According to a study released by Bloomberg, South Africa is the second most stressed out country in the world. And, according to Business Report, work-related stress costs our country R40 billion every year. It’s time we did something to bring a better sense of calm and contentedness into our lives, and one way of achieving this is through meditation.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the art of clearing your mind of all thoughts, while keeping still and relaxing your body as much as possible. It takes plenty of practice to master, but regular meditation is said to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Along with working wonders when it comes to your mental health, it may improve your physical health as well.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The most significant benefit of regular meditation is reducing your stress and teaching you to cope more effectively with issues in your life. A study conducted in Thailand showed that participants who attended a four-day mindful meditation workshop had a noticeable drop in cortisol levels (i.e. the ‘stress hormone’).
Meditation has also been proven to help those with depression, as well as anxiety sufferers. Dr. John W. Denninger explains: “Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return to that focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensations intrude — which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious.”
Meditation may also help you to become more self-aware. Very rarely do we get to relish in the quiet time that is necessary to re-connect with ourselves and our ‘inner essence’. Meditation affords us this time, which is why it could help bring you one step closer to finding and embracing your truest self.
According to the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, meditation may also assist in boosting the immune system. The Centre’s research points to a link between improved health and those who practice regular meditation.
How to get started
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to burn incense or squeeze into unforgiving yoga tights to reap the full benefits! The most important thing that you’ll need to start meditating, is peace and quiet.
Sit somewhere comfortably – on the floor, the couch, or the bed – set a timer (start off with just 10 minutes per day) and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing and slowly start to let go of your thoughts. They will always return, but as soon as you notice this is happening, simply re-focus your mind on your breath once again. Repeat this process until the timer sounds. Gradually increase the length of time you do this for, and you should begin to notice an improvement in your focus and concentration span.
As simple as it sounds, you cannot begin to comprehend the complexity of its effects until you have tried it for yourself. Here’s to a calmer, content and more confident you!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.