Meditation has become mainstream in recent years as a way to help with stress and anxiety, to improve sleep, find focus and clarity, and cultivate gratitude. If you’ve ever thought that meditation was just too “out there,” you may find that taking even just one minute to find calm and to breathe can have a significant impact on your overall health.

Meditation involves, quite simply, pausing to focus and relax. No special equipment is required, although you can create a space or have a routine that you use to get find quiet and focus. Think of meditation as a way to find a moment of quiet, settle nerves, and narrow your focus on the challenge ahead. Modern life has many stresses, and anxiety has become an overwhelming issue for adults and children. Regular practice of meditation can be an amazing tool for coping with those overwhelming moments.

Meditation can be active or passive. Active meditation might involve the act of journaling thoughts and ideas. Passive meditation is “active” at least mentally; you might listen to a meditation activity or simply sit and breathe quietly for a few minutes.

Meditation doesn’t require special equipment, candles, crystals, or anything you might assume about meditation. When we feel distracted, stressed or worried, or when we feel joyful and happy, meditation is a way for us to process those emotions. Often our stresses manifest in physical ways, so this opportunity to relax can have huge health benefits.

5 Benefits of Meditaiton

Improve sleep
A busy mind at night is sleep’s worst enemy. Take five minutes to quiet the mind and settle the body with breathing and maybe journaling so that you can set your thoughts to the side and enjoy a restful sleep.

Reduce stress
This is helpful for young and old alike. Deadline at work have you feeling stressed? A big test coming up in school that has you feeling anxious? Meditation can help settle nerves so that you’re alert and at peace with life’s challenges.

Increase focus
Athletes use visualization to help focus on the goal ahead, to run through the processes of their task, and sharpen their awareness. If you need to really focus on a task, try visualization as a way to target your goals.

Manage emotions
Life has its moments, some good some bad, and in both cases, meditation can help us focus on the positives and deal with the negatives. This can be a very helpful tool for young kids who are learning to deal with their emotions. And adults will benefit too!

Prioritize goals
Journaling is a great way to brainstorm and prioritize. When we know what we need to do, we have a greater sense of control and understanding. Journals also help us to reflect on the past and apply lessons learned to the present.

Depending on your time frame and your intentions for your meditation, you can spend as little as one minute to thirty minutes in a meditation practice. The goal is to find a quiet place, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths. You might have a mantra that you repeat to help focus your intention for the meditation. And set a timer! If you only have one minute, use that minute to relax, find calm, and focus on your immediate goal.

Meditation is a simple yet highly effective practice that benefits us physically and mentally. There are apps and websites with a variety of meditations for you to try, making the practice of meditation a simple and cost-effective way to sample the practice.