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The Benefits of Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

Everyone nowadays is on the go. Whether that’s working, socialising, worrying about work and socialising, travelling or making plans for the future, it is hard to switch off and just… breathe. Add to this the ever evolving and life consuming machine that is social media and you have the perfect environment for high stress, burnout and increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Now, aside from complete societal collapse (it goes without saying that this would be a very bad thing), the pace and connectivity of the modern world is not going to change anytime soon. To deal with this, we need to set some time aside for ourselves, to take stock of how we are feeling, to centre ourselves and aim our focus on the things that are truly important and meaningful. Taking a holiday, changing jobs and trying to slow things down and enjoy the present moment are all good ways to do this, but a less drastic and time-consuming method is to introduce a daily practice of mindful meditation.


By no means is meditation a new thing, in fact it has been around in one form or another for centuries, and the benefits of engaging in meditation have been well researched in many different scientific studies. Regardless of this, many of us simply do not appreciate how powerful of a tool it can be, nor how little time we need to do it for to see and feel the benefits. People who regularly meditate for as little as five minutes a day have shown drastic improvements to their abilities to cope with stressful situations, emotionally regulate themselves and focus on tasks for extended periods of time. There are many reasons for this, but one of the main ones is meditation reduces levels of the hormone cortisol, which is commonly associated with stress. Contrary to popular belief, cortisol is not a bad thing. It is necessary for regulation of our circadian rhythm, or sleep wake cycle and helps prime the body for activity. What is bad is when cortisol is consistently high, as the body is always set to on, without any chance to rest. This can lead to a plethora of problems, such as issues with sleep, weight gain and the development of certain diseases. People who meditate regularly tend to report sleeping and eating better, as well as less feelings of tiredness and overall tend to feel a lot more “level” throughout their daily lives.

Meditation and weight management

Another benefit of regular meditation is that it has been shown to help promote weight loss and have a positive effect on how we perceive our bodies. While there isn’t a direct link between the practice of meditation and burning more calories, there is a link between calming the mind and increasing awareness of the body and being able to deal with food cravings.

As mentioned earlier, consistently high levels of cortisol can lead to issues with weight gain, mainly through an increased drive to eat calorie dense food, more often. By leveling off cortisol through regular meditation, the drive to eat such food is reduced, which makes it easier to both reduce weight and maintain a healthy body composition.

Exercise and meditation

Regular exercise by itself has a huge range of benefits, ranging from improvements to physical appearance and performance through to positively impacting mental health and staving off anxiety and depression. Meditating before and/or after an exercise session can help to further augment these benefits. Being able to calm the mind and increase focus can help to increase the drive and motivation to work out – this is particularly useful for people who have busy lives and may lack the will to commit to a regular exercise regime. Also, for individuals who compete in performance related sports and activities, meditation can help to calm the nerves and reduce overthinking, which is useful for getting into a flow state and performing at peak capacity.

Mindfully meditating after an exercise session has also been shown to help with recovery. The focus on breathing and relaxation can help to boost circulation and oxygen delivery, which in turn helps to remove waste byproducts that build up when working out and supply tired muscles with much needed nutrients and energy.

Takeaway message

Regular meditation is a simple yet powerful practice that can have a drastic effect on our lives. Dedicating even just five minutes a day to meditation has been shown to help people deal better with stressful situations, aim and maintain focus on important tasks, reduce feelings of tiredness and burnout, and improve physical and mental performance. It is a tool that everyone can use to reduce stress and better their own lives.

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