Meditation, while quite trendy today, has actually been practiced in some form for thousands of years. Life is stressful with school, work and family pressures and many of us don’t take time to de-stress properly and protect ourselves from the damage that all the pressures in our daily lives can bring.

The practice of slowing one’s breathing and focusing on the here and now has some proven benefits to one’s personal health. Your mental state, physical condition, and emotional clarity can all benefit from the practice of meditation.

Studies show that meditation will allow you access a more focused mental state of being. In fact, some studies show that 20 minutes of meditation per day can bring about an increase in student’s performance on cognitive tests, reading comprehension, and an increase in their ability to manage stress-inducing deadlines.

All of which will result in getting better grades. Sounds like some improvements that most college students could use. There are other studies that found meditation to increase a person’s ability to pay attention and to form memories. Some researchers are recommending meditation as part of a treatment regimen and prevention for Alzheimer’s.

There are numerous physical ailments that can be helped with this ancient art. It is widely accepted that focusing on your breathing and shutting out external stimuli can prepare your body to handle pain- just ask any mom who had natural childbirth about those breathing exercises.

People who mediate produce less of the stress hormone Cortisol, so they experience a greater state of calm and mindfulness. It’s no surprise that a practice that reduces stress will also reduce the likelihood of stress-related illness. Meditation will lower your blood pressure and heart rate which correlate to lower incidents of heart attack and stroke. Even insomnia can be treated with some mindful meditation.

Of course, when your body feels better, you can sleep and you can think more clearly and emotional clarity and growth will follow. Meditation is a great tool to help one achieve that quest for self-actualization. You will find that you have a more positive mood, less depression, less anxiety, more compassion and more self-esteem. With these positive changes, you are more likely to seek out healthy relationships rather than withdraw into loneliness. The confidence and clarity that you find can help you make better decisions and might even help you discover your own interests, needs, and career path.

When you feel good, calm, and confident it creates a positive spiral in your life. Twenty minutes of meditation each day can improve your life in so many ways. It is cheaper than medication, more accessible than therapy and much more fun than battling the stressful, anxiety laced whirlwind of chaos that tries to push in on us each day. You can find many meditation guides online to help you learn how to begin your own practice of mindfulness.