Studies show mindfulness and meditation can play a huge role on our mental health. Learn how Mamas can benefit.
As a busy mama, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to live on chaos, caffeine, and cortisol. But taking time out of your day to slow down and implementing mindfulness activities such as meditation (even if only for a couple minutes) can be incredibly beneficial not only for you but also for your family.
Meditating can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and boost overall well-being. But what exactly is meditation, and how does it work? Stick with us here!
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing your attention on a particular thought or activity (usually on your breathing) for an extended period of time. It has been used for centuries as a way to reduce stress, clear the mind, and relax the body.
Research suggests that regular meditation may have physical benefits as well; it can strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, and even decrease chronic pain.
The most popular form of meditation is mindfulness meditation which focuses on heightening your awareness of the present moment. This type of meditation involves sitting in stillness with an open mind, allowing thoughts to come and go without attaching any judgment or emotion.
The practice helps one become aware of their thoughts and feelings in real-time, providing insight into why we think or feel certain ways. Mindfulness meditation can also help build a sense of clarity, peace, and focus that can help reduce stress levels.
Still not convinced? I was a sceptic at first too, you can read more about my personal journey with meditation here. Now, let’s dig into the science!
The Science Behind Meditation & Mindfulness
The science of meditation is increasingly becoming known for its ability to help the mind and body heal. Recent studies suggest that meditation can actually change the structure of the brain over time by increasing areas associated with learning, memory formation, emotional regulation, empathy/compassion towards others, perspective taking/understanding another person’s point-of-view.
Additionally, research has found that mindfulness practices can alter certain neurotransmitters responsible for our moods such as serotonin (happiness), GABA (calmness), dopamine (motivation/reward).
The Neuroplasticity of the Brain
Neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life, occurs when we learn something new. This includes both physical activities like yoga or playing a musical instrument as well as mental activities like memorizing facts or practicing meditation.
Our brains are malleable and always changing based on our environment and experiences; in other words, they are “plastic.” This means that regular meditation could potentially help mamas feel more balanced emotionally while improving their overall well-being.
How Meditation Rewires Your Brain
Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to rewire your brain because it changes both physical and mental patterns in the brain. When you meditate regularly, your brain begins to produce more alpha waves which indicate a relaxed yet alert state of mind; these are the same types of alpha waves produced during sleep or deep relaxation. Additionally, studies have found that people who meditate often experience increased gray matter volume in areas of their brains associated with awareness, empathy, compassion, learning, memory and emotion regulation—all things that lead to improved mental health and well-being!
How Mamas Can Incorporate MediTation in their day
Meditation is the perfect way for busy mamas to take some time out from their hectic daily lives and focus on themselves for a few moments each day. A brief break to slow down and recenter each day can be incredibly rewarding in terms of reducing stress, increasing mental clarity, and boosting overall wellbeing. With so many different types of meditation available, there’s sure to be something out there that works perfectly for you!
MATRESCENCE® MEMBER PERK: We have taken the guesswork out of it by preparing some quick, topic-specific meditations and mindfulness exercises based on common high-stress situations that mama’s encounter. Whether you’re stuck in a carline with a screaming toddler and no snacks or you are trying to quickly pump at work on your lunch break, we have created an actionable and easily accessible library of mindfulness videos to help bring MOM back into the moments.
Interested in becoming a member and having access to these mama-tailored exercises? Learn more about our motherhood community here.
The amount of time you should spend practicing mindfulness + meditation depends on your lifestyle and goals. As a busy mama just starting out, just a few minutes a day is a great place to start! You can gradually increase the length of your sessions as you become more comfortable with the practice. Studies have shown that even brief periods of meditation can provide benefits in terms of reducing stress and improving focus (bye bye mom brain!), so don’t feel like you need to commit hours every day to reap the benefits!
Meditation + mindfulness in motherhood requires patience as results and new habits don’t appear overnight – but depending on how often you practice, they will begin appearing soon enough! We know some days it can be hard (nearly impossible) to take time for yourself, but implementing these brief, effective exercises into your daily routine has tremendous potential for improving physical health as well as emotional well-being.
So when you’re feeling overwhelmed and the brain fog is clouding your focus, consider reaching for this tool. Take some time out for yourself today, mama – your future self will thank you.
If you’re ready to start implementing some guided meditation practice into your daily routine, join our community! We’ll be adding new videos monthly to help mamas cope with stressful situations like school drop-off, pumping at work, preparing for a road trip, getting the kids ready for bed, and more!