There are many benefits of regular meditation, and by the end of this post you will hopefully be convinced to give meditation a try!
Meditation is a practice that involves training your mind to focus. It has a really long history, of course, and it’s popularity to the general public comes and goes. Undoubtedly, you’ve read articles about it, or heard celebrities rave about it. Maybe you know people personally who practice it.
The benefits of regular meditation are many, and people are drawn to it for a variety of reasons. Some feel it helps them to feel calmer when life is particularly hectic. Others just want to reduce their overall stress or to improve their sleep and feel meditation will help. Maybe you heard that meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. All of these things are true.
So let’s look at these benefits of regular meditation, to help you determine whether meditation seems like a practice you want to incorporate into your life.
Reducing stress is probably the main reason most people decide to try meditation. Let’s face it–in today’s world, there’s a lot to worry about, if you pay attention!
Sitting quietly to relax your mind and focus your thoughts doesn’t just provide a nice moment of calm. Science actually shows this practice works to lower stress levels. A hormone called cortisol is released into our bodies when we’re physically and emotionally stressed, and it can wreak all kinds of havoc.
The release of cortisol stimulates the production of chemicals known as cytokines that promote inflammation. They also contribute to higher blood pressure, increased fatigue and brain fog. Moreover, they can contribute to depression and anxiety. Multiple studies have demonstrated that mindfulness meditation leads to a reduction of these chemicals, in turn lessening overall feelings of stress in participants.
Better Emotional Well-Being
If you deal with anxiety or depression, meditation could be a tool to improve your overall sense of emotional health. One scientific study looked at the electrical activity in the brains of participants who practiced meditation and those who didn’t. The researchers discovered that there was a significant change in the areas of the brain responsible for optimism and positive thinking in those who meditated.
In another study involving individuals suffering from depression, 18 people were asked to practice meditation for a three-year period. This work determined that the participants actually experienced decreases in their depression that proved to be long-lasting and significant.
Moreover, you will almost certainly notice a change in your day to day state of mind if you can make meditation a consistent practice. Being calm even-keeled in a sometimes frantic world is a real blessing!
Many people struggle with restless sleep or insomnia. It’s a chronic issue that has multiple detrimental effects.
Lack of sleep makes us less alert, clouds our thinking, and is detrimental to our physical health. In one research study, participants were placed in two groups. The first group was instructed to meditate, while the other was not. I bet you can guess which group ended up sleeping better and for longer periods. Yep, it was the one that practiced meditation.
One of the reasons meditating helps you sleep better is because you learn to control those racing thoughts that keep so many of us awake for hours after our heads hit the pillow. It also aids in overall relaxation which needed to fall asleep more easily.
Decreased Blood Pressure
Meditation has been shown to reduce strain on the heart. Studies have shown that meditating can help to reduce tension in the blood vessels and relax the nerve signals that control heart function, leading to lowering of blood pressure. It also lessens the flight or fight response that is known to contribute to high stress levels and to have an effect on blood pressure.
These are just some of the many health and emotional benefits of meditation. There are numerous others. The EOC Institute lists 141 benefits! Engaging in a regular practice of meditating can help you to find specific advantages it can provide for you.
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