5 Reasons Why You Should Practice Meditation

5 Reasons Why You Should Practice Meditation

Key Takeaways

Meditation Benefits

1. Boosting the Brain

Meditation enhances brain function, potentially increasing brain volume in areas linked to cognition and emotion regulation.

2. Reducing Stress

Meditation is effective in reducing stress hormones and inflammation. It lowers anxiety, including work-related stress.

3. Promoting Pain Resilience

Meditation reduces pain perception, with a meta-analysis showing that regular practitioners experience less pain intensity.

4. Improving Learning and Self-awareness

Regular meditation can increase gray matter density in the brain, enhancing learning, memory, and self-awareness and encouraging more constructive thought patterns.

5. Decreasing Heart Disease Risk

Regular meditation may lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk by calming the body's stress response.

Introduction

Meditation is a practice that supports the capacity to stay focused and redirect your thoughts. It's a powerful antidote to the mind's distractible nature and the information overload in our digital world. 

Research shows meditation helps manage stress, build resilience, and increase concentration. 

Learning to be more in the present moment ensures that you can live a more fulfilled, enriched life in this busy world. 

It can bring more calm and effectiveness into everyday life when practiced regularly, reducing stress and enhancing mental capacity. 

Meditation is gaining wide world popularity as more people discover its many health benefits. Here are five of them. 

1. Meditation gives your brain a boost 

Meditation decreases mind wandering and improves cognitive performance. 

One research finds that meditation might make parts of your brain thicker, including areas associated with attention and introspection. (1) 

Another study found that meditating for 40 minutes a day for two months was enough to increase brain volume in areas related to stress, learning, empathy, memory, perspective, and compassion. (2)

So, it will make you better at cognitive skills. 

2. Meditation reduces stress and controls anxiety 

Dealing with stress is the most common reason people try meditation. 

Mindfulness meditation showed a dramatic dip in stress hormones and inflammatory response when exposed to a stressful situation, compared with their counterparts who took a stress management course that didn't include meditation. (3) 

Also, some research suggests that a variety of mindfulness and meditation exercises may reduce anxiety levels. (4) 

Meditation even helps control job-related anxiety. For example, one study found that employees who used a mindfulness meditation app for eight weeks experienced improved well-being and decreased job strain. (5) 

3. Meditation makes you stronger against pain 

Meditation can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. So, incorporating meditation into your routine could be beneficial for controlling pain. 

A large meta-analysis of studies enrolling 3,500 participants concluded that meditation was associated with decreased pain. (6) 

Meditators and non-meditators experienced the exact causes of pain, but meditators showed a reduced pain sensation. 

4. Meditation improves learning, memory, and self-awareness 

Long-term meditation increases grey matter density in the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, compassion, and self-awareness. 

Self-inquiry meditation teaches you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. (7)

You gain greater awareness of your thought habits and steer them toward more constructive patterns. 

In other words, meditation helps you develop a greater understanding of yourself and relate to the people around you.

5. Meditation reduces the risk of heart disease 

Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease. 

Transcendental meditation particularly lowers systolic blood pressure and even cuts the risk of death by close to 50% in patients with heart disease. 

Meditation controls blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, blood vessel tension, and the "fight-or-flight" response that increases alertness in stressful situations. (8) 

Conclusion 

Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. 

You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and develop beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns, and even increased pain tolerance. 

How to practice meditation 

Meditation can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. It's ideal to find an area without distractions and then follow these steps: 

1. Get comfortable 

Begin by finding a comfortable position. Then, gently close your eyes, and become aware of the feeling of your body sitting here. 

2. Breathe in, breathe out 

Take a deep breath in and gently let it out. Allow the breath to float in and out in its natural rhythm, and don't try to control it. 

3. Focus your attention 

Rest your attention on your breath from moment to moment. Don't think about the breath, but rather feel the breath.

When you notice your attention has been carried away by thoughts, simply let go of thoughts and gently direct your attention back to the breath sensation in the body. 

Even 10-minute sessions can improve focus, and memory and even train your brain to better cope with everyday life. So, you don't need a long session.

Resources

(1)Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness (nih.gov)

(2)Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density (nih.gov)

(3)A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation - ScienceDirect

(4)Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression (nih.gov)

(5)Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being - PubMed (nih.gov)

(6)Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis - PubMed (nih.gov)

(7)Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice - PubMed (nih.gov)

(8)Meditation: should a cardiologist care? - PubMed (nih.gov)

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