5 Reasons to Start a Meditation Practice

Pranayama Breathing

Written by: Sojourner Williams

Psychology and neurological research shows that around 20 minutes of meditation daily can drastically improve multiple aspects of our well-being.

20 minutes is an approximation, everybody is different, everyone’s ability to settle into a meditation practice is different and every meditation is different. I like to look at meditation as a muscle, the more you practice, the more flexible you become and the easier it is to dive deep into a meditative state. 

Not into sitting still for several minutes at a time? There are so many different types of meditation. Perhaps you’re drawn towards prayer or gratitude journaling. Maybe a walking or active meditation is more your speed and a nature walk or time at the beach or fishing by a lake is what you need to reset, reboot, and find balance. 

Don’t have time for meditation? Download your favorite mantra, affirmation, nature sound on whatever music streaming service you use and listen to it, eyes closed, for a few minutes on your morning Subway, Metro or car commute. It all counts! 

However you feel called, during this National Meditation Month, I urge you to experiment, to open yourselves up to the power and beauty of a meditation practice. If not for 20 minutes a day, then 10; if not for 10 minutes a day then 5, or 2 or 1. Any start is the right start! 

  1. Meditating Reduces Stress- When you meditate, you stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system which helps the body rest, digest, and experience calm. In this state, cortisol (your stress hormone) production ceases and melatonin (your relaxation hormone) is produced. 
  2. Meditating Promotes Mental Clarity and Focus–  Meditation is both relaxing and rejuvenating for the brain which helps to fine tune our cognitive functioning. A calm and steady mind, is also better at endurance and focus. 
  3. Meditating Helps to Relieve Anxiety and Depression- Cortisol feeds anxiety and depression. Meditating is known to subdue cortisol production and increase the production of melatonin, resulting and feelings of calm, peace and contentment. 
  4. Meditating Can Help to Lower Blood Pressure- Meditation calmed the central nervous system, relieves the body of stress and anxiety, all factors that lead to high blood pressure. Through meditation the parasympathetic nerve response is initiated which encourages a reduction in blood pressure rates. 
  5. Meditation Can Help to Relieve Insomnia- Due to the calming effect of meditation (increase in melatonin, the sleep inducing hormone) the body reacts by entering into a state of rest. This restful state helps to encourage a deep and undisturbed sleep.