Benefits of Meditation in our New World

There’s no question the last few months have been difficult as we adjusted to a new way of living. Social media and news sites were flooded with statistics and numbers of COVID cases. Exposure to such information can be overwhelming which has led to an increase in depression and mental illness. I have done my best to avoid reading the latest speculation and alternative news reports which used to pop up in my social media newsfeed. The one thing that has allowed me to switch off and refocus is dedication to my meditation practice each day.

There is a lot of scientific evidence around to support meditation. Medicine is now realising that regular meditation practice helps to develop clear thoughts and improve our happiness. Buddhist meditation, for example, teaches us to let go of the past and focus on the present moment. Meditation is about learning to be in the here and now and appreciate present life.

Even just ten minutes a day can improve your wellbeing and allow you a sense of inner peace while bringing you the following benefits:

Improved emotional health and well-being

When we meditate a sense of awareness develops. We become aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Meditation helps us to understand how those feelings translate into actions. Whenever you feel negative thoughts, meditation can help promote positive thoughts. Positive words or mantras repeated during your meditation practice can improve your emotional wellbeing.

Recognise and Reduce Stressors

When you encounter a situation which puts you in danger or under stress, your autonomous nervous systems activates to prepare you for fight or flight mode. The hormone cortisol is released into your body to help you make the decision to stay and face the threat or escape it. Regular meditation can build your resilience and lower the cortisol levels in your body to bring about a relaxation response. The more frequently you meditate, the better your mind will become at recognising a stress response.

Improved concentration and cognitive ability

As you meditate, your mind and body relax into a state of flow. Your mind brings you into the present moment as you focus on your breath. Everything becomes easier and you settle into a state of flow. Studies show that even short periods of meditation can improve ones focus, attention and concentration. When your mind is in a relaxed state of flow, your decision making and problem solving abilities are enhanced.

Builds Empathy and Kindness

When you practice loving kindness meditation, the brain feeds off the positive connection to empathy and kindness. This state of flow enhances our social ability and allows us to become more empathetic and understanding to others.

A simple meditation

Find a comfortable place and sit comfortably with a straight back. Begin by taking a few long, deep breaths. Breathe in deeply then breathe out slowly. Close you eyes and continue to breathe, letting your breath fall into a natural rhythm. Continue to focus on your breath and how it feels as it flows in and out of your body. Your mind will wander, this is completely normal. Simply acknowledge whatever thoughts have popped into your mind and watch them float away like a cloud. Return your attention to the natural rhythm of your breath.

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