What actually happens to your body when you meditate?

The science behind meditation

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Wellbeing and self-care day ideas are at the forefront of our minds right now, especially after a year of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress. So it's no wonder meditation has become an increasingly popular practice for coping and taking time to relax (especially thanks to the best meditation apps out there), but what actually happens to our bodies when we do it?

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What happens to your body when you meditate?

Sharing the benefits of meditation, an expert from fitness brand IRunFar has explained that meditating can helps us achieve a “mentally clear and calm emotional state." And how does it impact our bodies? 

Your blood pressure lowers

A study conducted by Kent State University showed that people who practiced meditation had significant decreases in blood pressure measurements. “Meditating affects activity in the nervous system and alters the expression of genes linked to the immune system,” IRunFar explain. “Although meditation should not be used as a sole remedy for high blood pressure, it’s proven to help alongside a balanced diet and frequent exercise.”

Your stress levels are reduced 

“Meditation triggers the body’s relaxation response and restores the body to a calm state, which is the exact opposite reaction to stress. Practicing meditation can calm your mind and body by stopping the stress-induced thoughts."

Can reduce symptoms of depression

Findings from a study conducted at John Hopkins University showed that successful bouts of frequent meditation can have similar effects as taken anti-depressants. “Successful meditation practice can alter your reactions to feelings of stress and anxiety, which are triggers for depression,” IRunFar explain. “Over time, meditation will train the brain to achieve sustained focus.”

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How to start

We know what you’re thinking—that all sounds great, but how do you even do it effectively or start?

There are loads of ways to practice meditation, you can follow guided meditations through apps, or videos like Netflix's Headspace. IRunFar recommends starting with the basics.

  • Find a comfortable, quiet place. Like a patch of carpet where the sun is hitting, the garden, your bed, or a nice spot on the sofa.
  • Find a time that suits you, so you can practice regularly 
  • Sit comfortably and just follow your breath, breath in and out and try to clear your mind
  • Remember there's no pressure, you don’t need to meditate for hours. It can be as long as you like, the key is regularity. Even if it’s just for 10 / 15 minutes every morning or night.
Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is trainee news writer who writes for My Imperfect life, Woman & Home and Goodto. Naomi writes articles from fashion trends and skincare to entertainment news.