Meditation and Your Mental Health: What to Know
Mental health is sadly a very underrated element of health that people consider. We’re very wrapped up in heart disease, stroke, as well as diabetes, and doing all we can to prevent these, on a regular basis.
But when it comes to mental health, many of us turn a blind eye. Sadly, mental health can really influence many people over time - some to an extent they can’t function in day to day life.
While in some cases proper medical intervention will be key, in other cases natural treatments can go a long way towards improving your well-being.
One natural treatment to consider is meditation. Not only is this a natural treatment but it can be a preventative one as well.
There’s this underlying belief that you need some sort of special training or skill to meditate and that just isn't the case at all. Here’s how meditation can help and how you can get started, easily, today.
How Meditation Helps Your Mental Health
There are a few ways that meditation can help give your mental health a boost.
Stress is something that we all experience on a day to day basis, some more than others. However you slice it though, too much stress in your life is a certain way to cause health problems.
Meditation can help dramatically reduce stress, allowing you to feel calmer, more collected, and in control. This can have deep-rooted health benefits beyond just psychological health and can lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and combat diabetes as well.
Stress is very often at the heart of so many different diseases and conditions so meditation will certainly pay off in this regard.
If you’ve been finding that you’re struggling to remember things lately, meditation may help you with that as well. Often we forget things because we’re failing to be truly present in the moment and that’s something that meditation focuses on.
When you practice meditation regularly, you’ll become more experienced with being present in the moment. The more present in the moment you are, the better you’ll be at remembering things that take place - including where you put your keys.
While forgetting a few things isn’t going to have too great of a negative consequence on your health, if it’s happening repeatedly, it can cause you to get down on yourself. And, depending on what you are forgetting, it may also decrease your overall quality of life.
Finally, doing meditation is also great for boosting your overall feelings of resilience. The greater the resilience you have, the more you’ll withstand challenging times in your life. This can help you be happier overall, improving your mental health.
Those who have poor resilience are more prone to experiencing depression or even bipolar disorder, so meditation can help you prevent this.
While many people believe that we are born with our overall level of resilience, that’s not true. Resilience is a skill that can be learned with the right techniques and enough practice and desire to push yourself to improve it.
Hopefully, you can now see why investing some time in doing meditation is a good idea. How do you get going?
How to Begin a Meditation Practice
Let’s walk you through a quick and easy five-step plan to become a pro in no time. Remember to have patience with yourself as it is a new skill you are learning and you probably won’t be perfect right away. That’s okay - if the intention is there and you commit to doing it, you’ll be on your way to seeing results.
Step 1. Find a quiet place to sit for 5-10 minutes. Ideally, you should do this at a time of day when you don’t feel rushed or hurried. For instance, doing it when you’re already running late to get to work in the morning is not wise. Save it for when you’re home that evening.
Step 2: Sit down in a crossed-legged position, arms on your knees or by your sides (wherever comfortable), and back upright with the chest open and shoulders pressed back. This will help you open your chest up to make breathing easier.
Step 3: Begin deeply breathing in and out, in and out. As you do, focus on the lungs expanding with air and then releasing this air on the exhale. Do this for a minute or so.
Step 4. Now shift your focus to your surroundings. Feel the weight of your body pressing into the floor. Notice any sounds that may be happening around you. Take note of any feeling of tightness in the body you might be experiencing.
Step 5: Come back to the breath and continue focusing on it. If you notice your mind wander, know that that is okay, but bring it back to the breath once again. Keep this up for the remainder of the time you are going to meditate.
Keep in mind that in the beginning, you might find your mind wandering quite extensively. This is normal and natural. It’s just a sign that you need to get meditation into your life. The more you work on the meditation, the easier it should become and soon you’ll have no problem holding that gaze for an extended period.
So there you have the steps to take to get started with meditation. Commit to doing it daily. You don’t even have to do it for 5-10 minutes if you really don’t have the time. While it’s good to do it for that length of time most days, if you can only manage 1-2 minutes, so be it. It’s better to get a little in each day than to let it slip because, before you know it, you’ll have given up on meditation entirely.