Meditation is one of those practices we hear about, agree we should do, and then never actually start. Today it’s our mission to convince you to start this health-boosting and totally free practice.

It’s not just wellness gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow who endorse meditation for health now. Regular people, like YouBeauty editors, put meditation to the test in their daily lives.

Science has studied meditation more over the decades, and the results are clear. There are so many excellent reasons to meditate now, for your physical and mental health. Here are five reasons to get serious about meditation.

Decrease Stress
The world can be a stressful place, and many of us are feeling that stress even more lately. Luckily, meditation is something you can do anywhere, and you don’t need expensive equipment or a personal trainer.

Many studies have linked meditation to decreased stress levels. In particular, scientists have measured decreases in the stress hormone cortisol from meditation. So sit down, breathe, and let that stress go.

Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Meditation may not prevent anxiety or depression, but studies have found it can lessen the severity of the symptoms. If you struggle with depression and anxiety, always consult a doctor, but there’s an excellent argument to using meditation to help lessen the symptoms. Meditation has no side effects, it’s free, and it’s been around for thousands of years.

Maintain Attention
A lot of us are working from home right now, and the struggle to stay focused is real. Don’t worry, we all fight the urge to watch Netflix instead of finishing our work, but meditation might help your productivity.

Studies have suggested that by meditating, you can help focus your mind and complete your work easier. Sure, there are plenty of other remedies, but meditation is free, and that makes everything slightly better.

Reduce Cravings
Find yourself in a losing debate between your head and your stomach too often? Many of us struggle with different types of cravings, and especially in stressful times, we turn to comfort food even if it’s not part of our beach body meal plan.

The good news? Meditation can help you control your cravings. It helps you to step back from your thoughts and take a moment that can be just long enough to pause that third trip to the kitchen. Meditation might help you reach for enlightenment, or it may not, but you’ll certainly reach for the snacks less.

Increase Compassion
There is a particular meditation called “Loving Kindness” practice, and it’s an excellent method to try that can help you feel calmer and kinder. You might be stuck at home with people you love, but closeness is making that love seem a little harder to find at times. This meditation can help you remember the important people in your life and make you a better person to be around.

Meditation isn’t easy to master, but it’s one of the most accessible practices to start. No one is judging you. There are no meditation competitions, so try it. You don’t have to practice it every day, and it can be as easy as sitting quietly and letting your mind clear in the morning or just before sleep.