Lately, it is becoming difficult to scroll through our social media feeds or the news without seeing a thing about meditation and how it can transform your life. Everyone else seems interested in this meditative practice these days, but is there any actual evidence to substantiate the enormous benefits of this practice?
Is it, in reality, helpful to everybody? And how can it help you live a better life? When you’re so occupied with everyday tasks, how can you possibly make out time to practice meditation?
The good thing about meditation is that it wouldn’t need loads of effort, or a great deal of time or the attendance of a year-long class to begin practicing it and enjoying its vast benefits. According to several new findings, practicing meditation for just twenty minutes per day is sufficient to reap the bulk of the rewards of the practice.
We’ll go over some of the tried-and-true perks of meditation, as well as the studies that back them up.
1. Mood Stability and Brain Health
Meditation, as you might expect, offers several advantages for your mental health and maintaining a consistent mood all through the day. So, if your stress or mood levels fluctuate during the day, this resource is your best bet.
2. Helps to Alleviate Depression
Millions of individuals worldwide suffer from depression each year. With email, social networking, remote work, and teleconferencing making in-person encounters less and less necessary, rates of depression, loneliness, and isolation are greater than before.
The great news is that mindfulness meditation and meditation have been proven in many ways to mitigate anxiety and stress in people ranging from those staying in senior nursing homes to high school students.
3. Improves Your Mood
Mood swings happen to everyone every now and again. We all experience mood swings on a regular basis as a result of good news, bad news, exciting events, and work-related stress. Meditation can help you achieve a state of awareness that allows you to be more adaptable to stressful situations and commitments all through the day.
4. Helps in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Indeed, meditation is so powerful in stabilizing and harmonizing your mood and general attitude that it has been shown to help patients with anxiety problems. Several pieces of research evaluated by Pubmed and Psycinfo offer concrete results in randomized investigations where individuals experienced significant reductions in anxiety levels.
5. Minimizes Anxiety and Stress in the General Population
This is probably one of the most common reasons why individuals begin meditating in the first instance. Finances, relationships, family, friends, jobs, and other factors all contribute to our stress levels. Even good stress causes worry and tension, which has a negative impact on our health. According to a study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, people who engaged in the meditation practice on a daily basis showed substantial decreases in their grey matter, which is found in areas of the brain linked to stress and anxiety.
6. Reduces the Likelihood of Panic Attacks
Meditation may help you reduce your chance of experiencing a panic attack as it could help you deal with everything from normal stress to severe depression and anxiety. After just three months of practicing meditation, twenty out of twenty-two participants with an anxiety disorder had significant reductions in their anxiety levels and risk factors for panic attacks, according to research published in the AJP (American Journal of Psychiatry).
7. Can Decrease the Amount of Sleep You Need
This is an intriguing finding; several meditation studies have indicated that times of profound concentration could be a sufficient alternative for slumber. Even when experiencing a sleep deficiency, seasoned meditators saw substantial concentration and performance improvements in routine activities and duties of everyday living, according to research conducted by the University of Kentucky.
8. Reduces the Consumption of Drugs and Alcohol
Three studies published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine featured imprisoned people engaging in Vipassana meditation, with notable reductions in their need for drugs and alcohol.
9. Mental Capabilities
You are probably aware of this already, but meditation provides several cognitive performance gains that you can benefit from daily.
10. Meditation Improves Concentration
The University of California discovered that by employing meditation, they could improve their students’ concentration. Also, they saw enhanced results when performing repetitive or boring activities. Another research found that participants who engaged in meditation for just twenty minutes every day could perform several times higher on cognitive abilities exams than their non-meditating counterparts.
11. Facilitates Information Processing and Reasoning
Are you aware that meditation may help you assimilate information more quickly so you can make better decisions? Individuals who practice meditation often have their cortex more gyrified, which is connected to their brain’s capacity to absorb information, according to another University of California, Los Angeles research.
12. It Helps You Make Better Decisions
The very same UCLA research that evaluated how meditation impacts your brain’s capacity to handle information quicker also found out that meditation helps the same area of the brain that helps in decision-making.
13. Boosts Mental Fortitude and Emotional Intelligence
Dr. Ron Alexander writes in his meditation book that the practice of meditation empowers you to tap into your mind’s inherent power and also makes you increasingly conscious of yourself and the people and events around you.
14. Meditation Increases Pain Resilience
Mindfulness may even enable you to manage your pain. Researchers at the University of Montreal used a group of thirteen zen masters and thirteen non-meditation practitioners and subjected them to the very same level of discomfort/pain through supervised heat exposure. They used an effective magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to track both parties’ cognitive activity to see how they reacted to the discomfort/pain. The zen masters’ brains detected lesser pain than they were receiving, even though the MRI revealed that both parties were going through the same level of agony.
15. Meditation as a Pain-Relieving Technique
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center conducted research wherein they took fifteen healthy people and introduced them to the practice of meditation. Both before the test and after the test, the study participants were subjected to the very same level of heat distress. They barely stayed for four twenty-minute sessions in all. They used a magnetic resonance imagining technique to record their brain’s response before and after the meditation exercises.
The researchers discovered a whopping forty percent reduction in pain level and a fifty-seven percent reduction in pain-related distress. Pain-relieving medications like morphine, on the other hand, only lower pain by around twenty-five percent.
16. Treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
People with ADHD who received mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) were the participants of recent research. After undergoing MBCT, they discovered that all of the participants’ symptoms of impulsive and hyperactivity had decreased.
17. Meditation Improves Focus in Distracting or Chaotic Situations
This is in line with recent research that found meditation to be effective in reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity in people with ADHD. People with a greater meditation experience had stronger brain connections in the brain regions that correlate with attention span and attention, according to research from researchers at the Emory University in Atlanta. These identical brain regions might be linked to our ability to disconnect from distractions.
18. Helps with memory
According to several pieces of research, engaging in meditation practice on a routine basis over time can help increase grey matter in the brain regions associated with memory, information retention, and learning.
19. Helps with Learning
Because meditation has been associated with improved memory, studies have revealed that the practice can also enable you to acquire and remember new knowledge and skills more quickly.
20. Meditation Makes You More Self Aware
One of the perks of meditation is the fact that it can boost your level of self-consciousness and also your level of consciousness of the people and things around you.
21. Precludes You from Multi-tasking
Multitasking is a capability that some individuals claim they have because they can handle many obligations or activities simultaneously. Multitasking can hinder you from making any progress entirely or properly since the number of interruptions forces your productivity to deteriorate. The fact remains that multitasking isn’t a skill, and it may be a major stressor. When your brain needs to make a transition to and fro and all over the place from project to project, all of your cognitive points might be swiftly depleted.
Both the University of Washington and the University of Arizona carried out studies that found that practicing meditation helped HR professionals handle their daily stress better. The participants were put to the test pre and post eight weeks of meditation instruction by being assigned a variety of strenuous activities. The investigators discovered that after the eight weeks of mindfulness and meditation training, the same HR employees were less stressed altogether, had greater memory retentiveness for past assignments and tasks, and transitioned between activities less frequently than before engaging in the mindfulness training.
22. Meditation Improves Our Brain’s Ability To Work Efficiently With Resource Constraints
Whenever the human brain is exposed to a series of images or facts that are exhibited or enumerated sequentially, it tends to recall the very first fact or image the best and forget the next. This is referred to as an attentional blink.
Participants were presented with a series of randomized alphabets that appeared on a computer monitor at a rapid pace in a research conducted by the University of California. They were instructed to fill in the alphabets from the series that they could recall.
The investigators discovered that participants who had practiced rigorous meditation for three months previous to the assessment had greater attention span management and were better able to dedicate their attention to committing things from the sequence to their memory.
23. Boosts Creativity
Meditation and mindfulness exercise, according to researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands, enhanced creativity in their participant’s minds. When prompted to make a list of fresh ideas, those who maintained some type of mindfulness training scored better than those who did not.
24. Physical Fitness
Meditation is a wonderful technique and exercise for enhancing your psychological health, as is already obvious to you. Also, it comes with a host of advantages for your physiological and physical well-being.
25. Reduces The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease causes more deaths than just about any other illness or medical problem on the planet. In 2012, fascinating research was released that comprised five-year research of two hundred people who were at a greater risk for developing a chronic or negative medical condition. The participants were categorized into two parts: one part attended a health education session that focused on consuming a healthy diet and exercising frequently, while the other part completed a mindfulness meditation session.
Over the course of five years, the mindfulness meditation party’s total risk of developing cardiovascular disease decreased by forty-eight percent.
26. Decreases Risk of Stroke
According to the same research mentioned in Time Magazine, mindfulness meditation dramatically reduced the health risks connected with coming down with a stroke.
27. Decreases Blood Pressure
Zen meditation practice has been demonstrated to decrease hypertension in medical studies and trials. Another study found that when hypertensive patients performed meditation for three months, sixty-six percent of them had a significant reduction in their hypertension rate and no longer required blood pressure-maintaining medications to keep them healthy. While meditating, they relaxed more, and this boosted their body’s nitric oxide synthesis, which dilates their blood vessels and went further to lower their blood pressure.
28. Reduces Inflammation
Research done and documented in both Spain and France found that meditation and mindfulness training have notable effects on the human body even at the molecular level by lowering the numbers of genes linked to inflammation. Also, this implies that those who practice meditation recuperate from physically stressful circumstances more quickly.
29. Meditation Can Help with Bowel Inflammation, Arthritis, and Asthma
Two groups of participants were subjected to two distinct types of stress reduction strategies in a study done by researchers from the University of Wisconsin. One group received mindfulness training, while the other group received music therapy, exercise, and health education. They discovered that mindfulness meditation and exercises were much more beneficial than regular exercise and a healthy diet in reducing symptoms of inflammation.
30. Reduces Premenstrual Syndrome and Menopause Symptoms
Sure, this is good news for most ladies as it means fertility periods. This is the outcome of twenty controlled, random trials wherein women found that mindfulness and meditation helped them cope with the unpleasant consequences of premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
31. Lowers the Likelihood of Alzheimer Disease
A recent study has discovered that only thirty minutes of meditation each day not just to decreases your general sense of isolation, but also activate your mental state in manners that lower your risk of coming down with Alzheimer’s disease.
32. Meditation Can Help You Breathe Better and Decrease Your Heart Rate
Meditation can decrease your heart rate and enhance your cardiovascular metabolism, in addition to substantially reducing your overall stressfulness.
33. Meditation Can Help You Live Longer
With all of the proof that meditation may help you enhance your mental and physical health, it comes as no surprise that the practice can also help you live longer. Telomeres are a component of the chromosomes in our cells that influence how they age. Although this evidence isn’t exactly definitive, it appears that meditation and mindfulness can help slow down the aging process and decrease the rate of depletion of your telomeres.
The Advantages of Meditation for Your Relationships
Are you aware that meditation can help you build better relationships and connections with the people that matter most to you? Certainly, you could see from this post that some of the advantages of meditation might indirectly improve your connection with people with respect to physical and mental health benefits. Let’s look at how the different types of meditation might help you improve your relationships.
People who practice compassionate mindfulness concentrate on cultivating a sense of love and compassion towards everything and everyone. It focuses primarily on developing empathy and a type of ubiquitous optimism that can be transmitted and utilized to almost any social context. An Emory University study has demonstrated that compassionate meditation can improve your ability to read and interpret people’s facial expressions. This also aids in the development of a good sense of identity, which is critical for healthy self-confidence and the prevention of unhappiness, loneliness, and depression.
Improves the Feeling of Connectedness to Others
Practicing compassionate meditation furnishes you with more connectedness and empathic feeling for people around you. And this is arguably a great practice for people aiming to build new strategic relationships or who wish to put themselves in the shoes of some other person.
In one research, participants were put through a nine-week compassion development practice. The people felt and exhibited greater empathy toward others, received greater empathy from others, and also had higher levels of empathy for themselves at the close of the nine-week practice session.
Decreases Perceptions of Social Isolation
According to research performed by the APA (American Psychological Association), individuals who practiced caring meditation for only a few minutes each day saw a boost in emotions of optimism and general connectedness to others around them. This type of meditation can assist introverted or negative persons in forming stronger bonds with others.
Reduces the Negative Consequences of Emotional Eating
- Credible research from experts has shown that meditation can help you avoid emotional eating’s harmful consequences. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent method to control emotional eating and avoid getting obese or overweight.
The Advantages of Meditation for Children
Mindfulness and meditation aren’t just things for adults; they offer several advantages for children as well. Mindfulness training for children has demonstrated a plethora of wonderful advantages, including:
- Reduction in depressive symptoms
- A drop in total stress
- Decrease in the rate of disputes with agemates
- Reduction in drug, alcohol, and substance addiction
- Improved levels of self-care
- Greater feelings of happiness, pleasure, and optimism
- Improved self-esteem
- Improved social abilities
- Improved sleep quality
- Improved self-awareness
- Academic achievement has improved
Since they do not already have the responsibilities and duties of adulthood, students may find it simpler to enter into a meditative state of mindfulness.
Overall, mindfulness and meditation seem to offer a wide range of health advantages, ranging from mental to physical well-being, overall health, and even marital health. Even though certain disputed advantages of meditation were still not fully substantiated by current studies, it looks that we’re on the path to carrying out more research and evidence that will lead us to more and more advantages of comprehensive, frequent meditation and mindfulness.
One of the most appealing features of adopting mindfulness and meditation is that it is available to just about anyone who’d like to give it a try, and it serves children, the elderly, and even nursing mothers!
If this is your first time trying meditation, your best bet to getting started with the practice is to set off with guided meditation. Lots of the paid and free applications available for iPhone and Android will help you start with mindful respiration and progress from there. The smartphone applications have beginner’s programs for those that are just starting up with the practice.
Also, there’re several excellent books available to embark on your meditation journey. Sit back down on a comfy chair and pick up a book on meditation and mindfulness for beginners to offer you an introductory and supervised approach for getting started with your personal meditation practice.
There’re several methods you can adopt to pursue or practice mindfulness or meditation, as well as numerous tools to assist you in doing so. There is no doubt that these tools may provide an excellent technique for you. Plus, they’d significantly enhance your quality of life and health when you’ve mastered them. So, sit down in your preferred meditation and mindfulness chair and give the practice a shot!