Are you feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and anxious? You’re not alone. If you’re looking for an effective and quick strategy to start feeling better, mindfulness meditation is a great place to start.
Meditation has been proven to have physical health benefits, effectively reduce stress, manage anxiety, and improve your quality of life.
Feeling stress overload? You’re not alone!
Recently, Google searches for terms like “panic attack”, “anxiety attack” and “high stress” have hit an all-time high. It’s no wonder people are trying to find a way to handle the tsunami of the unknown that they are facing.
If you’re looking for a tool to de-stress as quickly as possible you’ve come to the right place.
Learning to practice mindfulness meditation will help you learn to manage your stress and anxiety as quickly as possible.
What’s incredible is that there’s a ton of scientific research that validates the widespread benefits of guided mindfulness meditation.
Therefore, even small amounts of meditation can help you by increasing your productivity, lowering your stress, and improving your memory.
So let’s get started!
3 ways meditation change your brain and body
Are you wondering if it’s worth it to try guided meditation? The short answer is yes.
Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of meditation as an effective way to manage stress and anxiety.
More importantly, meditation has a positive impact on what is happening inside your body.
Regular meditation can actually help improve immune function, decrease pain, and even lower the inflammation in the body.
1. Meditation reduces your body’s stress response
Meditation is a drug-free way of changing your body from the inside out.
In fact, it’s been so effective that some doctors are even prescribing meditation to their patients in lieu of medication!
In addition, meditation can help manage the symptoms of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease because the practice naturally reduces your body’s stress response.
2. Meditation improves your psychological health
In fact, meditation can literally change the physical structure of your brain in ways that may boost concentration, memory, and positive emotions. How amazing is that?
3. Meditation improves your brain function
A study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that regular meditation causes the brain’s cerebral cortex to thicken, which is responsible for higher mental functions such as concentration, learning, and memory.
Another study revealed that meditation reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying.
How long do you need to meditate?
If you’re new to meditation, it’s normal to be weary and wonder if you have to meditate for a long period of time to actually reap the benefits.
Fortunately, how often you meditate is actually more important than how long you meditate.
Therefore, if you can dedicate to meditating daily for 3 minutes it’s actually more beneficial than meditating once a week for 30 minutes.
More importantly, if you’re starting out, the most essential thing is finding the amount of time that feels achievable for you so you can stay motivated.
Otherwise, it will be harder to include meditation as part of your regular daily routine.
Spending even a few minutes in meditation can lower your stress and help you feel more grounded and calm.
Remember, even dedicating a few minutes practicing mindfulness meditation shows demonstrable effects on your brain function. Longer meditations may be discouraging if you’re a beginner and may deter you from a regular practice.
Of course, any amount of meditation is better than none at all.
5 helpful tips to get started with meditation
1. Start with short meditations
Try meditating for 2-3 minutes to start. Guided meditations are perfect for beginners. Extend your meditation time as it gets easier to stay focused on the present.
2. It’s ok if your mind drifts
Become aware of when your mind drifts. Identify your thoughts and try to re-frame your attention on your breathing without judgment. Remember the moment you catch yourself is actually a moment of mindfulness!
3. Find a comfortable position
Experiment with a position in a chair or on the floor that works best for you. It’s super important that you’re comfortable, otherwise, it will be harder to focus on your breathing.
4. Having a hard time? Focus on a word or sound
Instead of focusing only on the breath, you can also try repeating a sound or thinking of a positive word. The goal is to choose a calming focus to direct your attention.
5. Don’t be hard on yourself
It’s easy to worry about how you’re doing and get frustrated that you can’t quiet your mind instantly. If this happens, just take a deep breath, recognize that your mind wandered, and gently return your attention to your breathing.
7 ways to get quick stress relief
The “relaxation response” describes the physical and mental changes that occur when your body is calm and relaxed. Think of it as the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
There are many ways to initiate your body’s relaxation response.
1. Focus on deep breathing
Take long deep slow and purposeful breaths. Try taking a deep inhale for a count of 5, holding it for 2, and exhaling for 5. Repeat for a cycle of 10 breaths.
2. Practice being mindful
Focus on non-judgmental awareness of the present moment and being in the moment.
3. Go outside and exercise
Exercise can be thought of as “meditation in motion”; walking, jogging, and swimming can relax the mind and body.
4. Start visualizing
Use your imagination to recreate a relaxing and calming place or situation.
5. Try progressive muscle relaxation
Systematically relax your muscles to reduce tension. You can follow a guided progressive muscle relaxation.
Some people find that prayer helps them feel more connected and grounded.
7. Start journaling
Some of us tend to focus only on stressful situations instead of positive events and achievements.
A healthy way to cope with stress is to acknowledge things in the day that went well and why by writing 2-3 things that you’re grateful for every day in a journal.
Nowadays we’re all looking for ways to quickly de-stress and relax. The wonders of mindfulness meditation have been backed by science and you will notice a remarkable difference once you start practicing.
What’s amazing about meditation is that you can practice on your own anytime and anywhere. Regular meditation practice has been proven to have physical and psychological health benefits by reducing stress, anxiety, and improving your overall quality of life.
Moreover, the frequency of meditation is more important than the duration, especially when you’re a beginner. You can start with basic guided meditations by using an app or YouTube video.
Try not to be so hard on yourself if you notice yourself getting distracted by thoughts or you miss a day of your meditation practice. It takes time to make this practice into a new habit.
In addition, I guarantee that you will notice a significant improvement in your life once you begin this daily investment in your self-care and wellness practice.
Have you tried meditation before and noticed any changes? What types of meditations have you found helpful? How has meditation helped you in your life? Please share your stories and comments below.