Meditation used to be highly associated with religious practices, however it is becoming a much more popular practice that goes way beyond that. This is due to the growing knowledge of the numerous benefits that meditation has for our health. Meditating is the practice of focusing your attention and increasing your state of awareness. The benefits span from psychological to emotional to physical improvements.
One reason that many people turn to meditation is to reduce stress. Too much stress can have harmful effects on people if it’s not managed such as depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and increased blood pressure. Studies have shown that mediation has a significant impact on stress levels in adults. When practiced efficiently, mediation achieves a state of relaxation and can fight stress both short-term and long-term depending on the frequency of practice.
Meditation is also a great tool for improving our overall emotional well-beings. It has been shown to reduce many negative emotions as people practicing it begin to gain new perspectives and mindfulness. The mindfulness we gain through mediation helps us have greater acceptance and understanding of our physical and inner qualities. It also changes the way we look at the life surrounding us and promotes positivity and acceptance. Overall, meditating has shown to increase happiness and peace of mind.
As mentioned earlier, meditation reduces sleep deprivation. People who meditate report having much higher quality sleep than those who do not. One specific study organized people into two groups: those who would be practicing mediation and those who would not be. Sure enough, those who were in the mediation group fell asleep faster and slept longer than their counterparts. This could be a result of the ability we acquire through meditating to direct and control our thoughts. Most sleep issues are a result of minds running all over the place, so gaining the skill to control our thoughts can help us improve the quality of our sleep.
The mindfulness that we gain from meditating has also been proven to reduce pain that we may feel. Pain is highly related to our perception of such feelings and can be more pronounced when we are undergoing a lot of stress. As meditation reduces stress and redirects our focus, our perception changes and we feel physical pain less than we would have without meditation. In a study, patients who meditated had increased activity in the areas of the brain that are associated with pain control. In another study, 3,500 patients were introduced to meditation, and later reported fewer complaints of chronic pains. Meditating can be a great tool for those who are often discomforted by pain.
There are many types of meditation that one could consider when beginning to practice. Some of them focus on progressive relaxation, mindfulness, breath awareness, Zen, and loving-kindness meditation. Even if only a small amount of time is dedicated to meditating each day, it can lead to many positive changes. Our emotional and physical well-beings are strengthened by meditation and we can achieve an overall great quality of life.
Thorpe, MD, PhD, Matthew. “12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 5 July 2017.
Villines, Zawn. “7 Types of Meditation: What Type Is Best for You?” Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 22 Dec. 2017.