I have meditated on and off over the last 20 years, more “on” in recent years. Apart from developing a nice sense of space between “me” and my busy thoughts, my overall wellbeing is supported. So, what are the benefits of meditation?
Shavasana isn’t enough
I started simply with “following the breath” and becoming familiar with the body offered by Shavasana at the end of my yoga practice. Many of the people I see in clinic tell me their meditation practice consists of Shavasana at the end of their Yoga class. That’s a great start! For me, though, it wasn’t enough. My personal practice expanded to include guided visualisation and journey meditation. In the last couple of years I’ve included Transcendental Meditation (TM) as my meditation mainstay.
My experience with meditation shows me that when I meditate regularly, I feel less stressed and less reactive. I am more connected with the joyful elements of my life. I am also more able to respond to situations in a way I choose, rather than mindlessly reacting.
Daily practice has me feeling more positive, energised, clear and focused. I sleep better and navigate the shifts and sways of menopause more easily. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life?
Benefits of meditation
Over and above this, research shows that meditation has specific, measurable positive effects in the body. These include:
- Reducing stress levels1
- Improving immune system function2, 3
- Improving recovery from exercise
- Lowering blood pressure4, 5
- Rebalancing the endocrine (hormone) system6, 7
- Improving sleep8
- Slowing the ageing process9, 10
- Affecting gene expression.11
Meditation also benefits mind and emotions by:
- Improving focussed thinking and concentration12, 13
- Improving mood14
- Reducing feelings of depression and anxiety15, 16
- Increasing feelings of connection and compassion for the people around you.17
Meditation is a pathway for personal growth, providing avenues for:
- Developing an understanding of consciousness
- Developing an awareness of a higher or greater consciousness
- An integral part of the pathway to enlightenment.
Whether you are on a pathway to enlightenment or not, the benefits of meditation for improving your health and mental outlook are hard to ignore. If you just generally want to feel better, support your body’s natural healing processes and stave off premature ageing, pull up a seat, close your eyes and teach yourself the art of stillness.
Looking for some easy guided visualisations to start with? Check out my playlist on YouTube.