Benefits of Meditation

Why is meditation so popular nowadays? First off, you don’t need a gym membership to do it, anyone can meditate from anywhere in the world and people have been for thousands of years. There have also been thousands of studies conducted on meditation and the health benefits that come from it. It has been found that meditating can reduce stress, improve sleep and even help improve your personal relationships.

The purpose and outcome of your meditation depends entirely on you. Anyone who practices meditation regularly will experience benefits mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

You might have heard different facts about meditation but what actually is it? Some people think it’s purely about concentration, it’s not. It’s about relaxing your body and mind and instead of focusing on something, focusing on nothing. Some people want to start meditating due to doctors advice to lower blood pressure or to help with your sleeping pattern, or you might want to find a greater understanding of yourself and life. If you're debating starting meditation but unsure if it’s for you, take a look at some of the benefits listed below.

Reduces pain

Although it may not feel like it at the time, pain is connected to your state of mind. In 2016, a research group conducted a study that discovered that meditation practice dramatically reduced the intensity of the pain inflicted compared to the participants who were not meditating.

Their brain activity was monitored through an MRI machine and the meditating patients showed a higher level of activity in the area of the brain that controls pain, they also reported less pain than the other participants.

Improve your passion

It has become very common for sportspeople to meditate to help them perform to their physical peak. They can do this by focusing on their goals and not getting distracted. Meditation has also become very popular with artists lately, this is because it helps them become more in touch with their creativity. Meditation helps to relax, and quite your mind and opens it up to your imagination. No matter what your line of work, meditation will help you clear your mind and think more clearly. This means that you will be able to enjoy your job and bring new, fresh ideas to the table.

Reduces blood pressure

Meditation has been proven to reduce the risk of strokes and heart diseases. Meditating helps to lower blood pressure and stress factors, this can help improve a person’s health by lowering strain on the heart. Once blood pressure is lowered, this can lead to lowering the risk of mortality and stroke in patients with heart diseases.
After much research, it has been proven that meditation is an effective treatment and practice to treat individuals with high blood pressure.

Help improve your sleep

Insomnia is something that everyone will have to deal with at some point in their life. Reports show that mindfulness meditation can help your sleeping habits. By meditating before you go to bed can help you sleep more soundly, for longer and make falling asleep easier itself.

A lot of the time lack of sleep is down to many thoughts running around in your mind, Insomnia can lead to depression, anxiety, and stress. Meditation can help you control and reduce these thoughts keeping you awake at night. It can also help to relax your muscles, release tension and put you in a more peaceful state ready to fall asleep.

De-stress

To de-stress and to calm down are one of the main reasons why so many people have decided to try meditation. Stress can cause insomnia, depression, anxiety and can even increase blood pressure. A study was conducted to see if meditation helps reduce stress levels, and over 3500 people proved that it does.

When you are stressed your mind tends to be working on overdrive. Stress can have a negative effect on your work, personal relationships and other aspects of your life. Meditation is found to help tackle these.

Linking in with stress, meditation can help lower stress levels which in return helps to lower anxiety levels. Meditation has been proven to also reduce social anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, and even some phobias. If you are in a job that causes high anxiety, then mindfulness meditation can help lower these symptoms and can even improve your work.

Increases self-awareness

I’m sure you have heard about many people visiting meditation retreats, this is because meditation is known to help people develop a stronger understanding of themselves. There are many different types of meditation that focus on different outcomes.

Some forms of meditation can help you to understand and relate to the people around you and gain a better understanding of yourself. Another one recognizes thoughts that may be considered as self-destructive and then you can stay clear of these try to stop them.

We have so many thoughts running around our head every day, half the time we have too many thoughts to even understand. Meditation gives you clarity on the thoughts you are having and helps you focus on the important ones. Everyone needs to have clarity in life, it will help you make the right decision and lead you down the correct path.

As well as self-awareness, meditation can also help with emotional health such as helping people cultivate a positive outlook on life, and how they view themselves. When a person is stressed inflammatory chemicals called cytokines are released into the body. These chemicals can lead to depression, but studies have shown that meditation can reduce the symptoms of depression by decreasing the chemicals in the body.

Can help you focus

If you struggle to focus or get distracted easily then focused-attention meditation will be perfect for you. This form of meditation is designed to help participants keep their attention for longer. Even meditating for a minimum of four days is enough to show effects of increasing your attention span.

Studies that have been conducted on this type of meditation has shown that it could actually reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to daydreaming, worrying and a lack of attention span. If you can focus better and longer on tasks, this can help improve learning and problem-solving in the long run.

Not only can it help you focus better, but meditation can also reduce memory loss and clarity. Kirtan Kriya is a type of meditation aimed at improving the participant's ability to perform memory tasks and can also help improve the memory of dementia patients.

Makes you a more compassionate person

Some forms of meditation can actually increase positive feeling and thought towards yourself and others, making you want to change your actions towards other people. A type of meditation that can help with this is called Metta, it is sometimes known as the loving-kindness meditation.

You are guided to developed positive thought and feelings about yourself, and to love yourself. Once you truly are at peace with yourself then you can work towards kindness and forgiveness to others. Some of the other benefits of this type of meditation are to help to increase your compassion and can help with social anxiety, anger management and help with any marital issues.

Help reduce anger and gain inner peace

Everyone gets angry, it isn’t nice and dealing with it can be tough. Certain types of meditation practices such as Metta have been shown to decrease the immune response in unpleasant situations and when a person is angry. Next time you are angry try meditation. See if it helps to calm you down.

When a person is scared or stressed the body causes a response that is called “fight or flight”, in stressful or negative situations will you stay and fight or walk away?  Research has proven that meditation causes an opposite response called “relaxation response”. This has the complete opposite response causing positive effects on the person's brain activity, blood pressure, and the heart rate.

Life can be stressful, and you get positive and negative things thrown in your direction every day. These can affect us physically, emotionally and mentally, sometimes you just need to take a step back and relax. Meditation can help to clear all the negative energy, thoughts and emotions from your body.

Sometimes it can be really nice just to take a break and have time for yourself to decompress, meditation provides you with the quiet time you need.

Fights depression

There are different things that can cause a person to be depressed. Loneliness is a big one. Being lonely is a horrible feeling and can lead to psychological and physical issues as well as social issues. Meditation is something that can be done in groups but even practiced solo can help reduce the feelings of loneliness. Meditation is about clearing your mind, becoming thoughtless. This can help reduce the feelings and thoughts a person can have that leads to depression.

Fight Addictions

Many people in their lifetime will, unfortunately, suffer from some form of addiction be it substance-related or just simple food cravings. Mindfulness meditation has become so popular that addiction treatment programs have started using it to help drug and alcohol addictions.

Meditating can help to strengthen your mental discipline and break away from any addiction or dependencies you may have. It can improve your self-control and awareness, so you know how to handle your addiction better.

Studies that have been done on this type of meditation show that it can help to redirect the participant's attention, increase willpower, and help to control any impulse they may have to give in to their addiction. If you suffer from binge eating or you find yourself snacking too much in the evening, then why not try some meditation techniques to rid your unwanted habits.

Mediation is free!

There are hundreds of different types of meditation, you just need to find the perfect one for you and the good thing about it is that it is free to do! Yes, you can go to meditation retreats or groups at the gym but if you don’t want to pay money then you can meditation from anywhere. Anywhere in the world, from a beach in Bali to your living room floor at home.

Find somewhere that is quiet and away from distractions, if you feel like you will end up back in bed or watching television then maybe don’t meditate in your house. Try your garden, an empty room in your house or join a meditation class at the gym. You can meditate for as long as you feel the need to but if you feel you are stuck for time, a few minutes each day is all you need.

If your new to meditation, you may find it scary or difficult to learn the meditation practices, group meditation helps a lot with this and can provide you guidance and support. A study conducted discovered that in only eight weeks, practicing meditation was already helping to make the participants feel calmer, and improved their memory, sense of self, stress and their memory.

There are lots of different videos on YouTube to help you try and find out what type of meditation is perfect for you. If you own a smartphone, there are apps specifically made to help you track and learn the different practices of meditation. One of the most popular meditation apps is called Headspace, created by a former Buddhist monk it is aimed at normal people wanting to incorporate meditation into their everyday lives.

Meditation is something that can be done by all ages of people, anywhere in the world. It can take a little bit of time to get used to it and to fully understand it but don’t be discouraged. It can improve your mental, physical and emotional health, and social skills. There is a huge community for people who practice meditation and can provide support and even friendship. Try out some different styles of meditation until you discover the perfect one for you.