A Surprising New Reason to Meditate

Whether it's a literal pain or a daily stressor, taking some time to breathe can make a world of difference for this particular trouble spot, according to new research.

February 26, 2015
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There's a reason the phrase "pain in the neck" caught on as an idiom for something super-annoying. It's because man, that can be something awful. So today we're thankful for a new study that shows that meditation can be more effective in relieving neck pain than exercise because it targets the problem at its root cause: stress

But a meditation program will provide benefits that bleed into most areas of life, says Michele Promaulayko, editor-in-chief of Yahoo Health and former editor-in-chief of Women's Health magazine, in her book 20 Pounds Younger. "Practicing transcendental meditation changed my entire demeanor, so much so that friends started asking if I’d done something different with my hair," she says in her book. "I was more level, a little brighter, more in control -- and I most definitely did not lose my edge. In fact, my daily practice just made me sharper in the workplace (and every other area of my life). Meditation, after all, teaches you awareness, focus, and control."

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More: The Overeating Meditation That'll Help You Slim Down

Indeed, meditation has been found to improve sleep, ease migraine symptoms, and even make you more creative.

So what’s the trick to perfecting your practice

Check it off early. Though meditation is great any time of day, experts say that morning is an ideal time to get your zen on. Why? We’re more likely to stick to a routine in the morning than in the evening, and consistency is key.

Stake out your space. If you meditate in the same space every day, your brain will start to anticipate and prepare for it. Try sitting on the same cushion or in the same corner of your sunroom, and your mind may more readily enter a state of relaxation as a result.

Set a timer. It’s easy to start obsessing about how long you’ve been meditating -- which can defeat the purpose of practicing in the first place. Set a timer so your brain can relax.

Adapted from 20 Pounds Younger by Michele Promaulayko