You may have turned up your nose at meditation, but aside from its association with various types of exotic religions, meditation does actually have some great health benefits. When you meditate, what you’re doing is forcing your brain to focus on one thing. If you find yourself with a million thoughts flying around, but aren’t able to catch one, meditation is a great way to calm everything down.
Breathe! Just… Breathe…
The easiest way to start meditating is by sitting still and focusing on your breathing. Some people like to start out in a quiet room, but the point of meditation is to train your brain to tune out all the outside noises. So, if you don’t have a quiet room available to use, consider this like jumping into the deep end. Focus on drawing your breath into your belly via your diaphragm and relax your shoulders. This method of breathing has 2 benefits. First, it can help relax tense back and shoulder muscles. Second, it gives your brain something to focus on. You’ll notice that after a few minutes of this breathing exercise, you stop hearing the ruckus around you.
Managing Anxiety, Not Masking It
For people with anxiety, meditation is a great way to find relief. Unlike a pill, meditation forces you to confront the thing that causes your anxiety. It allows your brain to manage the anxiety until whatever is worrying you can exist in your mind without causing you stress. By not allowing your brain to obsess over a problem and run away with worst-case scenarios, meditating turns your brain to breathing techniques. When you stop fighting the anxious thoughts, the obsessive loop is broken and the anxiety disappears.
Other health benefits of meditation are a result of relaxation and getting rid of anxiety. Stress levels will drop, which in turn decreases cortisol levels. This stress hormone can weaken your immune system, so having less of it means you won’t get sick as easily. Another great side effect of relaxation is lowered heart rate and better circulation.
Once you get used to the process of meditating and getting your thoughts in order, try it out during a more stressful situation. You’ll find that you’re able to calm yourself faster and be able to logically think about a solution instead of lashing out with emotions. And that is the goal of meditation. It doesn’t solve your problems, it frees up your mind by giving you the tools to solve your problems.