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Top Health Benefits of Meditation and Tips to Help You Get Started

“I don’t have time,” “I can’t focus,” “It’s boring,” are just a few reasons why people don’t meditate. But, there’s a reason meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It benefits you physically, mentally and emotionally.

Meditation stimulates certain parts of the brain and creates an ideal environment for your body to function at its best. Some parts of the brain influenced by this mind-body training include areas that control:

  • Immune system functioning
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Pain perception and inflammation
  • Blood pressure and circulation
  • Attention, focus and memory
  • Self-control and awareness

Benefits of Meditation

  • Boost immune system functioning. Engaging in meditation stimulates immune system regions in the brain and lowers cortisol levels (stress). The result?  Decreased stressed related immune responses + increased antibodies and immune cells.
  • Less anxiety and stress. Meditation weakens the neural connections between worries/fears and the part of our brain that processes information relative to ourselves and external environment. It also strengthens the connection between reasoning and that same information processing center. Having reasoning and a relaxed cognitive environment leads to increased dopamine which, means a better mood, better sleep and a better sex life.
  • Pain and inflammation. Since stress is a trigger for inflammation, less cortisol allows the brain to manage stress better resulting in reduced inflammation. Mindful meditation helps you control your reaction to pain – acting like a volume control, allowing you to turn it down.
  • Blood pressure and circulation. When you are anxiety provoked and stressed out, your heart pumps faster to get oxygen to all your organs. Meditation provides a calm environment to slow down your breathing and heart rate, increasing circulation and lowering blood pressure.
  • Attention, focus and memory. Meditation is known to increase the size of blood vessels and blood flow in the gray matter of our brains. Included in the gray matter that thickens is the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as memory, attention, awareness and self-control.

Don’t know exactly where to begin? Here are some quick tips to get you started on your meditation journey.

  1. Every person is unique. Find your time, place and style. Finding the perfect time that works for you will allow you to fully commit and concentrate. Until you master meditation, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and ideally, a comfortable position where you can lengthen the spine to increase circulation and alertness. There are different types of meditation depending on your goal – metta (loving-kindness), mindfulness, progressive relaxation (body scan), yoga, zen and transcendental. Find one that works for you.
  2. Start small. If 30 minutes is overwhelming, start with a duration that suits you – maybe 5 or 10 minutes.
  3. Be present. Focus on your breath, your body and your immediate surroundings, keeping yourself as focused as possible. Take a mental inventory of your body, noticing how each part feels from your toes to your head. If your mind starts to wander, refocus on your breathing and resume.
  4. Have an open mind. There is no right or wrong way to meditate – each person’s meditation experience is unique to them. Try not to hold expectations when approaching meditation.
  5. Practice. Most likely, you won’t master it on the first try but, practice makes perfect. Set aside some me time each day to meditate. You are training your brain to focus and let go, like updating your mental hardware. The more you do it, the better you will be and the more benefits you will experience.

If you need a little help getting into the right frame of mind, check out some of these meditation-inducing products.


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