Meditation has a whole host of benefits. Encouraging clients to carve out just 5 to 10 minutes of their day to focus on breathing and calming thoughts can go a long way. Research has found that meditation can improve focus, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It can even help in the treatment of addiction, and soothe pain. It might take some time to make it a habit, but it’s worth it to promote positive mental health. Let’s dive into some of the benefits
Helps manage anxiety and depression
A study from Johns Hopkins university found that meditation had the same effect size as antidepressants on reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain.
Another study found that mindfulness showed a reduction in Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). 93 individuals who were diagnosed with GAD completed an 8-week Manualized Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction group program with stress management education. At the end of the 8-weeks, participants showed a significant reduction in anxiety and an increase in positive self-statements.
Strengthens the brain
A study found that people who maintained a long-term meditation practice lowered the negative impacts of aging on the brain. Importantly, those who had been meditating for an average of 20 years had more grey matter in their brains. Naturally, older meditators showed greater volume loss than young ones due to the regular aging process — but this volume loss was less pronounced than non-meditators. The researchers were expecting “ small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,” but what they found instead was widespread effects. Overall, the results showed that meditation has a positive effect on the entire brain.
Beneficial at any age
Meditation is a practice, so the earlier clients start, the better. Meditation can have immense positive impacts on younger brains, setting them up for lifetime success. In fact, some schools have even started implementing meditation in their curriculum. By implementing 30 minutes of meditation per day, a high-risk San-Francisco school district saw a 79% decrease in suspensions, a 98% attendance rate, and a .4% increase in GPA. Overall, the students were less angry, calmer, and more mindful.
The most important metric for meditation is consistency. Training the brain is like training a muscle — if you don’t lose it, you lose it. Teaching clients to see meditation as a lifestyle helps keep them on-track and growing in their practice. The best part is, it doesn’t have to be complicated! It can be as simple as noticing small moments in their day: What are the sights and smells around them? Is something cold to the touch? What can they smell? Are the colours in the environment dull or vibrant? These check-ins are anchors that clients can advantage of at anytime to tune into their bodies and set the right intentions for the rest of the day.
A digital homework app like Therachat is an innovative tool counsellors can use to support their client’s meditation practice. It offers features like daily homework reminders, skill-building activities, emotion tracking, and mindfulness exercises. Overall, it’s a way to stay connected to your clients and support them as they meet their goals.
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