What Might Happen When You Start Meditating Every Day
Thought about adding meditation to your daily routine? Wellness counsellor Deepak Kashyap reveals eight health benefits you might experience from practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis.
The benefits of meditation on a regular basis
In a world that bombards us with information, it’s hard to tell what deserves our attention—and even harder to give our undivided attention when it’s required. One of the great benefits of meditation is that it can serve as an effective tool in eliminating distractions, allowing us to stay focused on what matters—whether that’s reading the next page of a novel, or completing a presentation for work. A specific branch of mindfulness meditation called Focused Attention Meditation (FAM) can be particularly helpful in developing your powers of concentration.
You might stress less
A lot of people turn to daily meditation simply because they want to breathe a bit easier—and there’s plenty of scientific evidence to back them up. Spending as little as 10 minutes a day meditating—sitting comfortably, concentrating on your breathing and focusing on being “present”—has the potential to significantly reduce stress.
Check out more expert stress management tips.
You might love yourself more
How many of us can look at our reflection in the mirror and truly say, “I love myself”? Self-acceptance is hard to develop, especially since it’s human nature to regret the decisions we’ve made (or didn’t make!), and compare ourselves to the skinnier, richer and more popular people on our Instagram and Facebook feeds. After regularly practicing mindfulness meditation, you may find yourself acknowledging your perceived shortcomings without judging yourself too harshly. Self-acceptance is about recognizing that you’re a work in progress—and there’s no such thing as perfection.
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It may help you bounce back from depression
If you struggle with depression, you may find mindfulness meditation particularly helpful. In fact, several studies have shown that mindfulness-based interventions can reduce the risk of a depressive relapse for people with a history of recurrent depression.
Find out 12 ways you can help someone with depression.
Meditation can help alleviate anxiety
The act of meditation targets the cycle of incessant worrying and negative rumination that’s at the heart of stress and anxiety—to the point where clinical psychologists are increasingly opting for mindfulness-based therapy to treat anxiety and mood disorders.
The ability to focus on the present—often achieved in meditation through controlled breathing—can provide a welcome sense of relief if you’re constantly dreading what the future might hold.
Learn to spot the silent signs of high-functioning anxiety.
It can complement the treatment of substance abuse
If you’re struggling with substance abuse—whether it’s drinking or drugs—there’s no substitute for medical care, and that starts with a discussion with your family doctor. That said, meditation has been shown to be an effective complement to medical treatments for substance abuse, particularly in terms of managing cravings and addictive impulses. In fact, mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly incorporated into medically-supervised programs for substance abuse.
Here’s expert advice on how to speak openly with your doctor.
You might build a healthier relationship with food
You don’t need to be diagnosed with a full-blown eating disorder to have a disordered relationship with food. With three out of five Canadians now considered overweight or obese, it’s quite clear that our patterns of eating (not to mention what we’re eating) are putting our health at risk. A number of studies have shown that mindfulness-based interventions—think mindful eating techniques—can be helpful in addressing disordered eating habits.
Learn how to recognize the signs of binge-eating disorder.
You might sleep better
As a mindfulness coach, I’m very aware of the day-to-day anxieties and worries that can interfere with a good night’s sleep. One of the most effective ways of easing ourselves out of those stresses is through daily meditation. Below, I’ve put together a step-by-step audio that will guide you through a 15-minute meditation session with a built-in progressive muscle relaxation technique, with the goal of helping you fall asleep fast. If this is indeed your first attempt at meditation, you’ll likely find the meditation interrupted by thoughts flashing through your mind. It’s important for you to know that this isn’t a failure on your part, and that you aren’t doing anything wrong. Thinking is just what the brain does, as naturally as lungs take in air. The point is to be non-judgmental yet aware of your thoughts, bodily experiences and breath, moment by moment.
Find out more daily habits for a better night’s sleep.
You might become more compassionate
Thanks to the frantic pace of our lives, there seems to be precious little time for compassion. Sadly, that means that we’re often easily frustrated and annoyed not only by others, but by ourselves. By practicing mindful meditation on a regular basis, you may find your potential for compassion slowly building. Over time, compassion may become a habitual attitude—and a powerful motivational force.
Now that you know the benefits of meditation, find out what could happen when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.