Chief Science Officer at Headspace, Dr Megan Jones Bell, believes regular meditation could help aid physical recovery

Meditation? There’s an app for that.

By now you’ve probably heard about the mental benefits of meditation, but have you heard about the physical ones? From improving sleep to helping manage pain, using the Headspace app for just a few minutes a day could make a huge difference.

From mindful cardio to wind downs and sleepcasts, Headspace is designed to teach you game-changing meditation and mindfulness skills from the comfort of your home.

What is mindfulness?

In its simplest terms, mindfulness is the ability to be present and free from distraction, with an open mind and kind heart.

Physical benefits of mindfulness

Here are some of the key physical benefits to practising mindfulness regularly:

Managing pain

Meditation isn’t a quick fix or miracle cure for pain. But it can help change your relationship with the sensation of it, teaching you to step back from the feeling.

If you experience lower back pain, kidney pain, muscle spasms or headaches, meditation could help you re-frame your relationship with these difficult physical sensations.

Want to try it for yourself? Headspace has a 30-day 'Pain Management' pack that allows you to investigate pain and over time, develop a different kind of relationship with it.

Helping with injury or illness

Meditation is also a useful tool for those recovering from an illness or injury.

It can help you manage emotions and expectations, allowing you to devote your time and energy towards focusing on a healthy recovery.

Headspace’s 10-session ‘Rehab’ course teaches a technique called Visualisation. This helps guide you towards focusing your mental energy on healing and rehabbing.

What’s more, 'rest day' meditations are a great practise for people who work out a lot. They allow the body to let go of any tension that might have built up, and focus on the intention for our fitness routines.

Improving sleep

We all know how great we feel after a good night’s sleep. In fact, one of the easiest things we can do to improve both our physical and mental health is to improve our sleep quality. This can be as simple as waking up at the same time every day, right through to introducing daily mindfulness and meditation sessions.

Regular meditation helps us to find stillness, allowing our minds the space to recover. Through this – and this mental clarity – falling asleep and staying asleep can begin to happen more easily.

Helping physical health

The best and most simple form of movement you can do whilst in physical recovery is to go for a mindful walk. A walking meditation is designed to bring both body and mind together.

Essentially, walking becomes a tool to familiarise ourselves with the present moment, and we do this by redirecting the mind. Instead of our object of focus being the breath (as it is with a sitting meditation), our focus becomes the rhythm of our step. Through this, we’re able to become more mindful of our body and how we’re feeling with each step.

Mindful walking can help you to re-frame stress and discomfort of physical pain and let it go through light movement. It can also allow you to find a place of stillness by slowly releasing tension, one muscle at a time.

We could all do with a little down time, so why not get on board the meditation train and start reaping the physical benefits today? Check out the Headspace website to get started.