5 Ways Meditation Can Make You Healthier

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We are all learning more about how to treat our bodies with respect. Years ago, you may have thought that pasta with a jarred tomato sauce was a complete meal. You may have followed up a visit to the gym with a visit to the drive through. When you know better, you do better and it appears that we are collectively discovering how to be the healthiest versions of ourselves at any given age.

However, one aspect that we are a bit behind in is mental health. Our fitness trackers tell us how we are functioning with regards to everything from our daily steps to our quality of sleep. Our workouts have become faster and more efficient; our meals more wholesome and streamlined. Our minds are going a million miles a minute.

Hands up if you – or your mind – could stand a break! 

If you are dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, meditation can help to keep you that way. We have five proofs to back this claim up:

1) More restful sleep. If you have ever had trouble getting to sleep at night or have woken up in the middle of the night, you know that it is easy to get caught up in a web of thoughts. You may review an upcoming presentation, wonder if your partner is still attracted to you or remember all of the things you forgot to do the day before. Meditation is your friend at these sleepless moments. It helps to let it go (whatever “it” is) for the time being, so that even if you do wake up, it will be easier to drift back to sleep.

2) It can increase your happiness. A happier person is a healthier person. Meditation is responsible for a cocktail of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin (the mood boosting hormone), GABA (which can make you feel calm) and endorphins (runners aren’t the only ones who get a high). Deep meditation is a chance to reset, rather than accumulating stress on top of stress.

3) Your immunity will increase. You may take all your vitamins and get enough rest, although it is nearly impossible to be perfect on all counts of health. If you are feeling a little run down, you may have heard that the best thing to do is to rest. Mindfulness meditation results in a weaker secretion of adrenaline and cortisol, which allows the immune system to remain active. It is like a nap that won’t make you feel groggy.

4) It benefits your brain…even when you aren’t meditating. Like strength training, which helps you to burn calories well after you are done in the gym, the benefits of meditation far surpass the minutes on the cushion. In fact, it can change the way your brain responds to emotional stimuli, which is pretty amazing, if you ask us.

5) Meditation prevents emotional eating and smoking. Although your blood pressure and metabolism decrease in the moments you are meditating, when you return to your day you will be moving from a more mindful place. Mindless activities, such as eating in front of a television or feeding stress with cigarettes are less and less likely to happen the more that meditation becomes a habit. Dan Harris, author of the best-selling book 10% happier says, “if you’re noticing what you’re eating and noticing how full you are at any given moment, you may not eat as much. One of the reasons why diets often fail is that there’s a feeling of deprivation or a fear of deprivation. With mindful eating, the trick is that you’re supposed to reach a pleasant satiety. You need the mental wherewithal, the mindfulness, to notice when you’ve reached that point.”

Don’t just do something…sit there!

Courtney-SundayBIO: Courtney Sunday has been a travelling free spirit for most of her adult life, but made it official six years ago when she became a yoga teacher of teachers and freelance writer. She has contributed to USA Today, MindBodyGreen, Greatist and SoMuchYoga.com and likes to find a time in every day to do child’s pose.

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