Meditating for Your Mental Health
Taking care of your health is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Too often, we focus solely on physical health, but mental health is just as important. The mind-body connection is powerful. The secret to being happy and healthy is to be sure you show love to your mind and body both.
We take steps to care for our bodies through diet and exercise. In a similar fashion, we take steps to care for our mental health. Meditation is one way to clear your mind and keep your stress levels low. When practiced in addition to other healthy lifestyle habits, meditation can be an effective tool in stress management.
Continue reading to learn more about meditation for stress relief.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of clearing your mind and being fully present in the moment.1 Humans have been meditating for a long time. When meditation began thousands of years ago, it was primarily spiritual in nature. People used meditating to connect with sacred and mystical elements.1 Today, meditation is still a spiritual practice for many individuals. For others, it’s simply an excellent way to relax and reduce stress levels.1
Why Managing Stress Matters
Stress is a part of life. Balancing a heavy workload, trying to stay connected to friends and family, or waiting for test results to come back from the doctor’s office—there are a number of factors which can cause stress in our day-to-day lives. That’s why understanding how to manage stress is so important. Too much stress isn’t good for us. Chronic stress can negatively impact our emotional health, causing anxiety, irritability, and depression.2 Stress is also bad for our bodies. It can raise blood pressure and weaken immune health.2 For some people, stress also interferes with sleep, preventing them from catching some much-needed shuteye at the end of the day.2
Benefits of Meditation for Stress
Numerous studies have shown that meditation can help reduce stress levels.3,4, 5 When you meditate, you learn how to live your life more mindfully, and spend less time ruminating and worrying.4 Meditation helps support cognitive, sensory, and emotional processing, which amongst other things, helps you navigate stressful situations.4 All in all, meditation can be very beneficial to your health.
Guided Meditation Plan
Starting a meditation plan can feel like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before, but it’s easier than you think—we promise! Below, we’ve included a few steps to help you form a meditation plan. Read on, and begin meditating today.
- Find time. You can’t do a meditation practice unless you set aside time to do so. Sometimes, finding time is the hardest part—especially on a busy day. But busy days might be the time when you benefit from meditation the most. You don’t necessarily have to meditate long in order to relax your mind. Sometimes, a 10-minute meditation for stress is all you need. Squeeze in a quick session in the morning right when you wake up, or put on your headphones and meditate before you fall asleep at night.
- Choose a quiet place. Your meditation practice will be more effective if you’re able to the find a quiet place. After all, meditation is a time for you to escape the outside world. If there is construction going on right outside your window, or if you’re in a room with loud music, you may find it difficult to concentrate. Choose a place like your bedroom, where you can sit in peace and quiet and close your door. Don’t worry, the outside world will be there for you when you return!
- Eliminate distractions. Removing any outside distractions will help improve your meditation practice. We all love our phones, but silencing incoming calls and messages during your meditation practice is important. And if you live with others, ask for a little alone time, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you live and/or work from home with kids, ask your partner or another caregiver if they can watch over them when you slip into another room for a few minutes. If you have older children, find time to do your meditation when they’re at school.
- Breathe. Are you having a hard time stepping away from your work or taking your mind off that big project you have due? Take a few deep breaths. Breathing slowly and steadily will help you connect with your body and bring you back to the present moment. It’s something so simple to do that sometimes we forget how good it feels. An extra tip: close your eyes. Closing your eyes when you’re deep breathing will help you take a break from the outside world as you strengthen your mind-body connection.
- Choose a type of meditation. Meditation types can be guided or unguided. When you’re getting started, guided meditation is a good option to help you learn the basics. In a guided meditation, someone else walks you through the meditation process. Guided meditation techniques for stress include: body scans, visualization, restful awareness, reflection, mantra meditation, movement meditation, and more. You can easily access guided meditations through smartphone apps or websites—there are plenty of options!
- Be consistent. Disconnecting from the world is hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. Try to meditate every day if you can, and if not, aim for a few days a week. With each meditation, you’ll get better, and the effects—including stress relief—will get better and better too!
Thanks for reading our article on how to meditate for stress. In addition to meditation for stress management, there are other ways to help promote a self-care routine. Eating a healthy diet and supplementing with vitamins, such as Centrum’s Stress & Mood Supplement, are other ways to help you feel your best.
Explore other health and wellness tips today, and follow us on social!