During one of the darkest times in my life, I turned to meditation as a means of relaxation and I discovered so much more than that. I personally suffer from episodes of chronic depression and anxiety. These conditions impacted my life greatly when I went through a divorce and separation from my son’s father. While I struggled to stay afloat and keep my mental health in stable conditions, I began to do yoga regularly and this sparked my curiosity about meditation. I began to research its benefits online and found that there were countless issues that meditation could help with.
Meditating was confusing at first. What was I supposed to do if I couldn’t silence my mind? What did I do with all the background noise?
As I started doing it more and more often, I realized that I was toning out all my thoughts and all the background noise much easier. I also started noticing that other areas of my life were improving, including my mental health and the strength to overcome certain obstacles. This is how I confirmed that meditation really worked. It really helped me physically and mentally and here are the ways it can help you or others you know:
Like yoga, meditation gives our mind and body rest. It allows us to stop all thoughts and tone out all outside noise and activity so that we may relax completely. “The soothing power of repetition is at the heart of meditation. Focusing on the breath, ignoring thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase – a mantra – creates the biological response of relaxation, Stan Chapman, PhD, a psychologist in the Center for Pain Medicine at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, tells WebMD.” So as you can see, it has been scientifically proven that meditation has lasting effects on the body. This is evident after a meditation session. You feel more at ease and comfortable in your own skin. You can almost feel a physical weight lifted off your shoulders and the tension release from your body.
#2: Heart Health
Repeatedly, research has shown that meditation can have positive effects on heart health. It can lower high blood pressure over time. Healthline says, “In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations.”
Call it coincidence or not, but when I was meditating regularly, I happened to be in the best shape of my life!
#3: Mental Health
As a result of the relaxation that meditation produces, your mental health is also helped. People with depression or anxiety benefit greatly from meditating. Meditation aims to calm the mind and its thoughts. Thanks to this, people who meditate can sleep better and calm any anxiety they may have.
When I had any moments of anxiety or worry, I would meditate, and it would help ease the racing thoughts through my head. It helped me see clearly and find a solution to situations. In other words, meditation really helps you live in the “now.” It helps you stay present and not stress about future events.
The Bottom Line
I truly do thank meditation for the improvement in my mental health. It brought some much-needed calmness into my life and allowed me to look at life through more positive lens. I learned to let things go, to look on the positive side, to live in the “now,” and to cross bridges once I got there. I saw significant improvement in my anxiety and depression.
If you’d like to reap the rewards that meditation has to offer, you can start slow and steady. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position in a chair or on a cushion on the ground. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breathing. Breath in deeply and breathe out deeply. Feel how your chest rises and falls with every inhale and exhale.
When thoughts cross your mind, acknowledge them and then wave them away. Focus back on your breathing. Do this exercise for 5 minutes once a day to get comfortable. After you feel more confident, you can meditate for 10-15 minutes a day. Get ready to fall in love with meditation!