Taking a few minutes to focus your mind each day can reduce stress, pain, depression, and more according to a Harvard Health Article.
Meditation is becoming a bit of a trendy activity, as the health industry skyrockets, but despite this, the practice of meditation is 1000s of years old.
And there is a good reason why...
A research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2014 found meditation helpful for relieving stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. Meditation was about as effective as an antidepressant.
A lot of the effects of meditation are intangible, but we know they exist; just like we know stress and its effects exist, even though we can’t touch or see it, we can feel its effects on our body and mind.
In the short term, stress quickens your heart rate and breathing and increases your blood pressure. When you're constantly under stress, your adrenal glands overproduce the hormone cortisol. Overexposure to this hormone can affect the function of your brain, immune system, and other organs. Chronic stress can contribute to headaches, anxiety, depression, heart disease, and sadly, even premature death.
Though you may not be able to eradicate the roots of stress, you can minimise its effects on your body. One of the easiest and most achievable stress-relieving techniques is meditation, in which you focus your attention inward to induce a state of deep relaxation.
Meditation is thought to work via its effects on the sympathetic nervous system, decreasing your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure counteracting the effects of stress. Meditating also has a spiritual purpose.
"True, it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self," says Burke Lennihan, a registered nurse who teaches meditation at the Harvard University Center for Wellness.
Lennihan suggests "Meditating with a group of people is a much more powerful experience, and having a teacher talk you through the technique will make it much easier at first".
Within just a week or two of regular meditation, you should see a noticeable change in your mood and stress level.
"People will start to feel some inner peace and inner poise, even in the midst of their busy lives," says Lennihan.