Meditation Can Calm the Nerves and Reduce Stress
Meditation is a great way to calm the nervous system and restore peace. Many of us could use some time away from our smartphones and the stresses of everyday life. With practice and guided meditation, you can learn how to use diaphragmatic breathing and other techniques to reduce anxiety, depression, and other issues that can cause strain on the heart and body. After all, mental health is equally important to physical health. Plus, meditation can prove to be a great tool that can be incorporated on a daily or weekly basis.
How did Meditation Get Its Start?
Meditation dates back to ancient times, with roots in India and practiced as early as 3000 BCE. Eventually, it peaked up steam and spread to the West, inspiring individuals to look into the beneficial health and wellness practice, along with yoga.
According to TIME Magazine, it wasn’t until the 1960s, when experts started taking a closer look at the potential health benefits of meditation. Eventually, transcendental meditation—a technique that involves chanting mantras effortlessly—went mainstream.
Anyone can meditate, no matter what age you are. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to completely rid the mind of thoughts to successfully meditate. Thoughts will come and go, but the important part is to learn how to let these thoughts flow like water. An intention is simply a wish or topic of focus that you’d like to explore during your meditation. If your intention is abundance, you can envision an endless stream of opportunities or simply focus more on receiving this abundance. Sometimes, it may even help to share this intention with others or write it down on a piece of paper before meditating. Even staring at the mirror and reciting these powerful intentions or affirmations can help.
Some common examples of intentions used in meditation can be affirmations such as “I am love,” or “I forgive and release anything that is out of my control.” You can also use a prayer or chant a mantra during your meditation silently. Or, if you prefer, you can also recite out loud while meditating.
Mental Health Benefits of Meditation
Experts agree that there are several health benefits associated with meditation. Even if you have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, meditating daily can be beneficial for setting the mood for the rest of the day. It can also dramatically decrease feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.
According to data from the National Health Interview Survey in 2017, the number of U.S. adults practicing yoga increased from 9.5% to 14.3% in 2021. Additionally, the number of U.S. adults who reported practicing meditation increased from 4.1% in 2012, compared to 14.2% in 2021.
Both yoga and meditation practices among children have also slightly increased, with more schools incorporating mindfulness and meditative practices.
Meditation offers the following health benefits:
- Reduced stress
- Better anxiety management
- Emotional wellness and self-love
- Better focus and clarity
- Empathy and compassion
- Enhanced sleep
- Pain and blood pressure management
Overall, meditation is a great practice to consider for your daily lifestyle. Even if you can’t meditate every day, just doing it for a few minutes every other day can work wonders for your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
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