Why Meditation Should Be a Part of Your Daily Routine!
Breathing is really quite important. It keeps us alive, but it also changes when we are happy, excited, sad or angry. So, when you think about it, surely practicing breathing is really quite important too?
Meditation is a mind and body practice used for thousands of years to improve calmness, relaxation, and achieve better psychological balance and overall health and well-being. It uses breathing as an anchor to bring us to the present, the aim to reduce the mind wandering without judgment of it doing so.
Many benefits of meditation are commonly known, but as more and more research is carried out we are beginning to uncover its deeper impact and just how long lasting these benefits are.
There are many ways to meditate, including silent meditation, walking mindfulness, gratitude or even visualisation meditation to name a few. Mindfulness meditation is a practice which teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity and calm both your mind and body (view Verywell Mind).
As a Confidence Coach I use these benefits with my clients to tackle both the short- and longer-term issues. Short term uses, for example, include meditative breathing before a big event to calm the body. Longer term, some meditation supports better management of stress. Here are three major impacts meditation can have on your quality of life, and how you can implement it into your day-to-day.
The Holy Grail - sleep. There are a few reasons we don't sleep well; sometimes the mind decides just as you settle into bed, at this moment, it is time to start whirring. Considering every outcome possible for every event coming up, going over old conversations, emotions and opinions about the day you have just had.
Listening to guided meditation before bed can improve the quality of your sleep. By talking you through scanning your body and paying attention to your breath, guided meditation aims to divert your focus away from the mind chatter and towards your body instead.
Another common theme of a ‘bad night’s sleep’ is waking up throughout the night. To combat this, meditation can improve control of the autonomic nervous system, which reduces how easily you're awakened. (View Healthline ) It may also increase the hormones related to sleep (melatonin and serotonin).
Reduces depression and anxiety
Meditation can have both short- and long-term impacts on depression and anxiety. Evidence has been found that it can have longer term effects after just two months of practice, even when you're not practicing it. A study by John Hopkins University found general meditation programmes helped ease psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain-related stress. Mindfulness meditation is generally agreed to be most beneficial for anxiety and social anxiety and their symptoms.
Concentration and attention
Do you often catch yourself musing about something and think, how did I get here? Daydreaming, although lovely, can inhibit our productivity at times. You might have noticed that you've had to re-read a sentence or two in this blog because you've wandered off into thought. If you're anything like me this is the case constantly. Thinking about something someone said, an event coming up or, like me, what you'll be eating for your next meal.
Meditation is the practice of being in the present. This may seem an easy task but in reality it needs a lot of concentration. Countless research has shown how meditative practices help in the long-term to reduce ‘mind-wandering’.
After only a couple of weeks of meditation training, your focus and memory can be improved. More specifically mindfulness meditation has been shown to enhance concentration in other tasks, as it helps to calm those racing thoughts and train the brain to focus.
Now you know just a handful of the wonderful benefits of meditation, the next step is working out how to incorporate it into your day or week. There is no one-size-fits-all approach I can share so I invite you to write these questions down and answer them for yourself so you can incorporate meditation into your personal schedule.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you want to start your practice:
- How many times are you going to meditate a week?
- How long are you going to commit to doing each time?
- How are you going to meditate (mindful walks, YouTube video, insight timer app. guided or non-guided…)
If you are looking to start meditating, there are a whole host of apps and YouTube videos you can listen to. My favourite app is insight timer, I do also use Spotify and YouTube. I chose the meditation I feel like doing in that moment, I use it to go to sleep myself most nights, I sometimes do morning meditations and I just decide based on my routine. I find it a much better 10 minutes than scrolling Instagram! Something is better than nothing and the times range from 5 minutes to several hours.
Meet the Author
She works with women who are stuck in their career, settling in their job to believe in their ability and feel fulfilled confident and happy.
Sarah works with women 1:1 on a 3-month programme to develop unstoppable confidence, she does this through coaching and training women to overcome unhelpful thought process and reduce overwhelm. Meditation is one of the parts of this programme.