The importance of physical and mental health and wellness is usually taught at a very young age. However, the ideals of health and wellness are different for everyone, and it is often difficult for people to choose the correct path for them. Many studies show that the use of mindfulness, specifically meditation, can benefit your overall well-being. Meditation has been used for thousands of years and is considered to be a complete mind-body therapy. Recent research has found that the use of meditation among adults is on the rise, growing from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017. But many still do not understand how meditation can be beneficial for them. Expanding your knowledge of mindfulness and meditation can be very valuable for your overall health.

Types of Meditation and Starting Your Practice

Before you can determine the correct type of meditation for you, it is important to understand the overarching idea of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your full attention on the present and maintaining only that specific focus throughout the entirety of the practice. Meditation is an excellent method of practicing mindfulness, but meditation types can vary. Throughout a beginner meditation sequence, one might heavily focus on breath while remaining completely relaxed, all while keeping positive thoughts in and breathing negative thoughts out. During a more advanced style of meditation, such as zazen, one would not only be focusing on their breath but also sitting in certain postures, depending on their flexibility, and engaging their entire body during the practice.

Once you have determined the style of meditation that suits your needs, you then need to focus on how you can start your practice in an efficient way. Although it may seem as easy as sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, closing your eyes, and breathing, that may not be the most productive way to begin your practice. To begin, you must set aside a quiet and peaceful place to meditate. You must then make sure that you are in a relaxed position to ensure that your practice is not interrupted by discomfort. Next, close your eyes. Focus on your breath, and keep your mind focused inward; do not let it wander. Focus on positivity, peace, and love, and release negative energy throughout the practice. If your practice is successful, within just a few weeks, you should notice a great difference in your mental and perhaps even your physical state.

Health and Wellness Benefits of Meditation

It is often forgotten that meditation is a both a mind and body practice; with meditation can come many physical advantages as well as mental ones. Many studies investigating meditation have determined that meditation can reduce physical pain, lower blood pressure, and reduce the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A 2012 study focused on 50 adults who did meditate and 50 adults who did not meditate, and it found that those who did practice meditation for many years had more folds on the outer layer of their brain, called gyrification. This may increase the brain's capability to process information. In 2013, a review of three studies suggested that the practice of meditation can reduce the negative changes that occur in our brains due to age. Another physical advantage of practicing meditation is reducing lower-back pain: Research has found that the combination of regular chiropractor visits and meditation can be linked to lowering the effects of chronic back pain.

While the physical benefits of practicing meditation are relevant and apparent, the mental health and wellness benefits of meditation are notable as well. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Meditation can be an effective way for adults to improve their work-related stress levels. Those who meditate at work report feeling less distracted, more creative, and generally happier. Meditation can even supplement visits to a psychologist when managing mental health issues.

Importance of Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation can be important practices to engage in not only to help calm your body and mind but also to help with some physical and mental challenges. The number of positive effects that meditation has on the human body is still being explored, but it's clear that this is a practice that comes with minimal risk and a range of potential benefits. If you want to make the positive effects of meditation last, it is important to make mindfulness part of your regular health routine. Doing so can help with mental clarity, emotional stability, and physical relaxation.

Written by

Tomas Hoyos

Tomas is the co-founder and CEO of Voro, the healthcare social network where people share doctor recommendations with their friends and neighbors. Tomas loves a good book and mostly writes about current events in healthcare and tips to stay healthy. Prior to co-founding Voro, Tomas was a healthcare investor and investment banker. Tomas is a graduate of Harvard University where he majored in Government.