What Happens To Your Body When You Meditate (Believe Us, It's All Good!)

17 July 2017

If you have had a stressful day at work then meditation is a great way to unwind and relax before you go to bed.

Meditation is described as a state of consciousness that brings clarity, serenity, and bliss, which is why meditation is often used to reduce stress. While meditating, you focus on one thing only, which is either your breath or sound. There is of course more than just one way to meditate, but for a beginner, focusing on the breath or on a sound either from an outside source or by chanting a mantra (such as Om) is highly beneficial.

So, how does meditation affect your body and your mind? Well, here's a small list to help you get started.

How Meditation Affects Your Body

Lowers Stress Levels

If you are feeling stressed or anxious, then meditation is a great and natural way to make yourself feel better. Meditation can lower stress hormones in the body, which is called cortisol and will help you feel more relaxed and have a better sense of self.

Cures Insomnia

Have you ever flopped into bed, feeling extremely tired, but your brain is still busy and doesn’t want to shut off? These constant thoughts can keep us from getting the rest that we need. Meditation can help with sleep problems because it relaxes the nervous system and will help you go to sleep faster.

Increases Self-Esteem 

As meditation lowers stress levels, you will actually start feeling better. It helps to remove the negative chatter that the mind creates, thereby helping in creating better thoughts and an improved sense of self. Consequently, it will boost your self-esteem and make you feel better and happier about who you are.

Better Performance

Staying in the present moment can help in performing better. Meditation can help you to be a better listener, focus for longer and manage the tasks that come your way with ease and efficiency. It increases receptivity and our natural sense of observation, thereby helping us make better and more mindful decisions.

Increases Compassion 

Recent research has shown that a person can actually become more compassionate with meditation. Researchers have found that regular meditators have more compassion towards others and are more likely to engage in good deeds. As a result, you feel more connected to others and stop feeling lonely and secluded, specially in todays day and age.

Better Health

Meditation lubricates all the body systems and functions, resulting in better health and vitality. It increases energy levels and helps in better circulation throughout the body.

How Meditation Affects Your Brain

More GABA production

GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain which is boosted during meditation. This is beneficial because low levels of GABA are linked to higher levels of anxiety. Instead, of taking drugs like Klonopin and Valium, which increases GABA, meditation is a more natural and safer option.

Changes the Brain Structure 

It has been shown that those that practice meditation have an increased connectivity between specific regions of the brain like those linked with attention and emotional behaviour. Regular meditation reduces reactivity and aids therapeutic processing.

Younger Mind

As we get older, our cortex starts to shrink. However, a study has shown that meditation slows down the process and helps the mind to stay younger and healthier for a longer time. Meditator’s brains were a lot younger by the time they reached their 50s as compared to those who have never meditated in their life.

Increase in Dopamine

Dopamine has been described as the 'reward chemical' since it is associated with pleasurable things like food and sex. Studies have shown that other than the external conditions, Dopamine levels can also be increased through regular meditation.

How to Get Started with Meditation

If you are new to meditation, then you should start slow as there are many meditation practices that vary by level of difficulty. Start by looking for an ideal place to meditate just sitting with your eyes closed for a minute and focus on your breath. Some will help you to slow your mind. Just keep focusing on your breath and not let your mind wander.

Here are some meditation tips that you can use to start your journey to peace and tranquillity.

Choose a Time

Meditation is a way to relax, so you should do it when it is convenient for you. Choose a time when you know that you will not be disturbed. Great times to practice meditation are during the sunrise and sunset. Also remember to set a time duration for meditation. Pick anything from 5 minutes to half an hour depending on how long you are able to sit still in meditation. You can set a timer to help you come out of meditation when the time is up. But make sure that you use a relaxing sound for the timer so it doesn't end your meditation abruptly.

Choose a Quiet Place

You should choose a meditation place where you are not likely to be disturbed. Peaceful surroundings will enhance the meditation experience and make it more enjoyable.

Use Aromatherapy

Using essential oils during meditation can improve the experience and can create a sense of calm. The benefits of using aromatherapy while meditating will depend on the essential oils that you use, but oils like lavender and frankincense will calm and sooth.

Comfortable Posture

Your posture should be relaxed, steady and comfortable. You will need to sit with a straight spine, relaxed neck, and shoulders. Your eyes should be kept closed during the process.

Warm-Up First

Before you start with meditation, you should warm-up with a few yoga exercises as this will improve circulation. Your body will feel lighter as it removes restlessness.  This will help you to sit steadily for a longer period.

Take Deep Breathes

You should practice deep breathing before you meditate as this will create a steady rhythm of breath and will relax the mind and body. It will also help set the right mood and attitude for a longer and deeper meditation.

Open your Eyes Slowly

Close to the end of your meditation session, you should open your eyes slowly and take your time to become aware of your surroundings and yourself, instead of rushing to open your eyes and getting up.

Meditation has a number of positive effects on your body and mind. It is a great way for you reduce your stress levels and relax your mind and body. You can meditate for just a few minutes and start to feel the benefits. If you have had a stressful day at work then meditation is a great way to unwind and relax before going to bed.

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Profile image Written by Sarah Jones

Sarah is the author of Relax Everyday. She believes that achieving relaxation using strategies like meditation is the key to a healthy mind and body.