Four Benefits of Starting a Daily Meditation Routine Today
1. Reduce levels of Anxiety
Studies have shown that meditation produces significant reductions in anxiety for adults and children. Dr. Madhav Goyal of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reviewed 47 studies on meditation.
While the effects were modest, Dr. Goyal felt confident in stating that there were positive effects on anxiety, depression, and pain across multiple studies.
Furthermore, he was surprised to discover many of these studies involved as little as 2.5 hours of meditation per week and that one did not need to be an expert on technique or devote extensive amounts of time to the practice (Source).
2. Improve Your Focus and Attention
Improved focus and attention have an established correlation with an increased ability to work efficiently, stronger will power, and improved problem solving.
Also, multiple studies have shown that a regular daily meditation routine correlates to improved ability to focus, as well as improved attention span. A recent review has suggested that mediation may even help those with intellectual disabilities or autism (Source).
3. Reduce Brain Aging
The process of aging is normally accompanied by the loss of brain substance. However, a recent study showed that at age 50, the brains of meditators were measured to be younger by an average of 7.5 years than non-meditators.
The researchers concluded that consistent meditation seemed to protect against age-related atrophy and was beneficial for brain preservation (Source).
4. Improve Your Heart Health
Meditation is widely accepted as lowering blood pressure, anxiety, and other known risk factors associated with heart disease.
In addition, a 2012 study found that African-Americans with heart disease who regularly meditated were 48% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die compared to African-Americans with heart disease who merely attended a health education class over more than 5 years (Source).
Five Quick Tips to Start Meditating Today
- Legs/Feet – If you choose to use a chair, keep your feet flat, if you choose to use a chair, keep your feet flat. If you’re sitting cross-legged on a cushion, keep your knees below your hips (use a cushion to ensure your hips are high enough).
- Arms/Hands – Relax your shoulders and arms. Rest your hands on your thighs or place one hand on the other in your lap.
- Time – The key to effective meditation is consistency, not length. Try to find a routine you can repeat every day. 5 minutes daily is better than a few scattered 30-minute sessions.
- Eyes – If you choose to close your eyes, you will make the experience more body-based. Choosing to keep them open will help anchor you to the space around you.
- Breath – Do not try to “clear your mind.” Simply appreciate the sensation of your breath. If your mind wanders, recognize that you’re thinking and return to appreciating the sensation of your breathing.