Tristan Hand

What are the benefits of a regular meditation practice?

Health, Lifestyle

Most if not everyone can benefit from a regular meditation practice. At TH Coaching it’s one of the ways we help clients. Helping them become less stressed, more resilient and with greater mental capacity to take on any of life’s challenges. We are going to go deeper into those benefits of a regular meditation practice.

Living with pain

For 1 year I would wake every morning at 5am and within 15 minutes have pain in the upper abdomen. Sometimes it would subside throughout the day. Other days it would just remain consistently and I’d go to sleep only to wake again in pain. During that year I tried everything I could think of to get to the bottom of it: 20 doctor’s appointments, 2 scopes, different forms of stomach and anxiety medication, counselling, acupuncture… None of which gave a clear indication of why I was in pain or gave me a path to getting better.

I had never understood how someone could commit suicide before that year no matter the circumstances. Fortunately, I never did contemplate it but I now have an understanding of how someone could think of it.

I had done meditation before, but intermittently. My feeling was that I am present most of the time in my day to day life, so I didn’t need a formal practice. Like everyone else, life had its challenges; going through covid, taking care of a family, working in and on my own business, and I thought I was processing it all ok.

But something wasn’t right.

Practicing meditation regularly

After investigating all the physical solutions without success, I looked to the mental & emotional side, and started meditating every morning. I tried many different ways to meditate, including apps and breathing exercises, but found I was often just told to do a practice without being given the context of why to do it. I need to understand the why of doing anything, and I don’t like being told what to do without reason. That’s when I came upon Waking Up by Sam Harris

As well as instilling a daily formal practice, it gave context of the why and how of what it calls “mental training”. It got me to notice I was thinking more than I thought I had been, and I realised I was burning up energy and over-analysing things that didn’t really need to be analysed.

We can’t 100% control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we respond.

What has regular meditation done for me

It took 3 months of this daily practice to affect my physical and emotional state, enabling me to wake up and go through a day without pain. I notice now that if I neglect the practice over a number of days, the pain will return to a mild state, but it’s the most impactful change I have made to living a pain-free life. 

What meditation is (and what it isn’t)

Meditation goes under many labels now: mindfulness, awareness, spirituality, presence. They are all going after the same thing: an improved mental and emotional state.

Meditation at the simplest level is observing the present moment.

It’s not a state of absence of thought as most are led to believe. It is the non-judgemental approach to thought, observing what your mind is doing without attaching any meaning to it. Usually what happens from being more aware (without analysing the thought) is that the thoughts tend to move on.

The biggest impact I have seen from meditation is not just the impact during the practice, but – just like proper physical training – the impact goes across your day and life.

How to start a regular meditation practice

My philosophy is to only implement actions and practice that have a long-term future.  Therefore get started and build consistency, begin with 1 conscious breath per day. You can do this right now: take one inhale and exhale, observing the sensations during that moment without judgement. You have now meditated today.

From here there are many methods and tools to go deeper into meditation. Here are just a few:

  • Meditation apps. I’ve tried many apps from Headspace to Calm, but I found for me they lacked context and education to instil the habit of a long-lasting meditation practice. The Waking Up app by Sam Harris is one that both educates and guides you on the how and why of meditation.
  • Moving Meditation. Meditation can happen at any moment. A moving meditation is one where you are observing the world around you as you move through it. This can be observing the sensation of your feet as you walk or becoming aware of the environment around you.
  • Breathing Meditation. Observing and controlling your breathing can be a powerful way to change your mental, physical and emotional state. Options include timing your inhales and exhales, particularly using exhales to come into a more relaxed state (using inhales to become more energised) or simply observing your breath being aware of the sensation at your nose or belly as you breathe. The Wim Hof method can be another breathing meditation technique.

How long to meditate for?

For my clients and I, I’ve found it takes 10 minutes to really feel the impact of mediation. I suggest treating it as an experiment to see how long it takes to calm your mind. Start small – such as with one conscious breath, or a short time commitment you can be 100% sure you can commit to e.g. 5 minutes. You can always add more if needed rather than setting yourself up for failure trying too much too soon.

Which type of meditation to choose?

The main options with meditation are guided and non-guided meditation. In a guided meditation, someone talks you through the practice, and in a non-guided meditation, you practise without anyone else’s input. Guided practice can be useful to become aware of different methods of meditation which you can then bring into a non-guided practice independent of any external input.

When to meditate?

Just like with physical training, the importance of timing with mental training pales in comparison to the importance of just making sure it’s consistent. If meditating last thing at night helps you get it done, then do that. However, I’ve found if you can make space to practise meditation in the morning, its impact on how you approach the world that day can be more beneficial. 

Where to meditate?

You can meditate anywhere – in a place devoid of stimulation like a quiet room, or a place packed with stimulation like a train station. It is simply the state of observation. Starting out, I found it better sitting somewhere quiet so I could focus more easily on a guided meditation.

What are the benefits of a regular meditation practice?

For any change you want to make whether physical, mental or emotional, your mindset and mental state has a significant impact.

Physical benefits of a regular meditation practice.

  • Improved physical progress. There are two main reasons we see when someone is not progressing towards their physical goals: compliance to a training and nutrition program, and stress. With stress, the body is usually stuck in a fight-or-flight state. When we are trapped in fight or flight, the nervous system believes it is preparing for danger and holds onto its resources, including bodyfat. When we reduce stress and bring ourselves out of this state, change happens.
  • Recovery from illness and injury. To accelerate recovery the body needs to be in a restful state (called homeostasis). Meditation can reduce tension in the body and speed up recovery.
  • Reduced pain. The perception of pain and the presence of pain can (at least in some cases) be reduced through observing and listening to the pain.
  • Improved sleep and rest. A busy mind can often mess with rest. Becoming present in the moment can allow the body (and mind) to separate from external circumstances and take rest, which will in turn make you better able to take action to change those external circumstances.

Mental benefits of a regular meditation practice

  • Improved focus and clarity. Being present in the moment can bring clarity and laser-like focus on the task at hand.
  • More energy. Improved rest can bring greater energy to your body and mind.
  • Stress management. In today’s world we’re all exposed to external stressors coming from every angle. Getting greater control of your mind and how you react or respond can reduce stress.
  • A zen state of action. For many TH Coaching work with, they are high output individuals. What we allow work towards for them is to execute and perform at a high level, but in a zen-like state where there is no negative emotion or energy attached to the present moment. This allows them to achieve far more with greater contentment, energy and capacity.

Emotional benefits of a regular meditation practice

  • Reduced anxiety and emotional pain. Anxiety and other negative emotions are felt in the body. Meditation can help become aware of these feelings and resolve what is causing them. For example anxiety held in the stomach can be as a result of fear over something that may happen in the future.
  • Using emotion correctly. The role of emotion is to bring awareness to something. Often times we ignore these feelings and the emotion continues in the body. Meditation allows us to be in a state to notice emotion as it happens and to immediately either take (or schedule) an action to change it, or to accept that you don’t have control.


It is our philosophy at TH Coaching that real change happens when the mind and body are attended to together. Balance can be achieved across all areas of life when practices such as meditation, mindset, physical training and nutrition are worked on simultaneously.


Sam Harris’s Waking Up App

Headspace App

Calm App

Wim Hof Method