Have you ever wished you could “reboot” your brain during a particularly taxing stretch of your workday? One thing that might help is mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation has been around for thousands of years, but it’s only been popular in the Western world for the past few decades.
Can mindfulness meditation help clear your mind or help you stay sharp? Can it rewire your brain, in a manner of speaking? It appears meditation might deliver substantial benefits to your mental health and physical health.
How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work?
In a nutshell, this form of meditation is a sort of exercise for the brain. It may help with brain fog, and support energy levels.
To practice mindful meditation, you basically turn all your focus for a few minutes on the sensations you’re experiencing at that precise moment. Most people find a comfortable spot to sit in an upright position for about 10 or so. Focus on sensations such as how your diaphragm moves with each breath, or how air flows through your nostrils. If your thoughts wander, that’s fine. The more you practice mindfulness meditation, the better you will get at staying in the present.1
Mindfulness Meditation: Potential Benefits
Proponents of mindfulness meditation say it may help ease feelings of stress and anxiety, leaving them refreshed and ready to take on whatever challenges the day may hold.2
Just as regular exercise benefits your overall health, mindfulness meditation may support brain health. According to one study, people who performed this form of meditation showed a decrease in the volume of an area of the brain known as the amygdala. This area governs how you process anxiety, stress, and fear. So, it appears that meditation may be able to change the way certain negative feelings are perceived.3
There is also evidence that meditation might support concentration. Researchers conducting a study found that people can substantially improve their focus after as little as two weeks of meditation.4
Meditation And Anxiety
One of the biggest reasons people meditate is to ease stress – and there is solid scientific research that suggests it does just that. One team of researchers found that as little as 20 minutes of meditation might be able to help those who experience anxiety.5
Meditation And Brain Fog
Some people like to take a nap during the day, believing a little bit of sleep in the afternoon can improve their focus. Others like to get out of the office and walk around in the fresh air to clear their minds. Still, others believe a strong cup of coffee is all they need to banish any brain fog they may be experiencing.
As it turns out, there is a good deal of evidence that meditation can help you achieve a similar result. One of the more interesting findings of one study is that you don’t necessarily have to practice meditation for years in order to support your cognitive abilities.
Researchers found that people who only had four days of training in mindfulness meditation – and only practiced it for 20 minutes a day – showed substantial improvement in their cognitive skills.6
Stress And Anxiety? Know When To See A Doctor Or Mental Health Professional
In times of extremely high stress, meditation alone probably isn’t enough. If you’re suffering from stress and/or anxiety so much that it affects your everyday life – or even your sleep – please don’t continue to struggle on your own. There’s absolutely no shame in getting help from a professional.
Getting help from a qualified professional may be exactly what you need in order to regain control of your emotions and find happiness.
There is also a chance that in addition to professional care, meditation could help as well. As you can see, there is strong evidence backing up what meditation proponents believe – the practice may not only provide benefits to the mind but the body as well.
You don’t have to be an expert in order to reap those benefits. Setting aside just a few minutes a day could help you in ways you might not have thought were possible.