Life can be stressful and overwhelming at times, and this can cause strain on your body and mind. It’s important to check in on your body and give it the care it needs. Meditation is a great way to do just that. Meditation is a practice of staying focused and in the moment while retaining a clear and stable mind. It also has a range of benefits for your overall health.
Here, HazelHill Family Practice sets out some of those great benefits meditation can have on your mind and body.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Practicing meditation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. When you are anxious or stressed your brain releases a hormone called cortisol, which is released by the adrenal glands. Having high cortisol is not good for your health as it can put you at risk of having high blood pressure, weight gain and even have a negative impact on your gut health. Meditation can reduce your stress and anxiety because according to studies it can reduce these cortisol levels. 
Practising meditation can also increase your serotonins levels. Serotonin plays an important role in the body as it is a neurotransmitter that sends messages back and forth between nerve cells. One of its many functions is to stabilise your mood. When you meditate you receive an increase in serotonin, so your mood becomes more balanced which helps to fight against stress and anxiety.
Reducing blood pressure
Practicing meditation also reduces blood pressure. According to studies, when you mediate your nitric oxide levels in your body increase, which plays an important role in a body’s blood pressure. Nitric oxide is responsible for opening your blood vessels, which increases blood flow thus lowering your blood pressure.
Meditation has even been proven to improve people’s memory. Studies by Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program show that participants who practiced medication for 27 minutes a day over a period of 8 weeks, found an “increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus”. 
An increase in gray matter density has a positive impact on your memory, learning and concentration.
Helps you sleep
If you have ever struggled to get to sleep, meditation is a great tool to encourage sleep. Not only does meditation help to clear your mind and relax your body, but it also increases your melatonin levels in your body.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone which is produced in the brain by the pineal gland. This hormone is important as it helps to encourage and promote sleep. According to studies, “Meditation increases melatonin concentration by slowing its hepatic metabolism or augmenting the synthesis in the pineal gland.” 
Meditation is a great way to keep your body and mind healthy, but it does take time and practice. According to Healthline, you should see results after 8 weeks of meditating for 13 minutes a day. This may seem like a lot of work but trust us the benefits of reduced stress and anxiety, improves memory, sleep and digestion are all worth it.