If you ever feel overwhelmed with the demands of daily life and wish you could quiet your mind enough to cherish those all-too-rare moments of peace, you're not alone. Many of us feel the same way.
Often, our minds are like willful toddlers constantly seeking out new distractions, making it impossible to find a sense of calm. This feels particularly ironic when you've run a warm bath and lit some candles, but your mind won't stop racing. Fortunately, some practices can help us achieve balance, even during life's most chaotic moments. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving sleep and mood, meditation has been shown to have a wide range of mental health benefits.
Read on to learn all about the benefits of meditation, how to incorporate it into a self-care routine, and how being mindful can help elevate your overall wellbeing.
What Are Meditation and Mindfulness?
Meditation is a powerful tool for training our awareness and gaining perspective. By observing our thoughts without judgment, we can better understand our feelings and cultivate a sense of inner peace. It's an ancient practice that has roots in several religions, but it's not always a religious practice in the modern day. No matter your background or beliefs, you can enjoy the scientifically-proven benefits of a meditation practice.
Mindfulness is a related practice that involves being fully present in each moment, whether you're meditating, cooking, or fetching the kids on a school run. It can be practiced formally through meditation or informally while checking off your daily to-dos. While meditation and mindfulness are distinct practices, meditation is often used to increase mindfulness in everyday life.
The Benefits of Incorporating a Regular Meditation Practice into Your Day
While beginning a meditation practice may seem daunting at first, with practice, it can become a powerful tool for managing stress and enhancing your overall well-being.
Here are a few of the benefits that meditation can offer:
- Reduce stress
- Control anxiety
- Improve emotional health
- Boost self-awareness
- Improve focus and attention span
- Reduce age-related memory loss
- Increase compassion
- Control cravings and addiction
- Improve sleep
- Decrease symptoms of chronic pain
- Lower blood pressure
Different Types of Meditation Techniques
A guided meditation is a type of meditation where someone leads you through the practice. This may be in person, but tons of guided meditations are available online and through apps.
Mantra meditation involves repeating a word or phrase (mantra) as a way to focus your mind and quiet your thoughts. Mantras can be simple phrases like, “I have compassion for myself and others,” traditional Sanskrit phrases, or any phrase or word that resonates with you.
Breathwork meditation involves focusing your awareness on the breath. This can be as straightforward as breathing deeply, or it can involve complex techniques centered around following various breathing patterns.
When you think of moving meditation, you probably think of yoga. While yoga is one type of moving meditation, there are countless others, including walking, dancing, or mindfully moving your body. One of our favorite ways to practice mindfulness on the move is through the Superhuman meditation app.
The Link Between Meditation & Mental Health
Meditation can reduce stress and anxiety.
When we're stressed or anxious, our bodies go into "fight or flight" mode, which can lead to a rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, and muscle tension. Meditation can help counteract these effects by slowing down our breathing and calming our minds.
Meditation can create a sense of inner peace.
Emotions can be tough to deal with, and many of us try to run away from them or allow ourselves to get caught up in them. Meditation teaches us to sit with our emotions, understand them, and accept them without judgment.
We can cultivate inner peace even during life's most turbulent moments by approaching life with a sense of calm and self-acceptance.
Meditation can foster self-awareness and emotional resilience.
One study found that just four days of intensive meditation can significantly impact brain function. The study looked at people who had never meditated before, and found that those who practiced for four days had an increased ability to control their emotions, cultivate resilience, and maintain a positive outlook.
Meditation improves focus, clarity and productivity.
A regular meditation practice helps the mind stay focused on the present moment, allowing us to approach challenging tasks with renewed clarity, creativity, and productivity.
How to Incorporate Meditation into Your Self-Care Routine
Establish a Regular Meditation Practice
If you’re interested in trying out meditation or mindfulness, remember that they are skills that take practice like any other.
Just as you wouldn’t pick up a tennis racket and expect to win a Grand Slam, you shouldn’t expect to become a master meditator after a few days (or even months) of practice. Like any skill, it’s a lifelong practice that requires persistence and dedication led by self-compassion.
Start making it a habit to practice 10 minutes of meditation at a set time every day, and slowly work your way up to longer meditation sessions.
Find the Type of Meditation That Resonates with You
As we’ve mentioned, there are various types of meditation practices, including:
- Guided meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Breathwork meditation
- Moving meditation
In addition, there are countless more types of meditations, each with its own goals and practices. If you try a meditation practice that doesn't resonate with you, it doesn't mean you've failed! Approach your meditation with kindness and curiosity, allowing yourself to explore various practices until you find one that resonates with you.
Set Realistic Goals & Expectations
When we think of meditation, many of us think of a serene Buddhist who is able to meditate for hours without distraction. While that can certainly be your goal (if you choose), many of us still need to go to work, care for our families, and care for ourselves. In short, life happens—and sometimes, it will impact your meditation practice.
Rather than setting strict goals or having a preconceived idea of what your practice should look like, be kind to yourself as you explore your lifelong meditation journey.
Some days, your meditation practice might involve lighting candles, wearing compression socks to boost your circulation, and playing soothing music. On other days, it means taking a moment to breathe and refocus before you lose your cool in rush hour traffic. Both are equally valid!
Work with an Accountability Partner
Unfortunately, meditation isn’t a cure-all that stops life’s usual stressors from happening. An accountability partner can provide motivation and support, encouraging you to keep going when the going gets tough. This can be a trusted friend or family member on the same journey as you, a teacher, your community, or even an accountability app.
The benefits of meditation for mental health are varied and well-documented. It can boost your focus, help you stay clear and centered, and reduce stress and anxiety. And the best part? It's an easy practice to incorporate into your daily routine, even if you're always on the go.
If you want to enhance your meditation practice, Pear Compression’s Italian-made breathable compression socks are the ultimate wellness must-have. Wearing compression socks is a valuable meditation tool that improves blood flow and reduces pain and inflammation. They’re particularly handy if you find yourself getting pins and needles while meditating, if your feet fall asleep when staying seated for long periods, or if you simply want to ensure optimum circulation throughout your practice. Our compression socks are as chic as they are functional, making them the ideal accessory for your at-home meditation, yoga studio routine, or mindful walk around your neighborhood.
Shop our collection to find the perfect Pear for your practice!
While we do make every effort to produce accurate and up-to-date content, the information in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.