As the story goes, Buddha meditated beneath the tree of enlightenment to learn the true nature of suffering, eventually achieving nirvana. But can you enjoy the calming effects of meditation without having to seek enlightenment? Take a deep, nourishing breath and exhale as you say it with me: yes.
Meditation for mental health
Meditation is a simple and quick way to help dissolve daily stress, restore calm and increase tranquility. The beauty of it is that you can practice it wherever you are – on a stroll or on a bus, in a busy waiting room or seated quietly at home. A few minutes of daily meditation can be surprisingly beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing.1
You don’t have to be a master to meditate!
There are various techniques you can choose from. Feel free to experiment with one or more:
- Guided meditation. You form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing
- Mantra meditation. You silently repeat a word, thought or phrase to displace distracting thoughts
- Qi gong, pronounced CHEE-gung. You combine meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing to restore and maintain balance
- Tai chi. You perform a series of postures and movements while breathing deeply
- Yoga. You perform postures and breathing exercises that require balance and concentration, distracting you from daily stressors
- Mindfulness meditation. You focus on your physical experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath and the tension in the body. Observe thoughts and feelings, then let them drift away
Mindfulness can also be practiced throughout your day – a moment here, a minute there. For instance, you may start your day with a few minutes of stillness, breathing deeply and clearing your mind. As your day progresses, take moments to breathe and scan your body for tension.
Use mealtime to practice mindfulness
Yes, you can even eat mindfully by giving full attention to your experience, listening to your body, eating according to your hunger and savouring your food.
How much time per day?
There is no wrong amount of time to meditate. Go at your own pace and don’t worry if you miss a session. Meditation is a process, not an event.
What does the data say?
Adult Canadians have been reporting moderate to severe anxiety, loneliness and depression throughout the pandemic, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).2 According to medical health experts, mindful meditation could help boost your mood and promote better mental and emotional health.3
What does it take to get started?
For relatively little time and effort, and zero cost, you could start meditation and mindfulness practices today, helping you:
- Reframe stressful situations
- Build new stress management skills
- Focus more on the present and less on the past or future
- Reduce negative feelings
- Expand your imagination and creativity
- Increase your patience, tolerance and empathy1
Your tree of enlightenment awaits! Invest time in it and your emotional wellbeing could thank you for it.
Around 1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental health problems, and 1 in 3 disability claims is related to mental illnesses.4Depressed workers can feel exhausted and overwhelmed, hindering their concentration and productivity.5 Engineers Canada-sponsored Disability Insurance and Health & Dental Insurance can help you through mental health challenges.
1 Mayo Clinic, “Meditation: a simple, fast way to reduce stress”, April 22, 2020
2 CAMH, “Anxiety, feelings of depression and loneliness”, January 25, 2022
3 CTV News, “Mindful meditation helps boost mood”, October 19, 2020
4 Global News, “‘I couldn’t believe it’ — why disability claims for mental health are often a struggle”, May 25, 2019.
5 Global News, “Getting through work when you’re depressed”, January 30, 2020
The information in this article is not to be relied upon as medical advice. Always seek professional advice from a medical professional.
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