Top 5 Reasons to Start Meditating Today
Experts in the health, fitness, and wellness industries disagree about a lot of things. Is a Paleo diet healthier than a vegan one? Is stretching before a workout beneficial? Is it better to exercise in the morning or at night? But one thing nearly everyone concerned with well-being seems to be recommending? Meditation. Below are just a few of the many reasons why.
It’s probably not surprising that most meditators find the practice to be relaxing, but that’s not only because it’s a time out from the demands of daily life. Breathing slowly and deeply lowers the heart rate and opens up the blood vessels, which reduces both blood pressure and levels of cortisol, one of the important hormones contributing to stress.
Meditation also improves immunity, helping practitioners fight off infection and get sick less often. Reduced stress boosts immunity in its own right, but meditation also lowers inflammation and increases the number of CD-4 cells, known as the immune system’s helper cells.
Since stress can keep us up at night, it’s easy to see that a practice that reduces stress can help with sleep. Beyond that, though, meditation trains the brain to focus on the present, rather than thinking about the past or future — the very thoughts that can make sleeping difficult. It also trains the brain to more quickly reach a state of relaxation, an ability that’s helpful in falling asleep.
Training the brain to focus on the present is beneficial during waking hours, too. Greater concentration means a greater ability to focus on one thing at a time and avoid distractions — hello, productivity! It also makes it easier to give loved ones our undivided attention, something they’re sure to appreciate.
It’s harder to measure the effects of meditation on personal growth, or even to define what that means. But meditation pushes us to look inward and heightens awareness, including awareness of our own behaviours and thought patterns. And that’s the first step in changing those behaviours or patterns that aren’t beneficial.
These are just a sample of the many benefits of mediation. Regardless of what exactly you’re looking for, if you want to make a positive change in your life, you can’t go wrong by starting a meditation practice.