One Good Thing: commit to a daily meditation practice to boost your mental health

Welcome back to One Good Thing, Stylist’s Sunday series that asks experts in mental health for the one good thing we can all do to boost our wellbeing.

This week, we chat with author, psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman for his One Good Thing. 

Hi, Daniel! If you could recommend one good thing everyone can do to improve their mental health, what would it be?

A daily meditation practice. 

Why’s that?

Decades of research show concrete benefits, ranging from a better gut microbiome to becoming calmer and more easily concentrating.

Sounds good. How can we do it?

The key instruction in every form of meditation is to let go of distracting thoughts. This both calms you and helps you strengthen the habit of focusing on what matters to you.

And how will this make our lives better?

Multiple ways. Not just a better gut, but increased feelings of calmness and better concentration. The more you do it, the better the benefits become, ranging from calming the genes that create inflammation to becoming more warm-hearted.

When people start meditating, where do they tend to go wrong? How can we get back on track?

Many people who start meditating give up, saying they just can’t control their mind. But this just means they have become more self-aware of how the mind typically operates. The antidote to this is reminding yourself of this fact if a wandering mind becomes a problem. The crucial mental exercise here is bringing your mind back to the point of focus – whether your breath, a mantra or whatever you choose – when you realise your mind has wandered off.

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How do you personally fit in meditation?

I start my day with meditation, every single day. 

How has doing your One Good Thing changed your life?

I think I’ve become less emotionally reactive and more responsive – and likely kinder. But you’d have to ask my wife!

Why We Meditate by Daniel Goleman and Tsoknyi Rinpoche is available now (Penguin Life, £14.99)

Frame Of Mind is Stylist’s home for all things mental health and the mind. From expert advice on the small changes you can make to improve your wellbeing to first-person essays and features on topics ranging from autism to antidepressants, we’ll be exploring mental health in all its forms. You can check out the series home page to get started.

Main image: Getty; Stylist

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