While some people are wasting time and energy panicking, others are using this time of self-isolation to form positive habits. One such habit is meditation. There's plenty of empirical scientific support for meditation. But now, especially, is a good time to get started.
Here are three reasons to do so:
Meditation may boost the immune system.
Coronavirus is a highly infectious disease and no one is saying that meditation will protect you against it. However, several studies have shown that meditation may be able to strengthen the immune system by positively impacting genes involved with the infectious cycle.
Using regular self-hypnosis as a relaxation technique has had positive effects on Lymphocytes—a type of white blood cell which helps produce antibodies and destroy cells which could cause damage. Meditation’s capacity to reduce stress levels can have a knock-on effect in improving the immune system, given the fact that stress is associated with a diminished immune response.
Meditation can help relieve anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation has a proven track record in helping manage and alleviate anxiety. Not only does this help reduce stress levels—and thus potentially improve the immune system—but it also helps people manage the increased level of anxiety which comes from being in the middle of a pandemic like coronavirus.
Mindfulness meditation involves staying in the present moment, without dwelling on the past or the future, and accepting your feelings and emotions as perfectly valid. This is in vast contrast to getting caught up in worries about what may or may not happen during this pandemic
Meditation can help us to improve emotional health.
At a time when people may be self-isolating, worrying about finances, socially distancing from loved ones, and feeling concerned about contracting coronavirus, meditation can help improve emotional health and can help manage depression which is exacerbated by stress.
If meditation is new to you, here are a few tips to get started:
Use a good app. Until you’ve become used to meditating, it can be a bit tricky at the start. There are loads of great apps out there including the Waking Up app, which is great for both beginners and longtime meditators and offers daily guided meditations.
Be patient with yourself. Training the brain is like training any other muscle. Be patient and understanding with yourself while you’re learning.
Keep it short to start off with. Meditation requires you to use your brain in a very different way. At first, it will take effort. Do regular, short bursts and gradually build up the amount of time you spend during any one meditation session.
Set a regular time of day. Meditation is a habit, and you’re much more likely to implement it if you set a specific time of day and incorporate it into your routine.
Make it enjoyable! Meditation is fun. Get nice and comfy, maybe light a candle or some relaxing music, and enjoy.
Do it regularly. To experience the benefits of meditation, you need to do it regularly. Short bursts regularly are far better than attempting a half-hour meditation now and again.