Meditation lets you put your mind in a state of attention and helps it shift perceptions. This activity offers a variety of benefits for your health and wellness. From reducing your stress to promoting a better appetite, we’ve listed several good reasons to meditate today.
Brings Down Your Stress Levels
Your cortisol levels go up with mental and physical stress, causing you to encounter various adverse effects. You can experience the following stress-related issues that have negative effects on your body:
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Depression and anxiety
- Fuzzy thoughts
Several studies suggest that meditation can help reduce stress and its symptoms. One review reported less inflammation in subjects who practiced mindfulness meditation. Researchers have also proven that meditation can lead to diminished effects from fibromyalgia and other stress-related disorders.
Eases & Reduces Anxiety
Meditation can help with anxiety as well. A study of about 1,300 adults saw a possible link between meditation and lower anxiety levels. The research also showed that those who have extreme anxiety were more well off once they started meditating regularly.
Another study looked at how mindfulness meditation could decrease anxiety. Participants with generalized anxiety had fewer symptoms after eight weeks of mindfulness meditation. More positivity and better stress response also played key roles in lowering anxiety levels. Additionally, research on 47 chronic pain sufferers observed reduced levels of depression and pain after its subjects meditated for eight weeks.
Other studies have claimed that mindfulness and meditation exercises like yoga could lead to decreased anxiety. It combines meditation and physical activity, which could result in low anxiety levels.
More than that, meditation can be helpful for work-related anxiousness. Research on 238 workers from the United Kingdom had participants use a meditation app. After eight weeks, researchers noted better health, fewer worries, and less stress in those who used the app.
Promotes Emotional Wellness
Meditation isn’t only for stress and anxiety relief. Some studies show that it could boost one’s emotional well-being. Here’s what researchers have uncovered on the benefits of meditation to emotional health:
- Researchers from Johns Hopkins University saw decreased effects of depression in their review’s participants, thanks to mindful meditation.
- Another review noticed that meditation therapy helped lower depression symptoms in some individuals.
- Participants in a study on mindfulness and positivity had fewer adverse thoughts on negative images after doing meditation exercises.
- According to Indian researchers, meditation can bring cytokine (an inflammatory chemical) levels down to reduce instances of depression.
Meditation Helps You Understand Yourself Better
Several types of meditation exercises can improve your self-awareness. Self-inquiry meditation is one example of letting you focus on your growing self-awareness and empathy. Other forms of this exercise can also let you acknowledge negative or self-sabotaging thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
Research has explored the benefits of practicing specific meditation techniques. For one, a 27-study review saw a possible connection between tai chi and better self-efficacy. Meanwhile, a separate research found that its respondents felt happier and interacted more with others after two weeks of using a mindful meditation app.
Allows You to Stay Focused
Aside from better self-awareness, meditating can help improve your attention span. Several pieces of research have tackled this specific benefit, with remarkable findings.
In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researchers had their subjects listen to meditation and control tapes. The meditation tape listeners in that research were able to focus on their tasks and do them correctly. Similarly, a study in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience reported improvements in performing visual tasks.
Other studies have revealed more positive effects of meditation on one’s attentiveness. Regularly meditating can help shift adverse brain patterns and improve one’s awareness and memory.
Addresses Chronic Pain
If you’re looking to control persistent pain, meditating can be a good option for you. In the 1980s, University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Jon Kabat-Zinn looked at the effects of meditation on people suffering from chronic pain. He concluded that the practice could help patients feel fewer symptoms and live healthier lives.
More than that, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience noted the brain’s role in reducing chronic pain with meditation. Subjects who joined a four-day mindfulness training program felt milder and less troubling pain. Researchers also used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see meditation’s effect on the brain. Through these tests, they saw less blood circulation from pain as participants meditated.
It Can Improve How You Sleep
Meditating can also help you sleep better. It aids your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and induces more melatonin in your body. Additionally, research has found that it could also mitigate more severe sleep disorders. One study focused on the benefits of mindfulness meditation on patients with chronic insomnia. Participants experienced the following effects as they did mindfulness meditation regularly:
- Fewer disruptions in sleep
- More comfort before bedtime
- Less serious issues with their sleep
Further research also reported that the first study’s participants slept better as a result of meditation.
Boosts Your Immunity
Doing regular meditation exercises can give you a stronger immune system. Studies have shown the following effects of meditation on one’s immunity:
- More electrical activity within the brain’s left hemisphere, which controls the immune system
- Increased antibodies in the bloodstream
It Can Be Good For Your Blood Pressure
With hypertension, your heart will pump more blood than usual. This situation can keep your heart from working at its best. Plus, high blood pressure can result in constricted arteries, putting you at risk of more serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
That said, meditating can help relieve the pressure on your heart and minimize the instances of triggering your “fight-or-flight” response from extreme stress.
In 2014, Chinese researchers conducted a 12-review study on meditation and blood pressure. The team worked with around 1,000 participants and looked at how the activity would lower one’s BP. As it turns out, meditating was helpful for reduced blood pressure and was most effective on older subjects and participants with hypertension.
Reduces Various Inflammations in Your Body
Most of the time, inflammation helps your body ward off allergic reactions or viruses. But if you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic disorder, this natural response can constantly affect your body negatively. Meditation can be a helpful solution to persistent inflammation.
The journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity featured a study wherein participants were subjected to either meditation training or health improvement programs. Those individuals joined any of those programs for eight weeks. Later on, researchers tested for inflammation with capsaicin cream on each participant’s skin. The people who meditated experienced less inflammation compared to those who participated in the health improvement programs.
It Can Help You Stop Stress Eating
Meditating can also improve your appetite by getting rid of poor eating habits. If you’re looking for other ways to help you lose some weight, why not try this exercise along with your other activities?
For their study, researchers from the University of California in San Francisco had female participants learn about mindful eating and do daily meditation. They reported consistent weight and decreased cortisol levels in meditating individuals. Additionally, participants who were meditating had less abdominal fat and lower cortisol and stress levels.
Clear Your Mind & Stay Healthy
With so many health benefits, meditation can be a great way to improve your wellness. It can help you relieve stress, reduce discomfort, and feel better about yourself. All you need is a quiet place and a set time to start meditating.
If you’re feeling any pain from a musculoskeletal condition, LifeClinic is here to help. Make us your partner for recovery today.