As 2016 begins to draw to an end (ok, so we’re only in November, but the new year is already peeping it’s head around the corner!) all of us here at Little Soap HQ are starting to reflect on the changes we’ve made to our lives over the last few months. We’ve been making a real effort to re-connect with ourselves, to switch off from mindless scrolling through social media and to really try and be present in the moment. We’ve written before about mindfulness, and staying in the moment so that we can live intentionally and really enjoy the amazing wonders all around us. And one way that we believe we can do this is through meditation. It may not be for everyone, but here are three reasons to start mediating, and we think they might just convince you to give it a go.
Lots of people find that practising meditation first thing in the morning actually helps them to wake up properly and prepare themselves for a busy day. So how does meditation boost your energy levels? How do those early morning meditators get through the day waking early and not reaching straight for an espresso? Simple. Meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system, meaning that when you practise, you trigger a deep state of relaxation. This deep state of relaxation actually stimulates energy boosting endorphins so that you feel more awake, more energised and more capable of getting through your day without caffeine. Not only that but meditation will also help to relax you so that you sleep better at the end of the day too. And if you’re sleeping better, it’s well known fact that you will be less stressed in general, and more able to tackle problems head on to find solutions.
Meditation will help you to lose weight
Yes, honestly! Ok, so sitting still for twenty minutes each day doesn’t sound like its going to burn too many calories, but stay with us here. As already mentioned, those who meditate tend to sleep better at night because generally they are more relaxed, less stressed and more likely to have increased energy levels. There have been so many studies into the links between sleep deprivation and weight gain, and the results are certain. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you’re going to make the wrong food choices because you’re more likely to reach for the foods that aren’t as nutritious as they could be. Not only that but because you’re sleep deprived, your body has gone into ‘fight mode’, meaning your levels of cortisol are unnaturally high. Because your body is fighting to keep you awake, your cortisol levels increase, and this forces your body to burn muscle instead of fat. That fat is then stored around the tummy, in preparation for the fight that your body assumes you’re about to have.
If you meditate, you will learn to relax, sleep better, eat better, and reduce your cortisol levels. Overall, this means you will be eating a more nutritional diet overall, and your body will be better equipped to burn fat. You’ll also find that the days of craving doughnuts are done. Result!
Meditation will make you happy
So, we now know that meditation is going to boost your energy levels and stop you feeling sluggish and tired without resorting to caffeine. And we also know that it’s going to help you to lose weight. Both of those things are going to improve your life, and that is ultimately going to make you happy, right? Of course! But just in case, its worth knowing that meditation itself can actually improve your mood and increase your happiness levels even further!
Meditation releases feel good hormones serotonin and oxytocin. Serotonin helps to maintain mood balance and is used widely in anti depressants. The hormone is naturally produced in our bodies and levels increase during meditation. Now add to this the fact that meditation also helps to increase the body’s level of oxytocin, also known as the ‘love’ hormone. Oxytocin helps us to bond (its produced during childbirth for this very reason) and increases our levels of empathy.
So there you have it : three reasons to start meditating. Have we convinced you?