Cultures around the world have been practicing meditation for thousands of years. Today, meditation is enjoying a surge of popularity all over the United States. Perhaps that’s because daily meditation has so many health benefits, both physically and emotionally. From relieving stress to sharpening focus to promoting better sleep, meditation can improve many different aspects of your overall wellbeing – and in a hectic environment like New York City, these benefits can be truly life-changing. Read on to learn about six health reasons for daily meditation.
6 Reasons to Meditate Every Day
Meditation is for everyone. Whether you’re a complete beginner, an experienced expert, or somewhere in between – male, female, young, or elderly – you can reap the many health benefits of daily meditation. Just a few of these benefits are highlighted below.
Reason #1: Relaxation and Stress Reduction
Stress isn’t just a feeling or emotion – it’s a physical reaction that increases production of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” When cortisol levels rise, your body responds by releasing cytokines, which encourage an inflammatory response that can interfere with normal functioning.
A study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity in 2013 showed that certain types of meditation “resulted in a significantly smaller post-stress inflammatory response compared to [another group], despite equivalent levels of stress hormones.” In other words, there’s scientific evidence indicating that meditation can help manage stress (and reduce its harmful effects).
Reason #2: Increased Focus and Concentration
In some ways, smartphones and social media have made our lives easier than ever before. On the other hand, these same technologies may be contributing to shortened attention spans.
Meditating daily may help improve your ability to maintain concentration, according to a study published in Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience in 2007. The outcome of the study “suggest[ed] that mindfulness training may improve attention-related behavioral responses by enhancing… attention.”
Reason #3: Decreased Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are on the rise. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 40 million U.S. adults suffer from anxiety. The ADAA also reports that together, two common types of depression – major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) – affect over 19 million.
Several studies have shown that meditating can help patients achieve greater relief from depression and anxiety. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cites a review of nearly 50 trials involving over 3,500 participants which demonstrated “moderate evidence of improving anxiety and depression.” The NIH also notes that in 25 out of 36 trials analyzed in 2012, or nearly 70%, the participants who meditated “reported better outcomes” than their non-meditating counterparts when it came to anxiety relief.
Reason #4: Reduced Insomnia and Better Sleep
We’ve all spent sleepless nights worrying about a job, an interview, a bill, an illness, or another source of stress and anxiety. But for the tens of millions of Americans (and thousands of New Yorkers) who struggle with persistent insomnia or other sleep disorders, getting quality sleep is a nightly battle.
Daily meditation may help you let go of the physical tension and mental anxieties that are contributing to your sleeplessness. According to a study published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine in 2015, “Increasing evidence shows that mindfulness meditation… can be successfully used for the treatment of insomnia.” As an added benefit, these results were long-lasting and well-tolerated by the study participants.
Reason #5: Improved Memory
Memory can fade with age. However, research indicates that meditating can help to keep your memory clearer and sharper later in life. For instance, a 2014 study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences determined that “preliminary evidence suggests that meditation can offset age-related cognitive decline.”
Of course, you don’t have to be elderly to experience meditation’s benefits for your memory. People of all ages can hone their memory by taking time to meditate on a daily basis.
Reason #6: Better Cardiovascular Health
Over time, factors like stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep can take their toll on your heart – especially when you factor in a hectic work-week (or crammed social calendar) that doesn’t leave much room for restorative self-care. But city living feels like it’s driving you through the roof, there’s good news: meditation can lower your blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health.
The explanation lies in nitric oxide, a molecule that lowers blood pressure by expanding your blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily. Meditating helps you enter a relaxed state which stimulates the production of nitric oxide, lowering blood pressure. This effect was demonstrated by research featured in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2006, which showed that roughly two thirds of the participants – patients with high blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension) – improved enough to discontinue their medications.
NYC Mobile Meditation Classes Open for New Students
Be Time is a mobile meditation studio offering daily meditation sessions in locations all over New York City. Our New York meditation classes are designed to help busy urbanites enjoy a moment of calm and serenity to recharge, refresh, and reconnect. All sessions are enhanced by aromatherapy, chromotherapy (light/color therapy), and weighted blankets to help our students relax and unwind.
You don’t need to purchase any expensive equipment or special clothing: simply bring an open mind, an open heart, and a willingness to treat yourself and others with kindness. To sign up for a session or learn more about our classes (and where our bus is headed next), contact us online today.