The benefits of meditation and 3 apps to get started

One of the ways to regain physical and mental well-being is to practise meditation.

The benefits are scientifically proven and allow you to reduce stress, be more focused, better understand your body, control anxiety and much more.

In today’s article we will list some of its main benefits and recommend 3 apps for meditating, which are useful for those who are new to it or for those who prefer a vocal guide in order to focus more.

We have also included a podcast on Spotify, for the users of this app.

Saying that we lead increasingly hectic and stressful lives is not a cliché.

Haste and physical and mental exertion only increase stress levels, putting the organism in a state of perpetual alarm and fatigue.

It is difficult to maintain such rhythms on a daily basis, so in the long run we end up paying the price and, almost without realising it, become accustomed to living in a state of breathlessness, most often developing submissive, nervous and impatient attitudes.

Often – in this whirlwind of unpleasant sensations – we long for Happiness, a desirable concept, but by its very nature not very tangible, elusive and indefinite.

Then, why not try to cultivate your own inner well-being from a different point of view, by getting in tune with your deepest self through meditation?

Focusing on the present moment, breathing deeply, feeling your muscles free of tension, relaxing every part of your body, clearing your mind from dark and intrusive thoughts: these are just some of the effects of a single meditation session.

Meditating is good for you: the reasons

The first benefit is the reduction of stress.

Numerous scientific studies show that cortisol levels (the hormone produced by the body when in a state of psycho-physical stress) decrease along with the body’s inflammatory response.

The direct consequence is that by practising meditation, one gains better control over anxiety, which is automatically triggered by problems or complicated periods.

Thanks to meditative practices, you can recognise the first wake-up calls and nip them in the bud through deep breathing, re-establishing the connection with your body and preventing the situation from getting worse.

This also results in an improvement in sleep patterns, which will become more regular and regenerative.

In general, meditation leads to a more positive outlook, as it helps a better self-understanding and thus develops greater awareness.

It benefits willpower, a fundamental factor in many aspects of life: work, study, sports or the decision to adopt a new, healthier nutritional style.

Briefly, through meditation, one begins to embrace a more wellness-oriented approach to life, with obvious positive effects on the mind and therefore on the body.

How to begin meditating

Biting your nails, torturing your lips, smoking, venting your nervousness on food: how many of these behaviours stem from not feeling in balance?

And how much do they also affect our physical appearance?

A daily meditation session can provide us with a fresh perspective, freeing the mind from heavy thoughts and promoting a cycle of liberating and relaxing feelings that will help a more clear and detached thinking.

Then, when and how to meditate?

There is no magic formula that applies to everyone but – in general – the first advice is to dedicate at least 10 minutes a day:

– after waking up, to start the day with a boost of well-being and concentration

– before going to sleep, to release muscular tension and to try and ‘disconnect’ the brain from the day’s problems.

The choice of timing is very subjective: those who suffer from insomnia prefer to do it in the evening, in the bedroom or on the sofa, to relax and fall asleep more easily.

Those who struggle to get going in the morning, on the other hand, find meditation to be an effective way of giving them a boost of energy to carry on throughout the day.

But if your only chance to be alone is during your lunch break or in the afternoon, that will do for a start.

So to each their own space (physical and in terms of time) to meditate. The important thing is to try doing it in a quiet place, without excessively strong light sources and without being interrupted.

There are different meditation techniques (mindfulness, zen, kundalini, transcendental, etc.) and it is necessary to identify, among many, the one that makes us feel most comfortable.

Therefore, we would like to suggest a few apps that, thanks to relaxing music and a voice-guide, help you learn different meditation styles.

3 apps for meditating at home and elsewhere

1) Insight Timer: many meditations are available here, some you can try at home and others you can test at work. There are even small exercises for children and some tips on yoga. It is a very user-friendly app, as it ‘simply’ teaches beginners how to breathe, while also allowing them to follow live events of different meditative practices.

2) Calm: this is probably one of the most popular apps in the world, as it was developed primarily to solve insomnia, a widespread problem everywhere. A good quality sleep results in greater concentration, more relaxation and serenity. This is where it all starts, with specific sessions for the evening. However, if during the day some difficult moment arises, there are the so-called ’emergency meditations’ that can help you focus, breathe and regain calmness. Calm is a fee-based app (an annual subscription is required) but can be tested for free for a few days.

3) Medita Ora: completely in Italian, is the app for those inspired by the vision of the ‘here and now’, for those who wish to ground themselves in the present moment and seek energy in tranquillity. There are 21 different meditations available, depending on the place and condition we are in…. It even has the perfect session for you to listen to on the way to work.

For those who use Spotify, love podcasts and have a good knowledge of English, here is another recommendation: the Mindful In Minutes Meditation podcast. A treasure trove of meditations published biweekly, ranging from 5-minute breaks to more intense 30-minute sessions.

Regardless of one’s meditative style (which can change over time, just as our life changes), there is only one firm rule to follow: try to be constant.

This is fundamental to bring about a real change in our brain which, being neuroplastic (capable of modifying itself in response to certain stimuli or habits), will begin to ‘route’ thoughts and emotions on other tracks, different from the automatic responses of anxiety, agitation, nervousness.

Therefore, meditating means teaching the brain how to think differently, helping it to develop the ability of finding new solutions to old problems.

The actual change in the life of those who decide to dedicate themselves to such special care every day is precisely this: a new ability to recognise the right path towards Well-being.