The Power Of Meditation: 5 Astonishing Ways It Can Help You

the power of meditation

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I first discovered the power of meditation some six or seven years ago.  I started off with gusto, using it as a method to help reduce stress and anxiety.  Then I had a couple of years where I didn’t practice it quite so much (the usual excuse of not enough time).

Last year I discovered the wonderful Insight Timer and picked my meditation practice back up.  Yet again, mainly to release stress and anxiety in my life.

From the beginning, I’d also found meditation had a lovely side effect of sending me to sleep at times.  I was therefore pleased to find guided meditations specifically for sleep on Insight Timer.
What I’ve only started to notice recently is that meditation has many other different uses and benefits.  It can be useful in all kinds of ways.  Here are 5 astonishing ways I’ve found where the power of meditation can help you.
Want to learn more about mindfulness and meditation?  Claim your FREE  comprehensive 54-page e-Book ‘The Calm Mind’

1.  It Can Relieve Pain

I’ve noticed this one myself as a side effect of practising meditation for stress relief.  I suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I noticed that if I practised the body scan whilst suffering from abdominal pain, the pain would reduce.

soothing tummy with hot water bottle

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I then heard about the work of Vidyamala Burch whilst taking part in the fabulous online Mindfulness Summit

Vidyamala gave a talk about her work on mindfulness and the management of pain.  Vidyamala herself lives with a chronic back condition due to spinal injuries and partial paraplegia.

In 2001, she founded Breathworks, an organisation which offers mindfulness-based approaches to living well with chronic pain, illness or stress.

Vidyamala talks about there being two components to pain or illness.

These are Primary and Secondary suffering.

Primary Suffering is the pain itself.  The unpleasant feelings or uncomfortable sensations in the body.

Secondary Suffering is caused by resistance and struggle against the pain or illness.  It also includes things such as anxiety, depression, fear and physical tension linked to the primary source.
Meditation can help us to acknowledge the pain with compassion.  It can help us reduce the resistance which causes secondary suffering, for example by helping us to release tension.  This then eases the overall experience of pain and suffering.

Vidyamala has published a number of books on the subject of mindfulness and health.  Click on the images below to find out more.


you are not your pain

.mindfulness for health


If you would like to try a body scan, this one with Elisha Goldstein is nice.


2.  It Can Help You Eat Healthily

vegetable stall

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

I was introduced to this concept via the Mindfulness Summit during which Dr Susan Albers gave a talk about mindful eating

She stressed that this way of eating is not a diet.  By paying more attention to what we are eating, we can make better and healthier choices.
Think about it. Have you ever demolished an entire bag of Doritos or a full can of Pringles whilst watching Netflix?  Then not been quite sure how it happened?
Could you even remember what they tasted like?  Did you feel satisfied or did it leave you with a desire for more Pringles (or maybe ice cream..?)
Dr Albers calls this ‘zombie eating’ and explains the danger of it leaving you wanting more.  She suggests an alternative approach called the 5 S’s
  1. Sit down – don’t eat on the go, sit down at a table (and that doesn’t mean your desk!)
  2. Slow downslowly chew your food.   If you have family members who eat really fast (as I do) notice this and try to purposefully slow down.  I find it helpful to put my knife and fork down between each bite and to concentrate on chewing the food.
  3. Savour – Take time and savour every bite.   Smell it, taste it, feel the texture in your mouth.  You will be amazed at the difference this makes to the experience of eating!  And – this one is important – don’t do anything else other than eat.  That means no TV and no looking at your phone!
  4. Simplify – environment matters.  If you have clutter all around you with too many different food options, you are more likely to grab the nearest thing as a snack.  Instead, have a small number of healthy options visible.  For example, have a colourful bowl of fruit on your desk rather than a biscuit barrel.  And clear away that clutter!  (Think you don’t have time to declutter?  Here’s a book I’ve found really helpful).
  5. Smile – and take a breath.  Tune in to how you are feeling.  Ask yourself if you’re full and whether you are enjoying the food.


Download a printable version of these 5 steps to stick on your fridge.

Click below for books by Dr Albers.

eat drink and be mindful


50 ways to soothe yourself without food


3.  It Can Improve Your Performance

A study was undertaken with two groups of marines who were about to be deployed to warzones.

The first group were given mindfulness training and practised mindfulness meditation for at least twelve minutes a day.

Conversely, the second group received no training and did not practice mindfulness.

The study concluded that the group practicing mindfulness had improved working memory (important for decision making, so vital in a warzone) along with a decrease in negative emotions.

Increasing numbers of athletes are turning to mindfulness and meditation as a way of managing stress and fear as well as reducing heart-rate and improving concentration.

woman stretching

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Even if you aren’t an elite athlete, mindfulness can help.

For example, maybe you are training for a 10k race.  The power of meditation can help you to achieve your goals and can increase endurance.  Meditation practices which contain visualisations – for example of you reaching the end of the race – can be particularly helpful.

Meditation can also help performance in the workplace.  It can make us less reactive.   The power of meditation can help us to listen more and to be comfortable taking a pause before responding.

the calm mind ebook

4.  It Can Help You Sleep

koala sleeping

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Another side effect I discovered early on was that meditation makes me fall asleep!
I was a bit concerned that this meant that I was ‘doing it wrong’.  I’ve since learned that there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do things.
Of course, if you fall asleep through every single meditation then you may not realise all benefits Some meditations, for example, those containing gentle affirmations for the day ahead, are intended for the morning rather than night time.
If you are practising a meditation where you don’t want to fall asleep, then it’s better to do the meditation sitting in a chair.
If you want to meditate to sleep though, it’s fine to lie down.  There are many guided meditations on the app I use, Insight Timer, which are specifically for sleep.

I play them quietly with my phone on the bedside table.  Then it doesn’t matter if I fall asleep before the end (and I don’t end up lying on the phone!)

Sometimes if I wake up in the night and I can’t get back to sleep I find it helpful to focus on my breathing.  Or to the sounds around me.  Or to parts of my body like my hands, feet and face.  I often find I will soon drift off!


5.  It Can Help You Manage Technology

I recently met a friend in a coffee shop.  We were chatting and waiting for some other friends to arrive.  It struck us both that we were the only people in the coffee shop having a conversation and not staring at our phones!
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel I’m glued to my phone far too much?!   It leaves me with a kind of anxious, jittery feeling.  My brain is jumping about all over the place!

girl on phone

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

I recently listened to an interview with Lori Deschene, founder of the awesome website Tiny Buddha in which she talked about ways to connect with technology in a more mindful way.  Her tips included:


Be very clear about your intentions

I’ve tried to apply this in the few days since I heard the interview.  So for example, instead of picking up my phone and browsing, I’ll make sure I’m very clear on what I’m going to do on my phone.
So, I’ll tell myself I’m going to comment on two blog posts, reply to Twitter messages and check my email.  Then I’ll put the phone away.
I’m finding this helpful and haven’t lost two or more hours at a time to mindless browsing in the last few days!

Ask yourself whether you are avoiding something

For example, if you’re waiting for someone in a restaurant and you’ve pulled out your phone.  Ask yourself do you have something specific you were going to look up.  Or have you done it to avoid feeling vulnerable whilst you wait?
Or perhaps you’re procrastinating over starting a difficult task. So you fall into your Facebook feed instead because it’s easier.

Try and read what you need

Yes, it’s fun to follow links and sometimes you do need to in order to get the information you need.  But once you have the information, then STOP!

Lori gave an example of researching blenders and then ending up reading about smoothie recipes plus celebrities who love smoothies!  I can relate to this….


Experience the now and post later

I’m guilty of this one, taking photos of my lunch and checking in to places on Facebook.

Try to put your phone away and focus on the people you are with.  If you want to post a little update later on when you get home, then fine!


Realise you don’t have to respond immediately

Most things are not so urgent that you need to respond to them straight away.


Want To Learn To Meditate?

woman meditating

Photo by Indian Yogi (Yogi Madhav) on Unsplash

Do you want to learn meditation but don’t know where to start?  Check out my guide to meditation for beginners.  In addition, this post has information about further guided meditations you can try.

You can also check out this course which is free.

I definitely recommend using guided meditations, particularly at first.  There are so many out there.

Insight Timer has free ones and you can also find an excellent selection on YouTube.

I’d recommend starting with simple breathing meditations (as in my guide) and also anything with body scan in the title!

I hope you’ve found these insights into the power of meditation useful.

Which of these benefits could be helpful for you?

Have you found any benefits I haven’t covered from practising mindfulness and meditation?

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  1. Whitney

    I love reading about meditation. Its so interesting that simply calming the mind and changing your approach to everyday tasks like eating can have such an affect on your life, mindset and health!

    My mum meditates a lot and always tells me i should too! I am definitely considering it!

    Thanks for the lovely post, always love reading you🌼

    1. Alison

      Thanks Whitney, your Mum is right, it’s definitely worth doing, even if it’s only a few minutes a day 🙂

  2. Chloe Chats

    I’m a big fan of meditation, it really helps me when I’m feeling anxious or stressed, and I often meditate before bed as it really helps me fall asleep, I usually find it really hard to sleep so I’ve had to find something to help. I never really knew it helped with pain either, I definitely need to do it a bit more, I find it takes a lot of practice but it’s great!

    Chloe xx

  3. Geraldine

    This was an excellent post, Alison! I definitely agree that it can help you eat healthier and sleep much better! It’s something I don’t do often enough sadly.. I also feel guilty about taking pictures and wanting to post right away. The thing I’m supposed to be enjoying at that moment gets thrown in the back burner whilst I’m busy making my captions and Insta post!! I find that it’s hard for my to go directly and find what it is I need to do on my phone because there are so many distracting notifications! Thanks for sharing 🙂 xx

    Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com

  4. Marie

    It’s so interesting that it has all those benefits. I have had problems with the thoughts that come into my head while meditating and it’s put me off it bit. At other times though it has made me relaxed and sleepy. Mx

    1. Alison

      The thoughts are actually part of it. The trick is to notice them and then move your focus back to your breath, body, sounds, whatever it is you are focusing on. Takes practice, but I’ve found it helps me to identify any negative thought patterns a lot more quickly now. xx

  5. Amreena

    Such an informative post!! ❤ I find it difficult to sit still. But will definitely give it more dedication. Nice post!!

    1. Alison

      Thanks for stopping by. I would suggest starting for just a couple of minutes if you find it hard to sit still. There is also walking meditation, I need to write a post on that too!

  6. Deidre

    I absolutely love this. I completely agree with all these benefits it definitely allows for a more centered and peaceful life. Amazing read (and reminder haha)!

    Sending my love xx

  7. Atila Irmes

    I am meditating right before I I fall asleep and I can tell you that I do sleep better and more peacefully (I guess because my mind clears up as I meditate and I do not think about my issues).

    Great post, Alison!

  8. Sharon

    This is a wonderful post. I found meditation when I developed a pinched nerve week 15 of 13.1 training meditation, physical therapy and the chiropractor got me over the finish line!

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