Want to get rid of mental stress, have a sound sleep, ditch excess body weight, workout harder, eat healthier, have better concentration, need better immune system etc. all in one single swoop. Meditation might provide you with all of these things. As per the experts at the Centre for Spirituality and Healing situated at the University of Minnesota, the key to reap the benefits of meditation is living in the present. It is important to know the meditation’s benefits to understand its importance. Most of us tend to look for benefits first before we try anything. Haven’t you checked the reviews of a gym or fitness instructor? Have you checked the online review of movies? If yes, then you know what we mean.
Knowing the benefits of meditation can certainly motivate you to try it. Hence, we have compiled a list of 35 benefits of meditation. But before we move on to this, let’s have a look at what meditation is.
What is Meditation?
It is a mental practice or exercise, which involves relaxation, focus as well as awareness. Meditation is to the mind is exactly what physical exercise to the body. The practice of meditation is generally done individually, often in a still seated position along with the eyes closed.
Definition of Meditation in Psychology
According to psychology, as published in a study, meditation is referred to as a set of mental training exercises and practices which are designed to familiarize the practitioner with a particular type of mental processes.
Meditation is essentially practiced in three distinct modes:
- Concentration– It consists of focusing the attention on a single object, whether it is internal or external. This is called focused attention meditation.
- Observation– It comprises of paying attention to anything which is predominant in the practitioner experience in the present moment, without actually allowing the attention to get stuck on a particular thing. This is called open-monitoring meditation.
- Awareness– It entails allowing the awareness to remain present as well as undistracted along with not engaged with either focusing or even observing.
Now we know the definition of meditation, let’s go in details about 108 benefits of meditation. So, sit back on the meditation chair or yoga mat and get ready.
6 Powerfull Physiological Meditation Benefits
With meditation, the entire physiology of our body undergoes a complete change and each cell in the entire body is filled with a lot of prana or energy.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
As you meditate, the body gets into normalcy, and the things which drive up your blood pressure like stress, tension etc. tends to subside, which brings down your blood pressure.
2. Lower the levels of blood lactate
Meditation leads to reducing the levels of blood lactate which is the chief cause of anxiety attacks. As the mind gets sounder and calm, the entire body starts to react to it and this, in turn, leads to a significantly reduced level of blood lactate. Meditation is best suited for people who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks supported by a study published in Scientific American.
3. Decreases tension-related pain
Most of the people today suffers from tension which leads to many psychological and physiological problems such as tension headaches, insomnia, ulcer, muscle as well as joint problems. Meditation helps in subsiding tension as it clarifies the mind and brings rationality which helps the practitioner to find the solution of the things causing tension. This entire process leads to reduced tension and hence decreases any sort of tension-related pain.
4. Increases serotonin production
Serotonin is the hormone responsible for our mood and behaviour. A lot of people suffer from low serotonin level, which leads to depression and other mental illness. Meditation increases the serotonin level, which in turns improves mood as well as the behaviour of the practitioners. According to a study, meditation helps in curing depression.
5. Improves the immune system
Meditation fills each and every cell of the body with energy or prana. With decreased blood pressure, and regular heartbeat, the proper balance of hormones, controlled breathing leading to oxidation filled red blood cells, and a higher count of white blood cells improve the immune system of the body.
6. Increases the energy level
As we have mentioned that meditation infuses prana in our body, it increases the energy in the body as you gain an inner source of energy.
16 Benefits of Meditation for Mental health
Meditation leads the brainwave pattern essentially into an alpha state which promotes healing of the mind. The mind becomes delicate, fresh, and beautiful. It even cleanses as well nourishes you from within and even calms you, whenever you feel unstable, overwhelmed, or emotionally shut down.
7. Decreases anxiety
As meditation is done, the mind of the practitioner becomes calm. The heartbeat normalizes, blood pressure decreases. The anxious thoughts die down, and a sense of calmness and clarity comes over.
8. Improves emotional stability
With meditation, the practitioner becomes rationally sound and emotionally stable. With clarity in mind and a better understanding of the world, people, relationships, things etc. the practitioner becomes emotionally stable.
9. Increases creativity
Creativity requires a balance of reality and fiction with abstractness. Meditation takes you to different planes of reality, makes you visualize different scenarios and expose you to the unexplored side of your mind, the subconscious mind. This leads to an increase in creativity among the practitioners of meditation. A lot of artists in the modern world are regular practitioners of meditation.
10. Develops intuition
As we mentioned earlier, meditation makes the mind much more rational and improves the decision making of the mind. It also makes the mind more conscious and receptive of its surroundings which helps it in making decisions with better precision. Hence, it helps in developing intuition.
11. More peace of mind
With meditation, the practitioner gains clarity. This clarity helps the practitioner in realizing the importance of his or her real-world possessions, relationships and meaning of life from different perspectives. These perspectives help in analysing different situations and infer different meanings which brings peace of mind as it brings the complete truth.
12. Problems become smaller
We have emphasized how meditation makes the mind filled with clarity and rationality. With this, the problems are addressed by the mind in a different way than usual. The mind analyses the problems from a different point of views and deduces the pros and cons of the situation. This helps in better understanding of the problem, and with more knowledge and understanding of the problems, they become smaller.
13. Improves focus
Meditation sharpens the mind and also makes it more focused as proven by a study. It improves the analytical abilities of the mind and increases the ability to take a crucial decision at the right moment.
14. Increases concentration
Meditation helps in focusing on the mind, which leads to better concentration. With improved cognitive abilities achieved through meditation, the practitioner can keep his or her concentration for longer duration time in anything productive. It also helps in keeping the mind shielded from distractions which can interrupt the concentration.
15. Causes mind expansion
Meditation allows the mind the venture into different aspects of life, and as mentioned before, to different planes of realities, gain different perspectives, have extra-ordinary experiences which opens up the mind to truth and new realities. This reduces tension, frustration and anger over mundane things of life which we make a mountain out of a molehill.
16. Expanded consciousness-
Meditation leads to expanded consciousness as the mind begins to sense the reality in a better way; the subconscious mind becomes active. The sharpness of mind also increases, which increases the chances of the practitioner of progress and taking actions in meaningful causes.
17. Increases self-awareness
Everyone has blind spots when it comes down to emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, but meditation can assist in conquering this particular ignorance. Meditation involves paying attention to current experience and doing so in quite a non-judgemental way which assists the practitioner to overcome the most daunting roadblock in self-awareness, which is, not knowing their own weakness and shortcomings.
18. Lowers stress levels
Lowered stress is among the most important benefits of meditation. Meditation actually assists in lowering the body’s cortisol levels, which is stress hormone. Meditation helps in achieving higher levels of focus on the present and lower cortisol levels. The stress relief occurs within a few months of practicing meditation, even though the effects start showing earlier. Few days of meditation makes the practitioner calm while doing a stressful task.
19. It decreases loneliness
Daily meditation assists in staving off the feelings of loneliness. Studies have shown that meditation helps in reducing inflammation levels in the practitioners meaning they were at much lower risk of developing any serious illness, and these results are due to stress-relieving benefits of meditation since stress actually enhances loneliness as well as increases inflammation. A study has shown that meditation assists in reducing inflammation.
20. Increase compassion
Meditation isn’t about feeling good, but becoming a better person. After a few weeks of meditation, a practitioner becomes more aware of problems of others and empathy increases or appears. Meditation assists in becoming much more compassionate as well as experience love for all of the sentient beings.
21. Decreases hyperactivity
While a lot of people suffer from inactivity, depression, emotional instability etc. there are some people who are hyperactive. This hyperactivity makes them take irrational decision all of a sudden, often bringing troubles to them or others. Meditation helps in calming the mind of such people. As a practitioner meditates, his or her mind becomes much more relaxed and starts to view actions in rational ways. This brings in a new perspective and positive feeling of concern of fruits of his or her action. The practitioner becomes much more aware of how his or her actions are going to affect himself or herself or the others. Hence, the practitioner becomes careful in taking a decision, stops acting on whimsical thoughts and avoid irrational acts. A study has also proven the impact of meditation on reducing hyperactivity and even impulsivity.
22. Controls racing thoughts
A lot of people suffer from a condition which is common in bipolar disorder, which is racing of thoughts. Even if a person is not suffering from this disease, he or she might have to deal with racing of thoughts. It is a state when a person jumps from one thought to another, without any logical connection or purpose. Meditation helps in controlling the thought process. As a practitioner starts to learn on focusing on one thought and then try to achieve thoughtlessness, the control on the thoughts increases. This reduces the problem of racing of thoughts as the practitioner can control it at his or her whim. This helps a lot as racing of thoughts often lead to inactivity or hyperactivity, swing between these extreme states, that is not beneficial for anyone.
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
Meditation doesn’t have any particular religion and can easily be practiced by anyone regardless of his or faith they follow. However, the roots of meditation lie in Indian or Hindu culture, Buddhist culture, but the practised is offered to anyone who wishes to achieve semblance in life along with a balance. There are few spiritual benefits of meditation which are as follows.
23. The transition from someone to part of cosmic entity
Meditation helps in the effortless transition from a person to merge with the infinite. As we have mentioned earlier, meditation takes the practitioner to new planes of realities and introduces him or her to unknown spaces of the mind. Meditation helps the practitioner in recognizing himself or herself as an inseparable part of the entire cosmos. This connection creates a sense of understanding of morality within the practitioner and makes him or her consider himself or herself as part of the ever-expanding universe.
24. Achieving harmony with nature
As a practitioner gets into a meditative state, he or she enters in the space of huge vastness, joy and calmness. This is what the practitioner emits into the environment too. This process brings harmony to the planet or the world. As the practitioner becomes a contributor to harmony in nature, he or she achieves the same harmony with nature himself or herself.
25. Brings personal transformation
As the practitioner of meditation becomes more calm, rational, self-aware, focused etc. a true personal transformation happens. As the practitioner learns more about himself or herself, he or she starts discovering about himself or herself naturally and even love himself or herself. This personal transformation starts from within and reflects on outside later. People start noticing the change in the practitioner and wonder about the reason.
Professional Life Benefits of Meditation
If your professional life is marred with stress, low morale, or emotional health issues, you should practice meditation. Meditation has a plethora of wellness and amazing benefits for working professionals, and it impacts positively on them. Let’s look at some of the professional life benefits of meditation.
26. Relief from workplace stress
Workplace stress affects most of the professionals. Almost everyone feels stress on the job, and a lot of professional seeks help to learn how to manage this stress. When this stress is left untreated, it can certainly lead to chronic stress and even burnout. Both of these can cause mental and physical consequences. Meditation is quite a simple way to reduce workplace stress and tension quickly in the workplace. A few minute meditation practices can assist professionals in clearing their minds and also feel more relaxed.
27. Improves work relationships
Social interaction, along with work relationships are certainly important aspects of professional health as well as wellness. Practicing meditation with other people in a group can easily promote social interaction and build a sense of unity. Also, practicing meditation helps in improving a working professional’s ability to manage healthy professional relationships by means of fostering a more positive attitude and outlook.
28. Improves decision-making
Since meditation assists in relieving built-up workplace stress and tension, it can boost a professional’s decision-making skills. Practicing meditation actually teaches the brain to focus better and concentrate on the present moment that can assist the professional to make more rational decisions. Also, the thought process becomes more clear, and the professional can look at the problems from different perspectives which help him or her in making better decisions. It also helps in improving leadership skills by increasing self-awareness, emotional intelligence as well as positivity.
29. Increases resiliency
Meditation helps in building resiliency. Meditation can assist in making a professional more resilient. By learning stress coping as well as management skills like as daily meditation helps the professionals learn how to effectively and efficiently deal with different emotional triggers or workplace stress. This is explained in detail in the book Wise Mind, Open Mind by renowned psychotherapist, Dr. Ron Alexander.
30. Enhances memory
Studies have found a link between memory and meditation. Meditation directly affects the structure and function of the brain and changes it in such ways that it appears to increase attention span, improve memory and sharpen focus. Also, according to a study, grey matter concentration actually increases due to meditation in the different areas of the brain which are essentially involved in learning as well as the memory, even regulating emotions, also a sense of self and having a perspective.
Other Benefits of Meditation
31. Helps to fight against addiction–
The mental discipline which is developed through meditation may actually help you in breaking the dependencies by means of increasing self-control and awareness of different triggers for the addictive behaviours. As per research, the meditation may assist the people in learning to redirect their own attention as well as increase their willpower and even control their emotions and impulses along with increase their own understanding of the different causes behind their own addictive behaviours. It has been found that recovering alcoholics been taught meditation resulted in the participants who received better training got much better at controlling their cravings as well as craving-related stress. Meditation also assists in controlling food cravings. Studies have found that meditation assists in practitioner to reduce the emotional as well as binge eating. Hence, it helps in reducing body weight and fat and avoid certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease etc.
Meditation develops willpower and mental discipline, which can help the practitioner to avoid triggers for any unwanted impulses. This can certainly assist in recovering from addiction, along with losing weight as well as redirect other unproductive, unwanted habits.
32. Improves sleep
Millions of people in the world struggle and suffer from insomnia at some point. However, meditation helps the practitioner to fall asleep sooner as well as stay asleep longer. Also, becoming a skilled practitioner of meditation assist the practitioner in controlling or even redirecting the racing thoughts, discussed earlier, which often lead to insomnia. Along with this, it can easily assist in relaxing the body, releasing the tension and even placing the practitioner in a peaceful state in which he or she is more likely to fall asleep. A plethora of meditation techniques can assist the practitioner in relaxing and controlling the racing thoughts which interfere with the sleep. This can certainly shorten the time it actually takes to fall asleep as well as increase sleep quality.
33. Helps in controlling pain
The perception of pain is essentially connected to the state of mind, and it can certainly be elevated in case of stressful conditions. For instance, a study was done to use functional MRO techniques in order to observe the brain activity of the participants as they were given a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through a few days of meditation training while others not. The meditating patients show increased activity in the centres of the brain known to control pain. They also reported significantly less sensitivity to pain. An additional study of patients that practiced meditation and were suffering from mental illness found that it helped in mitigating chronic pain at the end of their life.
In both of these scenarios, the meditators, as well as the non-meditators, experienced the similar causes of pain but the practitioners of meditation showed a much greater ability to cope with their own pain and even experienced a significant reduction in the sensation of pain.
34. Improves athletic abilities
Some of the key benefits of meditation can potentially impact the workouts of the practitioners. People who tend to practice transcendental meditation actually have similar brain functioning to the professional, elite athletes. Sitting in silence every day doesn’t actually mean you are ready to win a marathon but it can certainly help you in developing the required mental grit as well as traits of the top athletes. Also, it can help you in pushing your body through pain.
35. Helps in coping with illness
Dealing with diagnoses of illness can be unimaginably rough. However, meditation can help in this regard. In a study, it was found that when women with breast cancer practiced meditation along with art therapy, their entire stress, as well as anxiety-related activity, changed. Meditation also helps patients in rheumatoid arthritis, combating the stress as well as the fatigue associated with this disease, as per a recent study.
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