Meditation is taking the wellness scene by storm, even though it is something that has been around for thousands of years, the majority of people in the western world have only just begun to take it seriously. I myself aim to meditate every morning for 11 minutes, and if I can get another meditation in that day then that’s amazing. Here are five reasons why you need to get on that practice ASAP:
1. Reduces Stress
I am pretty certain that 99% of people come to meditation (in London anyway) because their life is stressful. And meditation will help you with that for sure! Meditation triggers the release of endorphins, which reduce stress in the body. Meditation also triggers out parasympathetic nervous system, which is our ‘rest and digest’ which allows us to relax, thereby reducing the levels or stress and the levels of cortisol in our bodies.
2. Helps You Focus
Studies show that people who meditate are better able to remain focused on the task at hand as opposed to getting distracted either by things going on or by random thoughts that pop into your head, here’s one study if you want to read about it! When you hit that 3pm slump at work, instead of reaching for a coffee, why not head off to a quiet spot and meditate for five mins, see what happens!
3. Improves Sleep
I’ve already mentioned that meditation triggers that relax and digest response, as opposed to your fight or flight response (a sudden release of adrenaline and cortisol that’s released into the body, previously to run away from lions, now to just deal with everyday life, funny but it’s not funny…) so just as meditation helps you to reduce stress in this way, it also enables the body to enter into a deeper sleep more easily. It also allows you to change the thought patterns your mind goes through, and enables you to let thoughts move on by, instead of lingering on them, and therefore clear some headspace to allow ourselves to enter into a calm and relaxing sleeping state.
4. Helps Digestion
This is something I learnt recently from an absolute gem named Kate Lister, is that researchers are looking into the connection between meditation and two gastrointestinal ailments, IBS and IBD. The link between the mind and gut is already something that has been explored, and I will tell you that since leaving my old job, and taking a huge stress out of my life, my IBS has pretty much disappeared within 6 months, that’s pretty amazing! Scientists are now going so far as to say that the gut is no longer just our ‘second brain’ but that our brain (original pink thing) and our gut, actually join together and make up one working organism, how cool is that?! As well as the obvious role it plays, our stomachs also have a brain-like neural network, which plays an essential role in keeping us healthy, as just as meditation changes our brain’s neural pathways and reduces stress, it therefore makes logical sense that it does the same for our gut. And as I have already said, if meditation reduces stress, and stress is one of the main triggers for IBS/IBD, then again, it makes sense that it will help these two really shitty (LOL) issues.
5. Make You Happier
Less stress? Sleeping better? IBS taken a hike? Well hot damn you’re going to feel happier! Not only that but those endorphins being released are going to make you feel damn good too! So all in all meditation is an amazing practice, and yes, sometimes it’s bloody hard and your ten minutes feels like hell on earth but you KNOW that it’s good for you, so give it a try!