What Are the Benefits of Meditation and Is It Worth the Effort?

What Are the Benefits of Meditation and Is It Worth the Effort?

Sometimes meditation can be misunderstood. It may conjure images of sitting or chanting for long hours as you desperately try to clear your mind of all thoughts. The reality is, however, that there are lots of different ways to meditate and it doesn’t take a lot of time to get the many health benefits of meditation. 

Unexpected Meditation Benefits

Meditation is a simple, fast way to help calm the mind and body, especially during times of stress.1 According to the American Psychological Association, meditation is a research-proven way to help support both mental and physical health.2 Research reviews have shown that meditation can help with anxiety, depression, and even pain management.3 

A review of 12 different studies also found that meditation may help support brain health, specifically attention, memory, executive function, and processing speed.4 A 2014 randomized controlled trial also found that meditation may help enhance sleep.5 Some forms of meditation may even help cultivate kindness and compassion for oneself and others.6 Now that’s powerful!

How to Meditate

There are many different types of meditation: 

  • Mindfulness meditation is where you pay attention to the thoughts passing by as you relax and focus on your breath. 
  • Movement meditation such as yoga, walking, qi gong, or tai chi, helps you connect with your body in the present moment.
  • Mantra meditation is where you repeat a specific sound to help clear your mind.
  • Progressive relaxation is where you scan the body from head to toe to help promote a sense of calm.
  • Loving-kindness meditation opens the mind to receive and send love to others while letting go of feelings of anger or resentment.
  • Visualization meditation involves imaging calming peaceful scenes in as much detail as possible with all of the senses.

    Meditation is all about carving out some time, even as little as a few minutes each day, to sit or lie comfortably and quietly as you breathe easily. There are also meditation apps and classes available that can help beginners get started.

    Make it a Family Affair

    Meditation is free and easy. Best of all, anyone can do it! To get the most out of your meditation practice, consider inviting friends or family members to join you. Meditation is a great way to help kids better manage stress, resolve conflicts, control impulses, and improve resilience, memory, and learning.7 It’s a healthy habit that the entire family will appreciate.

    Wanna try something else that’s great for the mind that the whole family can do together? Try gratitude walks. For more tips on nutrition, staying healthy and motherhood follow us on Facebook @kalvits and Instagram at @kalvitamins!

    References

    1.  Mayo Clinic Staff. Meditation: a simple, fast way to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. 2022, April 29. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
    2.  American Psychological Association. Mindfulness meditation: a research-proven way to reduce stress. 2019;Oct 30. https://www.apa.org/topics/mindfulness/meditation
    3.  Behan C. The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices during times of crisis such as COVID-19. Ir J Psychol Med. 2020;37(4):256-258. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7287297/?report=reader
    4.  Gard T, Holzel BK, Lazar SW. The potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline: a systemic review. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2014;1307:89-103. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24571182/
    5.  Ong J, Manber R, Segal Z, et al. A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia. Sleep. 2014;37(9):1553-1563. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/37/9/1553/2416992
    6.  Galante J, Galante I, Bekkers M, Gallacher J. Effect of kindness-based meditation on health and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2014;82(6):1101-14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24979314/
    7.  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Meditation and mindfulness: what you need to know. NIH. 2022;June. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-and-mindfulness-what-you-need-to-know
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