What Is Meditation?
‘Meditation’ a word we’ve all heard one place or another, seen on TV shows, on our phones; it always seems mystical or magical in a way; but trust me tons of scientific research have been done in the name of ‘Meditation’ and I’m going to share some of these findings with you in the form of 10 Benefits of Meditation.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed; I haven’t really explained what meditation is or how it’s practiced, well this is because I had made a post earlier on the INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION; which you can check out.
Okay, if you haven’t the time to check out the former post; I’ll just give you a short introduction to meditation: Meditation is a spiritual practice, that can be traced as far back to the 16th-Century-India.
Meditation which was more or less brought to light by Siddhartha Gautama aka Buddha(the awakened one); has now found it’s way to most of the world and has now become of enormous benefit to a number of people, because of how much it can transform a life.
Meditation is more or less a breathing technique, it focuses on breathing, and awareness; which in turn quiets the mind and brings you to the present moment(which Allan Watts had once described as ‘Infinite’ and filled with ‘Awe’).
Okay, I know this all sounds mystical and….well I’ll just go straight to the point of the post; which is to bring you the Health benefits of this wonderful practice; backed with as much Science-based facts and points I can provide. Let’s go!
10 Benefits Meditation Has To Your Health:
- Effective Against Memory Loss In Older Individuals
- Controls Anxiety
- Manages Addiction
- Boosts Emotional Health
- Cures Insomnia
- Manages Blood Pressure
- Builds Compassion
- Effective Stress Management
- Improves Patience And Tolerance
- Improves Attention Span
1) Effective Against Memory Loss:
Meditation greatly improves clarity of thinking, and in turn this can keep your mind young for the long run.
As per the National Institute of Health: A review of about 12 studies showed that multiple forms of meditation improved attention, memory and mental quickness in older individuals.
Another finding showed that meditation can help patients with dementia– making it more manageable.
2) Controls Anxiety:
As it is widely known; meditation greatly alleviates stress and amazingly it can greatly improve anxiety-disorders.
As per Research Gate: One eight week mindfulness meditation program; helped participants reduce their anxiety.
Also a larger study that featured 2466 participants showed that a variety of different meditation strategies may reduce anxiety levels.
Lastly, as per PsycNet: one other study showed that meditation can help manage job-related anxiety in a high pressure environment; by a meditation program that featured a group of nurses.
3) Manages Addition:
One cool thing about meditation is the self-control you gain from it. There is just something about paying attention to your thoughts that brings about incredible self-awareness and thus; Self-discipline.
As per Pubmed Central: a research showed that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, control their emotions and impulses, and even be aware of the reasons behind these feelings.
Also another study that featured 19 recovering alcoholics; who were taught to meditate; got better at controlling their cravings and the stress that came with it.
4) Boosts Emotional Health:
Meditation can greatly transform a person’s perspective and how he/she views life; which can in turn bring forth a more positive outlook on life.
As per Science Direct: One study involving 18 volunteers; who were being monitored as they practiced meditation in the span of three years; showed that participants showed long decreases in depression.
Also, as per Pubmed Central: two other studies of mindfulness found decreased depression in over 4600 adults.
Cytokines(inflammatory chemicals) which are released in response to stress, which can affect mood and lead to depression; may decrease, therefore reducing depression.
Lastly, studies have also shown that meditation can bring forth positive thinking and optimism.
5) Cures Insomnia:
Meditation can help control the ‘monkey mind’: by observing your thoughts, the begin to slow down, and your mind begins to clear, you begin to feel relaxed, and before you know it; you are fast asleep.
As per Pubmed Central: a study compared two mindfulness-based meditation programs; one involved individuals who meditated and the other: individuals who didn’t. The ones who meditated slept sooner and longer than the group who didn’t.
6) Manages Blood Pressure:
Meditation can control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, and the tension in blood vessels.
As per Pubmed Central: one study of 996 volunteers found that when they meditated by concentrating on a ‘silent-mantra’– blood pressure was reduced by about five points, on average.
It was more effective among the aged volunteers and those who had higher blood pressure prior to the study.
7) Builds Compassion:
Loving-kindness meditation is aimed at cultivating positive feelings, love towards one’s self and then to others. You begin to feel and behave more compassionately, act with kindness and empathy.
A study involving 100 adults who were included into incoherent loving-kindness meditation programs; showed that the benefits were dose-dependent— the more effort you put in, the more positive feelings they experienced.
8) Effective Stress Management:
Meditation cannot only reduce stress, but it can also reduce symptoms in individuals with stress-triggered medical conditions.
As per Pubmed Central: one study including over 3500 adults showed that meditation lives up to its reputation for stress reduction.
More on Pubmed Central.
9) Improves Patience And Tolerance:
Meditation can alter an individual’s perception of pain/stress in the brain, and make it easier to cope with pain (tolerance).
As per Pubmed Central: one study used MRI techniques to observe the brain activity of the participants as they experienced a painful stimulus. Some of them had meditated for four consecutive days, some did not.
The ones who meditated showed activities in the brain centers that control pain, and they also reported less sentivity to the painful stimulus.
Another study found that meditation may help mitigate chronic pain at the end of life.
10) Improves Attention Span:
This is one of the first things I noticed when I started meditation.
As per: a study observed the effects of an eight-week mindfulness meditation course and found participants’ ability to redirect and maintain their attention had improved.
Also, as per Pubmed Central: one study showed that meditation may even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying, and poor attention.
There they are! Finally, I’m done, wasn’t easy, but information has to be shared. There you go: 10 science-backed benefits of meditation. I have noticed all these changes in my life, I hope you do to! Don’t forget to leave a feedback if you found this article helpful, thanks.