Erica Sweeney is a writer who covers health, wellness, nutrition, food, fitness and lots of other topics. She has written for The New York Times, HuffPost, Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Money and more.
The benefits of meditation are plentiful in ordinary times. And amid the coronavirus pandemic, being present and finding moments of peace has never been more important. As we struggle with uncertainty and an inability to grasp what the future will hold, practicing meditation and mindfulness can help get us find a little bit of much-needed calm.
Meditation helps people hit the pause button, helping them become more present in a given moment, says Spring Washam, Meditation of “A Fierce Heart.”
“It’s like the TV is blaring, and then we turn it off for a moment, and we just take a breath,” she says. “Meditation is a way that we gain that a sort of calmness and a centeredness and we connect with ourselves in that moment.”
Whether it’s five minutes or 20 minutes, finding time to meditate throughout the day can help you feel happier and more at peace. And, your mind and body will thank you. Meditation offers a wealth of benefits to improve your physical health and well being.
Benefits of Meditation
1. It lowers cortisol levels. Research shows that mindfulness meditation lowers levels of cortisol, the hormone that causes stress. Reducing cortisol can decrease general stress, anxiety and depression.
2. You can better deal with stress. Meditation brings a sense of calm to the mind and body that can reduce stress, Washam says.
“When the mind relaxes and lets go, the body follows,” she says. “We want our adrenaline and our nervous system to take a break at times, to unplug, to recycle, to rejuvenate.”
3. It eases anxiety. “Meditation is literally the perfect, portable anti-anxiety treatment,” says health coach Traci Shoblom. Taking just a few minutes to close your eyes and do breathing exercises can turn off the mechanisms in your brain that cause anxiety.
Related: 50 Best Meditation Quotes
4. It reduces depression symptoms. Depression is a series mental health condition often triggered by stress and anxiety. Research suggests meditation can change areas of the brain, including the “me center” and “fear center,” that are linked to depression. People who meditate also show increased gray matter in the brain’s hippocampus, responsible for memory.
5. You’ll get a mood boost. Meditation helps you deal with stress, anxiety and difficult situations, which makes you happier and feel better. “We’re just able to deal with difficult things without letting it affect your mood,” Washam says.