In the world of speed, slowing down is not just an option but an obligation for our health.
Meditation is taking a few moments out of your day, only to focus on yourself and let the world around you fade away.
Even the idea of it sounds relaxing and soothing.
The popularity of meditation increases as the new benefits of it is unearthed.
Meditation teaches your mind to be more present and collected.
You can use meditation to increase your awareness of your surroundings. Some people think that meditation can reduce their anxiety and stress.
Let’s look into some scientifically proven reasons why you should start meditating regularly.
- Meditation Reduces Stress
Stress relief is one of the main reasons most people try meditation.
Physical and mental stress can interrupt sleep, reduce appetite, reduce focus, and degrade workplace performance.
Stress also increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol level increases risks of inflammatory disease, hypertension, and abnormal blood sugar.
In an 8-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress.
- Meditation Improves Sleep Quality
Good quality sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. However, nearly half of the population has reported suffering from insomnia in at least one stage of their lives.
A study conducted to identify the impact of meditation on the quality of sleep found that people who meditated slept peacefully for a more extended amount of time than those who did not.
Meditation helps you to calm down and fall asleep faster. It also reduces restlessness and racing thoughts, which is often the main reason behind insomnia.
Meditating before bed can help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer peacefully.
Learn more about scientifically proven ways to sleep better at night.
- Meditation Decreases Hypertension
Physical and mental stress is one of the main reasons behind hypertension.
Meditation regularly reduces stress; as a result, reducing symptoms of hypertension. Meditation also improves health by reducing strain on the heart.
Meditation relaxes the nerve function that coordinates the “fight-or-flight” response that creates alertness in stressful situations.
A meta-analysis of 12 studies enrolling nearly 1000 participants found that transcendental meditation helped reduce blood pressure. The study found meditation was more effective among older volunteers and volunteers with higher blood pressure before the study.
- Meditation Improves Focus and Concentration
Mindful meditation keeps your mind focused and present increases clarity and attentiveness. Regular meditation helps to keep your train of thought organized, advances decision-making ability and performance.
Feeling stressed and anxious while making decisions or before a big event is relatively common. Spending a few minutes on mindful meditation can help you reduce stress and function better.
A 2011 study from the Harvard Medical School examined the effects of mindfulness meditation. The result showed a connection between mindfulness and processing new information.
Moreover, a 2016 study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated how mindfulness meditation could improve concentration and decision making.
- Meditation Keeps the Brain “Young”
A focused mind that can think clearly with clarity is considered to be a young mind.
With age, the volume of grey matter in our brain decreases. A study conducted at UCLA found that participants who had been meditating for 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout the brain. However, the older participants still demonstrated some loss in the grey matter volume — yet less pronounced than the non-meditators.
Furthermore, a review found preliminary evidence that multiple meditation styles can increase attention, memory, and mental quickness in older volunteers.
Meditation can also partially improve the memory of patients with dementia.
- Meditation Improves Mood and Behavior
Some types of meditation introduce a positive mindset and reduce negative thoughts.
Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, develops positive self-awareness and promotes self-love. Through practice, people can also learn to exhibit love towards others, even to their foes.
A meta-analysis of 22 studies on this form of meditation demonstrated its ability to increase peoples’ compassion toward themselves and others.
Individuals with less self-control with tendencies of getting involved in fights may find special types of meditation helpful to better self-control and learn to deal with stressful situations.
- Meditation Helps to Manage Anxiety and Depression
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
― Lao Tzu
Meditation helps your mind to stay focused on the present — staying away from anxiety and depression.
A 2014 research analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindful meditation can help ease anxiety and depression and be part of a comprehensive mental health treatment plan.
Meditation helps decrease work-related anxiety. One study found that employees who used a mindfulness meditation app for eight weeks experienced improved feelings of well-being and reduced distress and job strain than those in a control group.
- Meditation Improves Emotional health
Meditation helps you develop a better self-image and healthier outlook towards life.
Meditation reduces anxiety and depression and improves overall mental health. It also teaches how to control emotion better and how to express emotion healthily.
Furthermore, inflammatory chemicals called cytokines released in response to stress can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may also reduce depression by decreasing levels of these inflammatory chemicals.
- Meditation Helps Fight Addiction
Mindful meditation allows your brain to regain control over cravings and addiction. It can also alter the brain receptors associated with drug and alcohol addiction.
A 2018 study published in Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation found that mindfulness training can help prevent future relapses for people with a substance use disorder. It produces a therapeutic effect that helps regulate how the brain experiences pleasure.
Meditation may also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce emotional and binge eating.
The best thing about meditation is it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere.
Anyone can try meditating to improve their physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life.
There’s a great variety of styles too, each with different strengths and benefits.
Take a few minutes for yourself out of your busy day to unravel and decompress with a meditation style that suits you and your lifestyle the best.
Do you meditate regularly? Comment below to let us know your experience.