Need a Vacation? Try Meditation!

MeditationonBeach

Sitting out on a sunny beach, cocktail in hand, with no worries in the world would feel good right about now. Some of my best memories involve the times I’ve made time for a vacation. It’s a way to kick back, relax, and leave stress behind.

The only problem with taking a vacation is that one day it will be over. We go back to the daily grind, with stress seemingly always on the mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to always experience the benefits of taking a vacation – even if you don’t really go anywhere?

Thanks to the power of mindfulness meditation, you actually can.

Regular Meditation Helps with Stress and Depression

We all know that regular meditation can help with stress. I’ve talked in the past about how it can help with depression when included in a thorough treatment plan. Now there are studies which have followed people over several months to show that not only are the improvements profound, but they are long-term in nature.

In fact, the people who benefit the most from regular meditation are those that have never really practiced meditation in the past.

Over the course of 10 months, a small study included volunteers who were divided into three groups. One group was experienced at meditation, the second were beginners, and the third group was told that they could just go on vacation. Everyone got to do some fun stuff in the sun, they listen to some health lectures that were probably a little boring, and practiced self-reflective exercises over the course of a week.

Then those given the “vacation” role in the study got to quit. The meditators kept on going. And in 10 months, here is what they found.

Beginning Meditation Offers Significant Improvements to the Aging Process

I think what is so striking about the results of this study is that it shows how any effort at getting away from stress will improve personal health. Even those in the “vacation” group showed significant benefits when they were away from their stress. The only problem was that once they stopped being on vacation, their stress-relief benefits stopped as well.

Those who were already meditating regularly also saw significant benefits in the 10-month study period. It was those who were beginners that saw the most benefits in this study. Not only did they experience the mental benefits of meditation, but there were physical changes as well. There were improved immune function marker and healthier aging indicators.

What does this mean? That if we can take just 15 minutes to meditate every day, then the mind is given the opportunity to go on vacation. You might be surrounded by the noise and stress of this world. Your mind, when meditating, has kicked back on a beach and is enjoying some sand, surf, and sun.

In addition to meditation, Yoga has been found to be able to enhance these benefits even further. So if you can begin to meditate or add some Yoga to your routine, you’re giving yourself a mini-vacation every day.

What has helped you find time to meditate every day?