Meditation is the practice of calming the mind and grounding yourself in the present. Although there are many health benefits linked to meditation, it is often overlooked as a legitimate method to heal the body and the mind. For those who may be curious about the health benefits of meditation but are not quite sure if they are ready to begin meditating on their own, here are some ways in which meditation can help you.
For one it is a good positive diversion in reducing stress and anxiety, a form of self-help towards getting inner peace. Compare this to resorting to negative diversions due to stress, such as alcohol and substance abuse, which will definitely give birth to more problems as you would need help dealing with the addiction.
For Leslie Ellen Ray, LMFT, “Meditation provides the path inward to separate from external noise and activity; being rather than doing. Initially, we may become aware of the constant mind chatter which can be distracting if not discouraging. But with practice and patience, the space within quiets and the awareness begins to find its way back to that quiet when it becomes distracted by the bubbling mind chatter.
- Meditation Helps Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety Levels
Meditation teaches individuals how to be present and relaxed in their life without allowing the usual flood of thoughts to control them, which helps reduce stress and anxiety levels. For example, one study that was published by the Oxford University Press discovered that people suffering from anxiety could greatly reduce their anxiety levels simply by meditating daily. Another study published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides evidence that certain types of meditation reduce the grey-matter density in certain parts of the brain that contribute to anxiety and stress. Overall, meditation is a great exercise for those who are overly stressed or anxious.
- Meditation Can Improve Your Concentration
Because meditation is an exercise that focuses on concentrating on the present rather than thinking about the future and the past, it teaches those who practice it how to improve their concentration on the task at hand. If you’re having trouble at work or at school, daily meditation may be the answer to your problems. Science shows that it can improve your ability to multitask as well which may come in handy for people who have fast-paced careers.
“Mindfulness meditation,” explains Albina Tamalonis, PsyD, “which is very popular today, focuses on the breath while allowing your thoughts to come in and out of your mind with awareness, acceptance and no judgment. This teaches you to slow down the mind, and sit with thoughts while breaking habitual negative reactions.”
- Meditation Can Ease Depression
One issue that people with depression share is that they focus on the negative aspects of their lives and of themselves, allowing those thoughts to fill their minds daily. Through meditation, those suffering from depression can teach themselves how to be mindful of their thoughts. Rather than focusing on the negative thoughts about their past and future, they can let the thoughts pass by and enjoy the present. However, meditation is not a treatment or a cure for depression and those who are currently dealing with depression should reach out to a therapist rather than solely practice meditation.
- Meditation Affects the Body
Meditation has the ability to affect several issues pertaining to the body such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and aging. Those who choose to meditate daily can expect to see improvement when dealing with ailments such as those mentioned above and can also experience additional benefits such as slower aging and higher pain tolerance. These types of benefits can most likely be linked to the fact that those who practice meditation experience a lower amount of stress than those who do not.
- Meditation Changes Your Perception of Life
Those who have issues being social, who have trouble being empathetic, or who have negative feelings towards themselves will see a shift in these types of mindsets after they begin meditating. Certain types of meditation such as Metta meditation can help those with the above emotional issues change the way they think about others and the way they think about themselves. This is because these types of exercises teach you how to open up emotionally and how to be more caring towards everything around you.
“Research shows that practicing mindfulness can improve a person’s general sense of well-being and life satisfaction, helping people to cherish each present moment and weather the storms of life.” – Caroline Sweatt-Eldredge, LPC.
Meditation is a simple and positive exercise that can have astounding effects on your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. If you’re looking for a way to change your life that won’t require expensive treatments or large amounts of your time, experiment with meditation.