Mindfulness meditation is one form of meditation that has been practiced for thousands of years. It has been passed down from teacher to student through a long standing oral tradition. Meditation has numerous benefits but when I was recently asked why it is so important, I had to pause before answering. The answer is in the descriptions of those who practice as they describe their personal journeys. Their reflections usually end with a similar phrase; “It saved my life.” This isn’t uttered with a hint of melodrama. It is said with the strength that it just is. I would have to count myself among those uttering the same words.
I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for four years. I have experienced my own personal benefits leading to a shift in my professional career as a nutritionist and mindful eating teacher. Scientifically proven, mindfulness meditation when practiced consistently decreases stress, reduces anxiety and depression, as well as ameliorating pain. This practice also increases mood, executive function, body satisfaction, and memory. These are all impactful truths, empowering for those practicing, and important for emotional well-being. I am blessed to have experienced many of these benefits, but what I find so incredible are the subtler, positive benefits. I find that I am able to sleep better enabling better food choices. I can respond to family situations with greater compassion. I am able to be kinder to myself during moments of stress, and therefore make better decisions. My life feels more real, more whole-heartedly lived. I am able to relate to my family, friends, and clients with greater compassion and connection. Isn’t this what we, as human beings, are striving for in this life? For these powerful reasons, I affirm that meditation saved my life.