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5-minute read

Key facts

  • Meditation is a formal practice of mindfulness, that has both physical and mental health benefits.
  • Meditation works best when you practice it regularly.
  • It can help you reduce stress, anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing.
  • Meditation can be done anywhere, and for short or long periods of time.
  • There are many resources to help you start to meditate.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a type of mind–body relaxation technique.

It is an ancient Eastern practice that people use today to lead to a mentally healthier life. Meditation can help you cope with everyday life, reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing.

During meditation, you concentrate your mind on one particular thing, such as:

  • breathing
  • sounds
  • body movements and feelings
  • a mantra (chant)

Meditation focusses your attention on the present moment and on body sensations. It is central to many religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, but religion is not required in order to meditate. Meditation can help release muscle tension, reduce anxiety and improve your mood, and help improve quality of life. It calms and relaxes the body and mind.

Meditation is formal mindfulness and it can help train your mind to stay focused and peaceful during times of stress or anxiety. It is based on the belief that our thoughts and emotions can impact both our physical and mental health. Therapies such as meditation may increase your sense of control, decrease stress and anxiety and improve your mood.

What are the health benefits of meditation?

Meditation has both physical and mental health benefits. It can help you manage the symptoms of many health conditions, including:

Meditation can also have benefits for your general wellbeing, including helping to:

Meditation is a simple and effective practice to improve your health and reduce stress immediately. Once you learn the skill, you can use it on your own, wherever and whenever.

How do I meditate?

Meditation can be done anywhere, and you do not need much time. Try starting with 1 to 2 minutes each day, and then increasing the time gradually over weeks or months. It takes time, patience and practice to meditate.

If you need some help, try:

  • attending weekly meditation classes
  • using a meditation podcast or YouTube video
  • using a mental health app, such as Smiling Mind
  • doing a meditation course

Tips to help you to meditate

Even though many different meditation techniques exist, the general ideas are similar.

Here are some tips to help you meditate:

  • Find yourself a quiet spot so that you don’t get easily distracted.
  • Get settled into a comfortable position, such as sitting on a chair or lying on the floor.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Focus your attention on one thing, such as your breathing, the sounds around you or a specific object.

Meditation works well when it is done regularly, so it is best to keep practicing until you find a technique that suits you. This will help turn meditation into a habit.

Resources and support

You can find other digital mental health resources by visiting the Australian Government's Head to Health website. You can also call Head to Health on 1800 595 212, to get advice and to connect to local mental health services. Open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Visit the following pages to access information in these languages:

If you or anyone you know needs help and would like to speak to a trained professional about mental health, you can also call:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2023

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