Many health experts recommend using meditation as a daily healthful practice. But what practitioners may not realize is that in addition to improving mental help, regular meditation may help improve their financial lives

Notable scientific evidence, including a 2014 meta-analysis of studies concerning meditation , published in "JAMA Internal Medicine," supports the argument that meditation helps people cope with anxiety and offers a number of other health benefits. And in his 2014 book "10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story," author Dan Harris points to an abundance of research (along with his own experience) indicating that meditation has a moderate but notable positive effect on stress, concentration, self-awareness and general happiness.

All of those factors come together to actually produce some profound benefits for your financial life . Here's how meditation can boost your mental health – and your financial health.

Meditation reduces stress. Often, just thinking about money issues causes stress. That anxiety is another demand people place on their bodies, and their bodies respond accordingly, trying to help deal with that additional burden. That response comes with a long-term physical cost. Bodies respond in such ways as heightening the nervous systems and summoning a number of hormonal signals that cause people to fidget and their heart rate and blood pressure to tick upwards. Meditation directly combats those responses to financial stress , as it's a practice that's shown to help lower heart rate and blood pressure naturally and easily.

[Read: Don't Let Money Worries Shorten Your Life .]

Meditation improves concentration. Many meditations center around practicing concentration, calling on practitioners to focus on a single word or phrase or to concentrate on their breathing and to bring their attention back to that focus point again and again, training concentration like a muscle. This enables practitioners to concentrate better in most life situations, many of which have financial implications. A bit of improvement in concentration, for example, can help consumers avoid throwing an unnecessary item in the shopping cart on a grocery run or impulsively buying something from Amazon without thinking about whether they really need it or even really want it.

[See: 7 Deadly Money Sins to Avoid .]

Meditation increases self-awareness. Many meditative practices also draw practitioners into being more aware of themselves, including the state of their bodies and the nature of their wandering minds. Often through that self-awareness, they find a greater understanding of why they do the things they do. This can help those who meditate become more productive in the workplace, for example, which can lead directly to raises and promotions . They also often gain a healthier understanding of their bodies, which can often lead to earlier diagnoses of ailments when they're easily treatable. All of those factors are of enormous financial benefit.

[See: 9 Scary Things Consumers Do With Their Money .]

Meditation increases happiness. Meditation has been shown to cause people to indicate a higher level of personal happiness in their lives. Often, people spend money in various ways in search of personal happiness, as they'll buy unnecessary items to "keep up with the Joneses," embark on pricey vacations or buy luxury items in an effort to achieve personal joy. Meditation helps people to find more internal sources of happiness, so there is less need or desire to spend money on external sources of happiness.

Remember, these changes are gradual. When they meditate, most new practitioners aren't going to open their eyes after one five-minute session and find themselves transformed. It takes weeks and months of daily practice, and the changes are incremental and often not noticed on a daily basis.

So, how can you get started? Harris suggests a simple practice to get started, which basically boils down to putting aside just a few moments each day to do something so simple anyone could do it. Just sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes and concentrate on the in-and-out of your breathing. If you find your mind wandering, just bring it back to your breathing, in and out. That's it. Do it every day and you'll gradually see improvements in stress levels, concentration, self-awareness and happiness, and all of those will help you with effective financial management .

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Raymond Mitchell, Author

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