Stress Awareness Month: can meditation help you?

As you may or may not know, April is stress awareness month. This was set up in 1992 as a way of raising awareness of stress causes and how together we are able to help find cures or coping mechanisms to deal with the stresses in many people’s daily life. The world that we live in for many causes stress; whether that be work, family, personal or global issues.

In particular the last few years have caused masses of stress to millions of people across the world, all trying to carry on with their lives during a global pandemic. This has meant that a lot of people are now searching for help and support regarding their stress.

This year the theme of stress awareness month is community. Which is something which relates to isolation, loneliness all of which can have a massive impact on someone’s mental health and wellbeing. The theme of community can be interpreted in many different ways but building connections with others can have a massive impact on relieving stress.

Something which a lot of people can benefit from when dealing with stress is meditation. Meditation is a great tool to help destress. It can also provide someone with a community to be a part of. There are more and more apps and tools online which offer guided meditation.

By experimenting with meditation and using these tools as a way to start your mindfulness journey with others. The benefits of meditation have been identified and recorded for years and years, some of which are listed below:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations.
  • Building skills to manage your stress.
  • Increasing self-awareness.
  • Focusing on the present.
  • Reducing negative emotions.
  • Increasing imagination and creativity.
  • Increasing patience and tolerance.

These are just to name a few benefits of meditation. There are thousands out there which you may find when you start using meditation in daily life.

In a study from 2016, meditation was shown to have a longer lasting effect on reducing stress than a vacation. After 10 months of meditating, vacationers’ stress levels returned to what they were while meditators continued to experience reduced stress levels.

Meditation isn’t necessarily going to eliminate stress from your life. It is a tool in which to help an individual to manage their stress. The ultimate goal is to alter our mindsets and how we view stress. By doing this we are able to gain more perspective and hopefully lessen the implications on our physical and mental health that stress can sometimes cause.

As mentioned above there are many new tools to engage in guided meditation. Some of which include:

  • Headspace – Best for sleep
  • Calm – Best overall
  • Ten percent Happier Meditation – Best for beginners
  • Buddhify – Best guided
  • Unplug – Best for focus
  • Simple Habit – Best selection

These ratings have been awarded by this year. With more people than ever trying out and exploring this new way to meditate and destress from life.

A 2018 study — in which participants used the Headspace app — found that 8 weeks of meditation in the workplace resulted in a 46% decrease in distress and a 31% reduction in negative feelings. “Brief mindfulness training has a beneficial impact on several aspects of psychosocial well-being,” it concluded.

You can start with just five minutes each day and build up from there. It won’t always come naturally and over time you will be able to progress more and more – enhancing the meditation.

The main focus almost always being on the breath. Taking just a couple of minutes to do this can benefit someone’s wellness – they are able to take themselves out of a situation and be able to gain a sense of calm. Why not give it ago?

Meditation can have many health benefits, from mental to physical and emotional. If you are searching for something to reduce stress, improve focus or deal with depression, chronic pain, or addiction, you should give it a try and see if it's right for you.