The Benefits of Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

Thu 20 May

Thought about starting meditation but wondering whether it's right for you? Our counsellor Laura Griffiths explores the main ways meditation can benefit your mind and body.
Meditation enables us to be more aware of what is going on in our minds. It helps us prune and hone our thoughts in order to focus on what’s useful and important, and "unhook" ourselves from less helpful thoughts which might be hindering us. Through meditation we can separate the thoughts and emotions running through our heads.

Below are some practical benefits that studies have shown can come as a result of meditating regularly:
  • Increases Self-Awareness. Psychologists have noted that patients who practice meditation develop greater awareness of their actions and emotions.
  • Increases Focus and Discipline. Regular practice of meditation helps us focus on specific tasks and makes us less likely to deviate from those tasks.
  • Reduces Stress and Anxiety. Mindfulness techniques including meditation have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and have long been prescribed to patients who suffer anxiety disorders and panic attacks as a way to calm their nerves with relatively good success rates. Meditation increases our ability to ‘self soothe’.
  • Makes you Physically Healthier. Research seems to show that people who meditate, on average, sleep better, have lower heart rates, have lower blood pressure, and become poorly less often. With stress levels coming down, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced, positively impacting sleep, concentration and reducing ‘cloudy thinking'.
  • Increases Emotional Stability. For people who are prone to outbursts of anger or sadness, meditation helps them regulate and control their emotions, as you are regularly ‘checking in’ with yourself, and are therefore more aware of emotions before they ‘bubble over'.
  • Gets You In Touch With Your Intuition. Often referred to as your 'gut reaction', your 'instinct', or your 'intuition', meditating gets you in touch with your unconscious decision-making processes, thereby reducing your need for external validation. This in turn helps to improve your sense of self.
  • Can generate kindness. Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions towards yourself as well as others. A type of meditation known as a ‘loving kindness meditation’ begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings towards yourself. With practice, people learn to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally, to friends and family, and over time, to enemies.
  • It is a handy tool to take anywhere for an immediate calming effect, without needing specialist equipment.
These benefits come with regular practice – although this doesn’t have to be every single day  so the biggest challenge is to prioritise meditation as an important part of your self care, in order to start experiencing the benefits.
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