You’ve probably heard that meditation is great for stress relief, but why is that exactly? Below lists five ways that meditation helps to decrease stress and ease anxiety.
1. Improves deep breathing
Deep breathing (aka diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing) allows for optimal oxygen exchange, which in turn can help to slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax, which in turn gets relayed to the rest of your body.
2. Improves sleep
Sleep is an extremely important factor for keeping stress levels low and for an even mood. However, at bedtime, when we finally are ready to be still and stop thinking, the mind has a tendency to wander relentlessly. Meditation can help to rest the mind and bring the awareness back to the present, which in turn also helps to relax the body for sleep.
3. Helps you to live in the moment
Meditation focuses your attention to the present, and helps to bring your awareness back to what you are doing right now. That means less worrying about the future or worrying about things you need to do later.
4. Changes the way you think
Meditation doesn’t just distract you from stressful thoughts, but instead it helps you to think through those stressful situations and better understand how to manage them.
5. Helps your mind prepare for stressful events in the future
Taking a few minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness before a stressful event can ease anxiety associated with the event. For example, taking a few minutes of meditation and deep breathing before an important presentation can calm and focus your mind.
Meditation is a great tool for easing and preventing stress and anxiety. Taking just a few minutes a day to meditate can greatly impact your mindset and help you to live a healthier and happier life.
References and further reading