You have probably heard of meditation before and thought to yourself that you don’t have time for it in your hectic life of being a parent. The thing is, meditation has numerous benefits, both mentally and physically, helping to reduce stress, and can improve happiness. You don’t have to sit alone with your thoughts for that long either, with amazing apps guiding you and your children towards improved mental health.
What is Meditation?
It is an ancient wellness practice that originated in Eastern wellness traditions. It’s difficult to define as it covers a large range of practices across many traditions. Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique to achieve mental clarity and emotional calmness. It has many links with mindfulness which is about bringing one’s attention to the present moment without any judgment.
When you are a parent, a moment’s peace and quiet can feel like a blissful present. Surprisingly enough, Meditation is even better than this as it comes with additional health benefits. Dr. David Cox, chief medical officer at Headspace, said that;
“There’s evidence that mindfulness can have a beneficial impact on psoriasis, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lower back pain, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and insomnia”,
Lots of people turn towards meditation to help with stress and how to reduce it whilst juggling a hectic lifestyle. Too much stress can increase levels of cortisol which is the stress hormone. This affects the release of inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines, affecting sleep, increased depression, anxiety and blood pressure.
There is more research that has shown that meditation also improves symptoms of stress-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
Some meditations help create a more positive outlook on life, improving self-image and lessening symptoms of depression. One study showed that people who completed meditation exercises have fewer negative thoughts towards negative images than those who didn’t meditate beforehand.
This is owing to inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. These are released in response to stress which can be a big aspect of mood and depression. By meditating, it can reduce these chemicals, allowing you to better deal with negative situations.
Some meditation can increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others. This is known as metta, a loving-kindness meditation, starting with developing kind thoughts towards yourself. Through practice and dedication, followers learn to extend this kindness externally, starting with friends, then acquaintances, and finally your enemies. The more time spent in metta meditation practice, the more positive feelings one has.
Apps and Shows
If this article has got you in the mood to try some meditation, then a good place to start is HeadSpace. This app has short meditation listens that are good for beginners. They have also released a new Netflix show ‘A Guide to Meditation’ which covers a range of ways to meditate, with beautifully animated images that will have the whole family in a good mood.