Meditation and mindfulness are today’s holistic wellness buzzwords for a reason. With the increasing pressure of everyday life, these age-old practices – and the lifestyle transformations they can bring – have become an essential part of daily life for millions.
So, what do these terms mean? In a broad sense, meditation is a practice that enables an individual to improve mental clarity and emotional stability. Mindfulness simply means to be aware and free of distractions; it helps centre one’s attention on the present moment. Though different, the terms are often used interchangeably. Both meditation and mindfulness complement each other, and can really benefit you.
1. Strengthen mental wellbeing
Meditation – and the practices surrounding it – improve mental clarity and allow you to work towards a more stable self. As you turn attention to your breathing and inhale and exhale deeply, your thoughts slow down and you begin to relax. When the calming effect continues, your mind declutters, giving you more awareness of your surroundings as well as your mind-body state. Regular practitioners gradually learn to gain a better sense of self. This empowers them to stay grounded, focus on what’s important, dwell on positive values like peace and patience, let go of negative emotions like anger and fear, and set attainable goals for self-improvement.
2. Destress towards good health
Meditation is certainly useful for destressing. For starters, it fosters restful sleep, allowing you to combat fatigue, and feel revived and energised in the mornings. In the long run, it promotes overall wellbeing as your body isn’t subject to the constant ill-effects of stress. Medically speaking, regular meditation stimulates blood flow to the brain, thereby increasing grey matter which aids in improved memory, cognitive functions and emotional responses. It also reduces anxiety, helps sufferers manage chronic pain and is recommended to patients as an intervention against depression.
3. Combine it with other routines
Among the many wonderful things about meditation is its flexible nature. A person who is accustomed to mindfulness techniques can practice any time, any place. Meditation exists in diverse forms, and may already be a part of other wellness routines and workouts. For example, various types of yoga rely on meditation, as does a martial arts-inspired session of tai chi. Those on a weight management programme will find meditation particularly beneficial, as it helps curb unhealthy urges such as impulse eating. The key is to explore exercise styles that work for you and get started by actively incorporating consistent discipline in your life. If you already follow a fitness regime, find fun ways to add meditation into the mix.
4. Embrace a new community
Tried out a meditation class and can’t get enough of it? Great! You’re now part of a community of expert gurus and fellow practitioners, many of whom have encouraging stories to share about their wellness journey. Even though meditation is a deeply personal practice, you’ll find the support and guidance you need from this welcoming bunch; in time, you can add value with your own experiences. Needless to say, you’re going to make new friends and gain a renewed sense of belonging. In a remote location? You can still reach out to an online community. Meditation is also a tried-and-tested route to dealing with feelings of loneliness.
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