Meditation Part 1: What Is It, and Why Should You Practice It?

Rynnie Cotter

Have you ever wondered, “what is meditation and what’s the big hype?” Many people sing its praises. Some have even dedicated their lives to it. So what is the big deal? What exactly is meditation, and how can it improve your life? Here at Sworkit Health, we partnered with experts to create meditation guides that are accessible to all. And here’s what we discovered. 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is, in short, the practice of clearing your mind. Instead of trying to make space for all the crazy, stressful details vying for your attention, you let all of that go and zone in on a single focal point for a certain period of time. While it certainly takes concentration to empty your mind, it is well worth the effort.  Taking the time to slow down and be quiet has proven to affect both the mind and the body positively. 

What should you focus your mind on while you meditate? This can differ. For instance, you might think of it as sitting cross-legged and saying, “Om.” In this scenario, your mind focuses so intently on one syllable that other thoughts become silent, allowing you to release your anxiety. There are many other ways to meditate as well. Many choose to zone in on their breathing (like in this easy routine). Others repeat a mantra (e.g., “I will be calm and confident today”). Still, others focus on holding a physical posture. Look for our next article for more details about these differences!

Practice It Anywhere

One of the best things about meditation is that anyone can practice it. There is no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money. No equipment is needed. There are no complicated prerequisites to complete before you begin. You don’t need to set aside a ton of time or have an exclusive location. You can meditate for five minutes or fifty minutes. Additionally, you can practice mindfulness at work, at home, while waiting to pick up your kids from school, in the car before a first date – anywhere, anytime! Plus, meditation benefits all kinds of people. Even children can practice meditation and benefit from it!

Meditation and the Mind

Meditation is what we might call a psycho-somatic practice. This means it connects both the mind (psycho) and the body (soma). It keeps you grounded and helps you see yourself as a whole person. How exactly? First, let’s discuss the effects on the mind. Meditation is known to relieve stress and anxiety. Even when practiced for just 5 to 10 minutes a day, it greatly reduces your mental load. This ancient practice frees your mind to live in the moment and think more creatively. It can vastly improve your mood and even your self-image, especially if you are focusing on mantras that lift you up.  

How It Affects Your Body

It makes sense that meditation positively affects the mind. But what about the body? Does it have benefits for your physical side as well? The answer is a resounding yes! First, it helps you become aware of your body. Since your mind is cleared, you have space to focus on your body. You suddenly begin to notice if you are comfortable or not. Meditation helps you release tension in your body, which leads to fewer headaches (and other aches and pains). Your blood pressure and heart rate lower to a healthier place after meditation. It even improves the quality of your sleep.

Is meditation starting to sound like a good idea? We think so. And if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We have your back. With Sworkit’s Mindfulness + Meditations collection, you can get started today.

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