Did you know that the average person meditates two to three times per week? And with the current state of the world, those numbers may be increasing. Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor with Mayo Clinic’s Department of Integrative Medicine and Health, has suggested meditation as a powerful tool for dealing with the current pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You might practice [meditation] three or four times a day,” she says. “Maybe not the entire meditation but even if you can get in 10 breathes that may be enough to notice a shift in your inner experience.”

But why? What do you stand to gain from a few minutes of quiet mindfulness? Plenty! Here are just three benefits of meditation:

Helps Diminish Vices

Meditation, believe it or not, can help you fight off your addictions. During times of hardship, those struggling with addiction can be in danger of relapse. “Through mindfulness meditation, we light up and build up the left-prefrontal cortex, associated with optimism, self-observation, and compassion, allowing ourselves to cease being dominated by the right-prefrontal cortex, which is associated with fear, depression, anxiety, and pessimism,” says Ronald Alexander, PhD. That leaves you with a calm mind and gives you back the control and confidence you need to stay strong.

Lowers Stress Levels

One of the most important ways that meditation can help us during these unprecedented times is by providing a calm method with which to reduce stress levels. “It gives us the space to sort out which demands on our energy, attention, and emotions are valid and which are not,” says Maria Camara, PhD. “We feel pressure when we don’t have this space in our minds and in our lives.” Relief, then, comes as we meditate upon these demands and organize our priorities.

Regulates Our Anxiety

The American Physiological Association defines anxiety as “persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even in the absence of a stressor.” They add that it “leads to a nearly identical set of symptoms as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension and irritability.” Meditation can aid us in performance and keep us motivated, but in times uncertain such as these, an abundance of worrying about the future can hinder our quality of life. Meditation can help bring us back to our proverbial center and teach us to let go of unnecessary anxiety.

Here at West Fifth, we want to be sure all our residents are enjoying their time as much as possible. Meditation is just the tool we all need to overcome our vices and fight stress and anxiety. Dedicate some time every day to quiet mindfulness. We know it will help us all as we strive to “Live Happy!”