In the past, when things became overwhelming or when you were feeling stressed, you’ve told yourself to take a deep breath—to take a moment to relax. Have you ever wondered why this works? Meditation can actually help improve mental health, especially when practiced regularly. Here are some ways that this happens.
1. Boost Positive Thinking
Without even realizing it, negative thoughts can creep in and affect our mood. Whether it’s about ourselves, others or circumstances around us, our natural line of thinking can quickly become negative without us even realizing it. When we are intentional about our thoughts we can choose to be more positive. This, in return, boosts our mood and help us feel less anxious.
2. Engage the Rational
Biologically speaking, there are parts of our brain that process things logically and others that process things illogically. While both are important, sometimes the balance is tipped and strong emotions can overrule rational thinking. Meditation allows you to relax these racing emotions and to engage rational, logical thinking to understand truths and problem solve effectively. This is particularly beneficial for those struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety.
3. Practice Presence
Living with a mental health condition can often mean that you are “living inside your head” a lot. Practicing meditation allows you to bring awareness into your body and your physical surroundings. As a result, you will be able to better enjoy positive things happening around you and to face negative circumstances as they come.
4. Increase Physical Health
Our bodies and our minds are very interconnected—more so than we may sometimes realize. Therefore, if our bodies feel better, our minds often feel better too. Another positive by-product of meditation is that it can help our physical well-being by lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain and improving sleep patterns. All of these positive physical effects can help our minds feel positive as well.
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