The Power of Meditation and Visualization on Your Health and Body
By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD
Eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, staying hydrated, and prioritizing sleep are the main pillars of staying healthy, right? At least that’s what we’re told time and time again.
But there are several other important aspects of maintaining health and wellness that often get overlooked, including mental practices like meditation and visualization. A healthy mind is just as important as physical health!
Read on to learn more about what visualization and meditation entail and how they can benefit both your overall health and waistline.
Meditation and Visualization Defined
Meditation and visualization are related, but different, techniques.
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing on a specific thought or activity to improve awareness and relax your mind. There are several different types of meditation, some of which focus on deep breathing, scanning your body, taking in the specifics of your surroundings, or repeating a mantra in your mind.
Visualization, on the other hand, involves using mental imagery to visualize how you will accomplish a goal and what steps you will take to get there. For example, you can use visualization to mentally walk yourself through the process of running your first 5K race, starting with lacing your shoes all the way to crossing the finish line.
How Meditation and Visualization Can Improve Health
Practicing meditation can help you reflect on and confront thoughts that are hindering your success. Through this technique, you can relax your mind and overcome obsessive and judgmental thoughts around food (i.e. counting calories, labeling foods as “good” or “bad”).
Visualization provides similar benefits. It can help you work through tough spots that you anticipate will happen in the middle of a workout or when you crave less healthy foods. By engaging in this mental practice, you will feel more prepared to overcome barriers.
Meditation and visualization can also help reduce stress and related behaviors surrounding food, like emotional eating and cravings. In fact, several studies have shown that meditation is highly effective at decreasing stress, anxiety, and inflammation in the body that occurs as a result of stress (1, 2).
You may find that practicing these techniques changes how you think about eating and helps you have a more balanced and healthy relationship with food.
How to Get Started with Meditation and Visualization
If you are interested in trying meditation or visualization, there are several ways for you to get started.
You can seek out a meditation or guided imagery class at a local wellness or yoga studio, or discuss options with a therapist or psychologist. Consider browsing the web to find helpful blogs or YouTube videos to get a taste of these practices.
Finally, there are several phone apps that can help guide you through meditation, including Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, Sattva, and 10% Happier.
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