I was first introduced to meditation back in 2015 as I was struggling to deal with my dad’s imminent death in a few months as I was very stressed and heartbroken. My emotions were all over the place and I didn’t know how to cope. After his eventual death, I went through a breakup less than a year later which shattered me even further.
Meditation has changed my life dramatically as it has taught me to stay calm as I used to be a massive hot head as I’d get very angry easily! It has also given me inner peace and dealing with turmoils in my life. Today, I want to share with you the health benefits of meditation which I highly recommend everyone undertake, especially those who are stressed and struggling in their life.
Life has become very hectic and stressful, due to all the demands and pressures of modern life such as being available 24/7 due to technology. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed, empty and drained as we struggle to unwind, stay present and focused.
Meditation is a simple and effective way to fill up your tank, increase calm and confidence, decrease stress, over-thinking, anxiety and overwhelm. Regular meditation enhances inner peace as you feel stronger on the inside. The little things that used to drain you and annoy you become insignificant. You become more in touch with your intuition, viewing life’s situations objectively, therefore making better choices.
Everyone can meditate. There are various methods from guided meditation, meditating using sound and mantra’s, simple breathing techniques, mindfulness meditation, walking in nature, Qi gong, Tai chi, transcendental meditation and yoga. Regular practice and devotion is needed to achieve maximum benefits, preferably daily for 10-15 minutes.
Meditation is a type of mind-body complementary medicine that produces a deep state of relaxation and a calm mind. This enhances physical and emotional well-being. As you advance, meditation also works as a remarkable tool to gain deeper self-awareness and release the subconscious negative thoughts.
Meditation has many benefits including –
- Decreases stress and anxiety
- Clears your mind
- Increases your energy levels
- Enables you to have better quality sleep
- Stabilises and controls the emotions
- Become more objective and less effected by life’s changes
- Increases level of inner peace
- Enhances awareness and intuition
- Improves heart health
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts immunity
- Boosts cognitive function
- Delays brain ageing
- Treats insomnia
- Reduces negative moods
- Fights loneliness
- Prevents genetic damage
Here is how meditation helps-
Eases Stress and Anxiety
Many people practice mindfulness meditation to control stress and reduce their levels of cortisol- the stress hormone. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University published an article in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that mindfulness meditation might improve multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress.
Meditation can be beneficial for people who suffer from sleep disturbances like having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, and insomnia. A 2009 study presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies suggested that meditation might be an effective behavioural intervention in the treatment of insomnia. Also, a 2015 study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that mindfulness meditation shows improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older people experiencing sleep disturbances.
Boosts Cognitive Function
Regular meditation also plays a key role in boosting your brain power. It assists people learn three times faster than those who have little or no experience with meditation. It can also improve recall power and awareness. People who meditate regularly also have better control of their emotions. It even prevents decline in cognitive function later in life.
A 2013 study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found that mindfulness training may help boost standardized test scores and improve working memory.
Lowers Blood Pressure
A 2008 study by the University of Kentucky and published in the American Journal of Hypertension shows that transcendental meditation is an effective treatment for controlling high blood pressure.
Improves Heart Health
A 2012 study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes journal highlights the fact that meditation can reduce heart attacks, strokes and even early death from heart disease. It even helps patients lower their blood pressure, stress and anger, which can lead to heart problems.
Delays Brain Ageing
Mediation is also great for delaying brain ageing and preventing neurodegenerative diseases like mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. As we get older, several parts of the brain start shrinking, leading to Lou Gehrig’s disease. With regular meditation, you can delay brain ageing by increasing the grey matter, the unmyelinated neurons and other cells of the central nervous system.
A 2015 research published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal also supported the hypothesis that meditation offers brain protective benefits. Researchers found that among those who meditated, the volume of grey matter did not decline as much as among those who did not.
A 2003 study published in the Psychosomatic Medicines journal showed that mindfulness meditation causes positive alterations in brain and boosts immune system functioning. People who meditate regularly produce more flu-fighting antibodies as compared to those who do not meditate a lot.
Reduces Negative Moods
Meditating regularly can support you fight negative moods, stress, anger, tension, sadness, anxiety and depression, since it leads to higher levels of alpha brain waves. A 2007 study published in the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine journal found that brief meditation training can improve perceived stress and negative moods.
According to a 2012 study published in the Brain, Behaviour and Immunity journal, a mindfulness meditation program had a positive link with reduced perception of loneliness in older adults.
Prevents Genetic Damage
Meditation, especially mindful meditation, can alter the expression of genes and reduce levels of pro-inflammatory genes. This promotes faster physical recovery from stressful situations. It can alter neural, behavioural and biochemical processes and prevent inflammatory diseases.
According to a 2014 study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, mindful meditation can cause rapid changes in histone deacetylases and inflammatory gene expression in expert meditators. The changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.