Mornings: we either love them or hate them. When you wake up, is the first thing you feel serenity or anxiety? If it’s the latter, practicing meditation before beginning the day can combat your initial stress.
Meditation is defined as a mental exercise that is practiced in a quiet space, encourages the participant to engage in self-reflection, develop a deeper introspection on their thoughts and emotions, and bring themselves to a state of relaxation that thrives on the present moment.
We all have our fair share of obligations that demand our attention or errands to run, but we don’t always have to feel on edge and constantly think about the future the moment our alarm goes off.
These are the benefits that occur when you start your morning with meditation:
Starts the day off right
If you seem to wake up on the wrong side of the bed more often than not, any type of meditation style automatically improves your mood since it boosts serotonin. The night before might have been filled with wondering whether or not you checked every single thing off the to-do list, but the following morning is always a fresh start. Including meditation will ease your worries and help you greet the day with a calm sense of mind.
Clarifies your sense of focus
Need some help cultivating self-discipline? Meditation improves your focus on accomplishing tasks. It also increases cognitive function, helps you sustain a longer attention span, and even stimulates more creativity. Most of all, through meditation, you can visualize how to accomplish your goals and see which priorities in your life are the most important.
Reduces unhealthy cravings
On bad days, we crave comfort food which is never the healthiest thing to eat. However, meditation reduces your cravings. After meditating, you’re going to want to fuel your body with wholesome food that makes you feel well, not artificial meals that will worsen your mood or physical state.
Helps you manage stress responses
Stress is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it always has to overwhelm us. Meditation trains us to focus on proper breathing, which can get thrown out the window when we’re anxious. Unconsciously, we begin to hyperventilate during extreme episodes of stress, as well as feel lightheaded, and even experience an accelerated heart rate. In some cases, stress can lead to a full-blown out panic attack since our bodies can become so overwhelmed with the influx of emotions and cortisol. Meditation reduces the stress response because when we self-reflect, we come to understand why specific factors make us stressed in the first place, and we analyze our current reactions to them. Evidently, in the face of experiencing stress over time, our triggers become less threatening and our bodies do not react as aggressively as they used to in the past. Instead, it tames our fight-or-flight response so that we can rationalize our stress first rather than react impulsively. As a result, we build emotional resilience, maturity, and stability.
Deepens your sense of self-awareness
When you meditate, you develop stronger self-discipline and enhance your ability to become introspective, let down emotional walls, and explore your emotions and thoughts with ease. Inherently, when you meditate, thoughts will come and go through your mind. Instead of resisting them, welcome them, no matter what they may be. Over time, you begin to develop a long-term honest and transparent relationship with yourself.
When stressed, your psychological well-being isn’t the only thing affected - the physical state of your body can take a toll from stress too. The common physical responses to stress include muscle pain, headaches or migraines, hypertension, and insomnia. This is because stress spikes your levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which when produced in influx, will be harmful to the body since they constrict blood flow and lower your levels of melatonin. Meditation stops this influx from occurring, promotes better sleep, and prevents your muscles from tensing.
Strengthens the immune system
If you’re prone to getting sick, meditation will strengthen your immune system and reduce your likelihood of developing chronic diseases in addition to the common cold. Furthermore, growing older comes with a weakened immune system. While you can’t fight getting old, meditation can sustain your immune strength and slow down the effects of aging. Additionally, it also prolongs the longevity of your life in general!
The next time you wake up, don’t worry about immediately rushing into your day or even checking your technology to catch up on business emails - take a moment to stop and breathe. Set aside time to meditate to clarify your mind and prioritize the most important things first. Meditation doesn’t just set the tone for the day right; it nourishes your emotional and physical well-being.