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 that meditation helps manage stress, building resilience, and increasing 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.
It 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.
It 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)
It 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 sensation of pain.
It 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.
It reduces the risk of heart diseases:
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 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)
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:
Begin by finding a comfortable position. Then, gently close your eyes, and become aware of the feeling of your body sitting here.
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.
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's sensation in the body.
Even 10-minute sessions can improve focus, memory and even train your brain to better cope with everyday life. So, you don't need a long session.