Mental health is an increasingly pervasive topic in today’s society, especially as we all seek to cope with the loneliness and stress that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. More people choose to prioritize their mental health and are working to remove the stigma around seeking help.
The unfortunate fact is that women experience depression at a rate roughly twice that of men, according to Mental Health America. About 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year, with the illness setting in most frequently in women ages 25-44. Yet, it’s easy for women to put their own mental health on the back burner as they instead prioritize other things over their wellbeing. Add to that the fact that mental health care is expensive and insurance sometimes does not cover it, and you have a recipe for millions of women to go without taking care of their mental health.
Although it can be challenging to find the time, women should prioritize their mental health in 2022, and one of the best ways to do so is through meditation. This ancient practice combines breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and focusing on mindfulness to achieve a state of peaceful calm. Meditation is an inexpensive (even free!) way to benefit your mental health, and you can start with just a few minutes per day.
There is no shortage of skeptics who don’t believe in the impacts of sitting quietly and reflecting on one’s thoughts and feelings. But numerous scientific studies covering decades have shown that meditation can reduce mental challenges like anxiety and depression and help with physical issues like high blood pressure.
The mental benefits of meditation go beyond stress relief to include the reduction of anxiety and depression reduction, as well as improved self-esteem, self-awareness, concentration, or compassion. In some cases, research has shown that meditation helps fight against addiction and controls pain.
Is Meditation Difficult?
When you think of meditation, you might think of people sitting in dark rooms, contorted into complex yoga-esque poses, breathing deeply for hours on end. But in truth, you can meditate pretty much anytime, anywhere. Some people can clear their minds more easily than others. However, you can learn to free your mind of intrusive thoughts with practice. All you need is a quiet place and a few minutes to yourself to get started. And remember, there’s no one giving out grades for meditation. As long as you are committed and consistent, you’re doing it right.
How Can I Learn to Meditate?
As mental health has increased in prominence in the U.S., more people have turned to meditation for help. That trend has resulted in a boom of companies, individuals, websites, and blogs that offer to help improve your mindfulness or teach you how to meditate. You can find a meditation studio in your city or even an individual practitioner who will instruct you one-on-one. Or, if you’d prefer the privacy and flexibility of meditating in your own home, you can use a website or app to guide you. These guided meditations can be as short as a few minutes and usually begin by teaching you the basics of meditation before going into more depth.
Mental health is the foundation for the rest of your life. Your work, relationships, obligations, physical health expectations, and overall happiness begin with mental health. Take care of your mind in 2022 by giving meditation a try, and see how it affects your wellbeing.