Does meditation work?

Meditation is an ancient practice, but as we move forward with scientific research and technology, we are more able to prove the tangible benefits that can come from it.

From recent studies, meditation appears to have a wide range of neurological benefits that can produce measurable changes in our brain, which can help relieve anxiety, improve attention, concentration and overall psychological well being.

Alongside the scientific evidence, there is also a global community of people who practice meditation, from beginners to experts who sing the praises of meditation and how it has positively impacted their lives. Everyone from CEO’s to celebrities, from Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIm) to Oprah Winfrey have acknowledged their positive experiences with meditation, with Oprah explaining “It’s a heightened state of being that lets whatever you're doing be your best life”.

So it definitely seems worth a try! In this article we will take a look at the benefits, and how one might go around starting to meditate.

What are the benefits of meditation?

Practicing meditation daily can have numerous benefits for our body and mind. The practice of staying still and mindful for an extended period of time can reap benefits that only increase over time as you practice frequently and consistently.

Some of the benefits can include:

1) Improved focus

Practising meditation has been shown to help people improve their overall focus, by reducing mind-wandering and aiding in decision making.

Headspace found that by completing just one 15 minute session on their app resulted in a 22% reduction in mind-wandering and that after four weeks of using the app daily, users had a 14% increase in focus.

2) Reduction in stress and anxiety

By being more in touch with how we feel, we are able to gain perspective on our emotions, ultimately allowing us to feel more calm and in control. Giving us more clarity and focus - allowing us to soothe those feelings of stress when they arrive.

3) Improved Sleep quality

If we become more in control of our emotions, feelings and stresses this can lead to us being able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

4) Improved relationships

Many claim that through meditation they become more self-aware, and more in tune with their own emotions, which means that in turn they are more compassionate and connect better with others. Headspace app was found to increase compassion by 23% in participants of a study.

How to start meditating:

When it comes to meditating it is often said that frequency is more important than duration. So a ‘little and often’ approach is a great way to start.

Although easier said than done, committing to a daily practice will bring the best outcomes. Starting with a short session, allows you to learn and experience meditation at your own pace and to fit it into your routine more easily.

How to get started:

1) Find the time

In order to combat the different excuses we tell ourselves when we can’t be bothered to do something, sit can be helpful to start by designating time for meditation.

Whether this is in the morning so you can start your day level headed or before bed, the best time to meditate is when you can prioritise it. <

2) Decide on the amount of time

Start small and work up, perhaps starting with 3-5 minutes and adding as you continue your practice until you find what works for you. The most essential thing is that it feels achievable!

3) Make yourself comfortable

Choose a position that feels good for your body, whether this is a comfortable chair, on the floor on a cushion. Just find a place where you can fully relax.

4) Use a guide

Whether you follow a youtube video, use an app or are led by a teacher. Guided meditations can be a real help especially when you are just starting out as they will help you to remain focused and committed to your practice.

5) Try taking CBD

CBD or cannabidiol, is often praised for its calming properties. Many CBD users claim that it helps them to wind down, chill out and clear their mind - helping them refocus. This can be a huge help when meditating.

Many CBD users will take CBD around 20 minutes before they meditate so that they are feeling more calm and more focused as they begin their practice.

Whereas for some, even just the process of taking CBD can be meditative. As when you take CBD oil, you place a few drops under your tongue and hold it there for a minute so that it can be absorbed. This minute can give you space and time to take a moment for yourself.

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