Meditation for Mental Health and More
May is both Mental Health Month and Meditation Month, and while we are nearing the end of the month, I want to discuss the connection between these two important topics. Meditation can be a great tool for reducing anxiety and stress, which directly impacts one’s mental health. I’ve been a daily meditator for the past five years, after being a crisis or sporadic meditator for 2-3 years, meaning I would only meditate during stressful times.
I found short, guided meditations that hooked me in because I loved the teacher’s voice. While I didn’t notice much happening during the meditations, I began to notice what was happening to me after meditating. I felt calmer. My fuse wasn’t as short. I didn’t take things that didn’t go well as personally or get as upset about frustrating circumstances or people.
I’m not going to say I’m stress-free or that I don’t get frustrated now that I meditate. I’m human. Of course, I still do! However, I don’t get nearly as worked up as I did prior to having a daily meditation practice. I have noticed I’m more calm, patient, positive, and self-reflective since starting a regular meditation practice.
Recently, I’ve tried adding an evening meditation to my daily practice, which has been described to me as “the bookend to your day”. I recognize the benefits. It’s a nice transition from work to personal life, especially since there’s less differentiation when working at home. The evening meditation centers me and helps me reflect back on the intentions I set at the beginning of the day. I also sleep better after meditating in the evening or just before bed.
The benefits of meditation go well beyond stress management and improved sleep, and include increasing both creativity and empathy. Leaders report how a daily meditation practice has improved their leadership, improved their relationships with their team, and given them clarity. These benefits are more important than ever during the crisis we’re living through. I recommend meditation to all of my clients.
Consider beginning a meditation practice. Since June is fast approaching, it is the perfect time to begin – new month, new goals! There are a number of meditation apps and resources that can get you started. Feel free to reach out to me for a more robust list of meditation resources.