with meditation. One study found it was more effective than generally recommended sleep hygiene habits in improving quality and quantity of sleep.
- Improved digestion. Because of the constant back and forth communication between the gut and the brain, scientists often refer to the gut as the second brain. Symptoms of IBS can be reduced by practicing mindfulness, and meditations specifically targeting the gut can be more effective than dietary changes!
- Lowers blood pressure. With stress reducing benefits, it makes sense that meditation would help lower blood pressure too!
- Emotional and binge eating. If you struggle with emotional or binge eating, mindfulness meditation can help. By fostering greater awareness of the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that trigger binges or emotional eating, it can give you space to do something other than eating that actually deals with the root cause.
- Food tastes better. Get more satisfaction from your food by applying lessons from mindfulness meditation to eating. By slowing down and paying attention to your food, you’ll notice the subtle flavors in the foods you eat. You may even find yourself more satisfied with eating less.
- Better relationships. Training the brain to stay in the moment helps you become a better listener, which helps improve relationships and communication, and fosters a deeper sense of connection.
- Lowers inflammation. Regular mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce markers of inflammation, which has been linked to chronic disease.
- Cognitive health. Meditation has many beneficial effects on the brain, which seem to improve memory and alertness.
- Makes you a better person. Regular meditation practice has been associated with treating others with more empathy and compassion. More meditation = happier world?
Today, mindfulness meditation has never been easier. There are guided meditation apps you can download to your cell phone, and thousands of easily available meditations you can find on YouTube. Or, just find a comfortable position on a yoga mat or chair, slow down, and just focus on your breath.
Have you tried mindfulness meditation? Share your comments below!
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