9 Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is one of the simplest steps you can take to be successful.
For centuries, meditation has been utilised by several religions to reach enlightenment. Usually associated with hours and hours of blissful detachment, it is to no surprise that it has been viewed as something elusive to the privileged few.
Today, the exercise of quieting your mind, even for a few minutes a day, has taken the world by storm. Many celebrities, from movie stars, athletes, to business tycoons, swear by including this practice in their daily routines.
In this article, you will discover 9 health benefits of meditation that can help you change your life too.
1. Improves your health
Contrary to the title, there are forms of meditation that are not just about sitting still. Yoga and Tai Chi are great examples. Through a series of poses, postures, and movement from rich spiritual traditions, these methods cultivate mental and physical control and discipline. Transcendental and Mindfulness meditation also helps improve cardiovascular health.
Meditation grants your body an inner source of energy. At the same time, it helps improve the quality of your sleep and manage your heart and respiratory rate.
Pain management is also something that meditation can help with, especially for tension headaches, ulcers, and muscle or joint problems.
2. Allows for healthy aging
Chronic inflammation is a condition where the body’s response to harm lingers. This can result in short-term and long-term harm in the body.
One of the reasons why this happens is psychological stress. With the help of standard treatments, meditation has been found to reduce levels of pro-inflammatory genes.
This helps prevent chronic inflammation’s long-term effects which include cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Meditation also helps preserve the brain as it ages. People who have meditated for an average of 20 years have shown more grey matter volume in their brains despite their age. This allows for better muscle control, seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, and others.
As if it weren’t enough to make you stronger today, meditation carries benefits that let you enjoy good health that could last a lifetime.
3. Promotes focus and creativity
With what it can do to your brain, meditation strengthens your ability to concentrate.
In a study led by Katherin MacLean in University of California, respondents were made to perform a long, boring, and repetitive task to test their ability to concentrate in a difficult situation. The study indicated a big advantage in the accuracy of those who meditated over those who did not.
While meditation can make you sharper, it also promotes divergent and creative thinking to complement information-based reasoning. Both are needed to succeed in life and the workplace.
4. Helps let go of bad habits
Mindfulness meditation was found to be able to help people let go of bad habits or addictions. By learning how to “decouple” good feelings with negative behavior, those who practice this regularly are able to divert their desires into healthier methods.
Meditation, through awareness and intent, can allow you to make sound decisions and maintain self-control despite inevitable internal or external distractions.
5. Keeps you calm
As technology makes the world faster, we, humans, try harder and harder to cope with increasing demands and expectations. Anxiety, overwhelm, and emotional instability are becoming more common even to younger generations.
Meditation brings your brainwave pattern into the alpha state. This promotes healing and calmness, reducing symptoms of anxiety, stress, job strain, and burnout.
Zen-type meditations are found to reduce worrying. It trains you to accept ideas and thoughts without allowing them to get a hold of you.
Whenever you feel as if the world’s weight were on your shoulders, remember that you also have the tools you need to go within and find your quiet.
6. Makes you happier
One of the most popular benefits of meditation is how it can make you happier and less irritable. Regular practice is found to be able to increase your serotonin production. This hormone helps improve your mood and behavior.
In mindfulness meditation, one is guided into looking at reality through a non-judgemental and accepting lens. It is a reminder that events, sensations, and thoughts have no power over you. They are simply objects that you can observe and choose to let go of. This elicits a sense of empowerment that can help reduce symptoms of depression.
Meditation promotes mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence, which all help retain happiness despite setbacks. While everyone is still prone to moments of sadness, people who meditate tend to be better at acknowledging them, and then choosing to move forward.
7. Deepens your relationships with others
Humans are social beings. We thrive on connections and relationships. Creating these requires empathy and compassion to accept others, and vulnerability and courage to share ourselves.
While all meditation methods can foster empathy and compassion, Lovingkindness meditation is a method that especially focuses on the creation of a “feeling of goodwill towards all living things”.
Having an understanding of your feelings and values that you can attain through regular meditation practice, you will also learn to communicate better. This will help decrease loneliness and increase satisfaction in relationships, platonic or romantic alike.
8. Cultivates your relationship with yourself
As mentioned in the previous section, vulnerability and courage are necessary to create deep and meaningful connections with others. These can only be attained by first developing a deep, meaningful, and loving connection with yourself.
Compassion for others starts with self-compassion. Meditation can help you discover what truly makes you happy by helping you attain a better clarity of your thoughts and feelings. Likewise, it will shed light on things that are holding you back.
This awareness makes you better equipped to forgive, be vulnerable, take courage, and move forward in pursuit of the joy that you deserve.
9. Connects you to the infinite
Enlightenment, best described as a “state of perfect happiness and understanding” can mean different things to different people. For Christians, this means being connected to God. For others, this can mean being connected to your purpose. This entails being connected to your true self and being aware of your place in the world.
Being connected to your true self gives you a feeling of vastness and possibility. You become aware of your talents, values, and even insecurities. At the same time, experiencing the enormity of everything else grants a feeling of humility. Suddenly, no obstacle is as large as you thought it was. In the great expanse of the universe, everything has a place and a purpose, including yourself.
These two contrasting ideas help give meaning to things that you do and will allow you to live every day with joy and intention.
While different kinds of meditation highlight specific benefits, every single one is capable of allowing you to experience all its advantages through regular practice.
Do you prefer the quiet calm of zen and mindful meditation or the experience of being one with the body through movement with yoga and tai chi? Choose a method that best resonates with you.
Much of how you live and experience life depends on how you take it physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Meditation is a way to cultivate all of those by taking the time to look within.