If your mornings are anything like mine, your alarm goes off, you stumble through your morning routine of getting ready for work, and hopefully scarf down a haphazard breakfast and hurried cup of coffee.
On your morning commute, you think about all the tasks you need to do today. At the end of the workday, you try to fit in as many productive things as possible: making dinner, laundry, groceries, meeting a friend, etc. After all, you're BUSY!
Although most Americans follow this very same routine daily, experience has taught us it's not the best idea. It's making us more stressed, exhausted, and depressed. But how can you be calm and happy when there's so much to do?
Science has shown that taking time for yourself can do wonders, and actually increases productivity. Meditation is one way of achieving this, and it can easily be added to your morning routine!
Here are some of the many health benefits you can get from meditation:
1. Makes You More Alert than Drinking Coffee
Are you one of those people whose mornings are fueled by caffeine? You might want to swap out your morning coffee for a few minutes of meditation. Whether you notice it or not, caffeine activates your sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the "fight or flight" response. While you might feel energized, the caffeine is only sending your body into a state of anxiety.
Meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which provides a calmer, more sustainable source of energy and alertness.
2. Strengthens the Immune System
Heightened stress levels come with our hectic lifestyles, and this unfortunately leads to bad eating habits. Eating the wrong foods and higher stress can cause inflammation in the body and digestive tract, which in turn break down the body's natural immune system.
The calming nature of meditation brings breathing and thoughts back under control, boosting the body's ability to fight illness.
3. Cures Insomnia and Promotes Restful Sleep
Caffeine, exposure to TV and phone screens, and racing thoughts can all disrupt normal sleep patterns. Even after you've put away your phone for the night, your mind may be spinning with thoughts from the day.
Meditation helps correct this by routinely practicing choosing not to think about tasks and stressful situations. Your ability to be more intentional about your thoughts will lead to better relaxation in the evenings.
Go to the next page for more health benefits!
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies have found that people with high blood pressure can lower it significantly with meditation. A study at Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi found that participants who practiced meditation for 20 minutes a day had their blood pressure drop from 100 to 80. Many no longer needed medication at all.
5. Slows the Aging Process
Oh, the dreaded crow's feet wrinkles. Nobody likes the signs of aging that slowly start to show up on our bodies. The good news is you could slow the process by meditation!
A common indicator of aging is on the cellular level. Shorter telomeres, or protein caps at the end of each chromosome, tend to be a sign of aging. Studies have found that those who meditate had longer telomeres, suggesting that meditation slows the aging process.
Continue to the last page to find out 3 more health benefits of meditation!
6. Decreases Muscle Tension
Stop for a minute and think about where you are right now. Chances are, you're facial, neck, or back muscles are tensed up. This can be the result of stress, cold temperatures, or injuries.
Because meditation is a restful state, people who practice it tend to have less tension in their muscles. That's because the relaxed state causes contracted muscles to release, allowing better blood flow in the body so muscles can relax.
7. Improves Emotional Well-Being
If you identify as an extremely emotional creature, you're not alone. Even if you don't feel all your emotions, they tend to overwhelm you without notice. If you find yourself routinely annoyed by little things, it might be time to re-train your brain.
Meditation helps you focus your thought patterns, allowing you better control of how you respond emotionally to small and large situations. Because of improved focus, you'll have an easier time filtering distractions throughout the day.
8. It's a Free "Anti-Anxiety Medication"
A lot of people you know are probably on anti-anxiety meds without your knowledge. Although some situations require medication, you might be able to lessen the effects of your anxiety through meditation.
Since both therapy and medication is costly, why not give it a try? Numerous studies have shown that meditation actually rewires a person's brain to be less anxious.
Did any of these surprise you? Leave us a comment below and make sure you SHARE this post with your friends!