Local leader | Mental Health: Why should you learn to meditate?

You’re stressed, not coping at work or home, maybe your blood pressure has gone up, and your friend tells you to meditate. You hear about it all the time, but why should you meditate?

Meditation has been in the Western world for a long time now, something that used to be for hippies or alternatives, but long ago made its way into the mainstream. There’s quite a lot of research to back up claims that meditation is “good for you”, in very specific ways. A long-term study that showed a decrease in blood pressure and mortality for those who meditate – a difference of 30 percent compared to those who didn’t meditate. Statistics aside, meditation has been linked to increased happiness, improved relationships, increased productivity, better recovery rates after surgery, and so much more. Most importantly, meditation can improve your mental health, and manage your symptoms better.

Linda Burgess

Linda Burgess

In that case, why wouldn’t you learn to meditate?

Sometimes we need a prompt to do something that we know that’s good for us. I set a timer on my phone to remind me to do the things that I know I should but aren’t habit yet. Post-it notes in convenient places can be useful, as is a note in your calendar. Once you make it a habit, the same time every day, you won’t need the prompts, but first you have to want to get started.

How do you start then?

There are loads of apps and websites that can get you started: Smiling Mind gives you a range of meditations, Breathe helps to just focus your breath, which can be particularly helpful for anxiety, Insight Timer links you to guided meditations. Start with a five-minute meditation, make at the same time daily. If you’re the manager at work, introducing a 10-minute meditation at the start of the day can see an increase in workplace happiness and productivity.

  • Linda is an art therapist and social worker.

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