Meditation is a practice originating in India and described in the ancient Hindu Vedic texts as a set of techniques to connect to one’s inner self and reach an altered state of consciousness.
Today, meditation is also a popular practice among western countries.
Meditation is a virtually risk-free and cost-effective practice that people of all ages can do with a little patience and guidance.
If you’re new to meditation and unsure where to start, there are several meditation apps (e.g., Calm, Headspace, Breethe), websites, and online videos that provide free or low-cost guided meditation instruction.
If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, incorporating meditation into your daily routine may help.
A meta-analysis concluded that mindfulness meditation, a practice that involves breathing exercises and awareness of internal and external sensations, may improve sleep parameters, such as sleep quality, efficiency, and latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), in individuals with insomnia.
One of the most popular reasons people choose to meditate is to relieve stress and anxiety.
Results are mixed; however, some research provides promising results.
For example, a meta-analysis showed a significant improvement in anxiety among highly stressed individuals and patients with chronic anxiety whose anxiety levels ranked in the 80th to 100th percentile range.
Following the meditation intervention, anxiety levels of the participants fell between the 53rd to 62nd percentile range.
According to recent research, meditation may be used as an adjunctive therapy option for patients with clinical depression.
In a six-week trial conducted in 2019, students who meditated daily experienced a decrease in symptoms of depression compared to a control group that did not meditate; however, these effects only persisted in individuals who continued to practice daily meditation post-intervention.
The simple practice of daily meditation can help improve your physical and mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, promoting better sleep, and boosting cognitive function. Research reveals that beginners and long-term meditators alike can benefit from daily meditation, no matter their skill level.
Speak to your integrative healthcare practitioner about incorporating meditation into your wellness plan.