By: Claire Hannum, Travel & Wellness Writer
You know meditation is good for you, so why aren’t you doing it yet? Yes, you’ll feel more calm if you meditate, but that’s just the cherry on top of the dozens of other scientifically proven benefits you’ll experience.
The benefits of meditation are not just about vague, intangible improvements (though those are pretty great too.) It’s about real deal changes to your life, and the best part? You can unlock all these benefits with just a few minutes a day. You can be the person in good health despite the stress around her, the coworker who always has her projects done early without overwhelm, and the friend known as the best listener. It doesn’t take superpowers. What it takes a simple meditation practice. And all you have to do is start.
As we say at Unplug, “working in is just as important as working out.” Here are some of the most exciting scientifically-backed benefits of working in.
You can curb overeating.
Meditation can help tackle emotional eating and help you enjoy food in a richer, more satisfying way. Several studies on meditation and mindful eating have found that a meditation practice can help you find calm amid the urge to reach for an unhealthy snack. Guided meditations focused on eating can help reduce binging and help you explore the emotional reasons behind why you’re compelled to eat when you’re not hungry. The best part? When you do decide to eat something delicious, a mindfulness practice can help you fully savor every last bite.
You can go with the flow in high-stress situations.
You know that chest-tightening, mind-racing sensation you wake up to each morning and carry with you through the day? Yeah, you don’t have to live like that. A daily mindfulness practice can help you shift from feeling overwhelmed at every turn to finding your center in moments of pressure. Meditation is scientifically proven to help reduce stress. Some research has found that meditation may even help ease symptoms of stress-related health issues, like fibromyalgia and IBS.
No life is completely devoid of stressful moments (nor should it be!), but when true high-pressure situations do turn up, meditation can help you feel equipped to handle it from a place of calm instead of making knee-jerk decisions out of panic.
You’ll like yourself (and your life!) better.
Meditation makes it easier to treat yourself with the kindness you’ve always deserved. Practicing meditation regularly can help quiet your nasty inner critic. It can also help deepen your sense of optimism and joy, so not only will you love yourself more, you’ll love your life more too! A long-term meditation practice may help decrease symptoms of depression by reducing mood-dampening chemicals in the brain. Essentially, you’re paving a pathway in your mind for optimistic thoughts to flow more freely.
You can hustle like never before - without straining yourself.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever procrastinated on a project you couldn’t focus on by Googling how to focus better. (We’ll wait.) The answer to increasing your attention span is actually inside the mind, and you can build your focus muscle through meditation.
When you start meditating regularly, you might find that you can sustain your attention for longer periods of time and regain focus faster when your mind does stray. In fact, some research has found that meditation might even reverse negative mind patterns that contribute to lack of focus. Get ready to turn out some of the best focused work of your life - without wasting half the day trying to get your mind into the zone first.
You can finally get that coveted eight hours of sleep.
Good sleep doesn’t have to be a rare luxury! Imagine finally waking up feeling rested, focused, and maybe even - gasp - excited to get out of bed and start your day. Meditation can help you fall asleep faster and stay dozing for longer, and it’s especially helpful if you suffer from insomnia. Meditation can help your mind learn to redirect those racing, anxious thoughts that pop up right when your head hits the pillow. It can help you let go of the stressors of the day and finally drift off into the kind of deep, restorative sleep that can help you take on the next morning like a pro.
And that’s just the beginning! The Unplug app’s 500+ guided meditations cover the whole gamut of topics from mindful eating, work focus, parenting, and everything in between. This simple practice can turn your world upside down for the better - so what are you waiting for?