There are plenty of things in our daily lives that causes stress: traffic, hassles with co-workers or terrible bosses, family drama, and tensions in our personal relationships just to name a few. But if you don’t find a healthy way, like mindfulness meditation, to deal with stress, it can faster and eventually cause anxiety, depression, and even health issues like hypertension and heart disease.
One of the best ways to beat stress is through mindfulness meditation. This practice teaches you how to keep your attention “in the now.“ By training your mind to stay in the present moment, you learn how to stop ruminating on all the nonsense that brings you stress. While it can be challenging in the beginning for most people, those who stick with it receive amazing benefits.
3 Benefits of mindfulness mediation
1. A better nights sleep
If you struggle from a lack of sleep, you know how it can affect your mood and ability to focus among many other things. Researchers found that in adults diagnosed with sleep disturbances, mindfulness meditation improved the quality of their sleep.
2. Lower stress levels
Studies have also found that mindfulness meditation can reduce the cortisol levels produced in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone and when levels of cortisol remain high, it can negatively impact your health in a multitude of ways such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, gastrointestinal problems, and more.
3. Decreased loneliness in older adults
Older adults often experience loneliness and isolation due to the loss of their spouse combined with an inability to lead an independent social life. One study found that an 8 week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program decreased loneliness in seniors.
These are only a handful of the many, many benefits of practicing mindfulness meditation.
Getting started with Mindfulness meditation
Starting a mindfulness meditation program doesn’t have to feel overwhelming and it doesn’t require you to make big lifestyle changes. It doesn’t require you to clear your mind or stop your thoughts.
It simply requires that you set aside a couple of minutes a day in the beginning to practice. That’s it.
You could also find a mindfulness meditation class in your area to get a better feel for how it works. Yale offers a great MBSR course that I’ve personally taken and highly recommend. It can definitely help increase your knowledge and understanding of what exactly mindfulness is, as well as, teach you lots of skills for mindfulness meditation practices. There are also plenty of online guided meditation courses to choose from.
The most important thing to remember is that it is called a meditation practice for a reason: you won’t get it “right,” right out of the gate. You have to practice! And truthfully, there is no right or wrong. The only wrong way is to not do anything at all.
There’s a reason why some of the the most successful people on the planet speak to this practice as the key factor to their success, motivation, inspiration, and overall sanity in their lives.
If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or a difficult life transition, mindfulness meditation can help. And if it doesn’t, or it’s not enough, find an awesome therapist or life coach you like and trust to help you sort things out and get back on track!
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.