Home Mindfulness 10 Benefits of Meditation Backed by Science

10 Benefits of Meditation Backed by Science

by pureinspirationalenergy

Today, the topic of meditation is being received on a world-wide level, and it seems there are courses everywhere dedicated to teaching the process with countless Youtube tutorials, music, and guided tracks to assist people in their quest to find their “inner peace.” Many people who receive counseling or therapy for anxiety are also guided to use meditation to ease their minds from the effects of their conditions.

Why does it work? What does it do? Does sitting still and breathing really help solve any tangible issues relating to your health? The answer may actually surprise you as it does for most people. Continue reading to find out more:

MEDITATION IS THE KEY TO NAVIGATING YOUR OWN MIND

When people think of meditation, they think of a bald man humming “Ohmmmmmm” with their legs folded holding their fingers in some pattern while they rest on their knees. This is actually called Dhyana, and has been practiced since 600 B.C in various forms of Hinduism as a method of directing awareness on the self instead of the world which surrounds us. The purpose is to calm to mind to learn one’s own place in their relationship with the world and the ultimate reality we live in, which one may define as God in all of the various aspects that its been described as throughout history.

The inner peace of an alert and calm mind are the source of real happiness and good health.

Tenzin Gyato of the Dalai Lama

Meditation is practiced by millions upon millions of people everyday and it makes sense to assume that it works very well for many people in helping them achieve peace of mind, alleviating stress and anxiety as well as connecting people to their own personal definition of God.

Group Meditation Outdoors in a Forested Area

Scientifically Proven Meditation Benefits

For many people, receiving reputable proof of the benefit of something is enough to convince them to make the change and incorporate something into their daily routine. After all, your time is valuable, so I’ve provided a long list of benefits that will assist you in making the decision to start trying out the art of meditation:

1. Stress Reduction

One of the most common reasons people say convinced them to try meditation is that their stress levels need management. As mentioned earlier in the article stress reduction is one of the main effects people seek for meditation (in the Western world specifically). Studies for stress have had various results due to the fact that stress is complex and meditation isn’t an immediate cure-all but rather a way to manage (this is applicable with the other benefits as well.) Daily mindfulness exercise is a promising method in curbing your stress alongside other methods in a multi-step approach. Its realistic to assume that after a week of bad-breaking work, a less than perfect social life and other stressful things would require fixing to increase the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation. This study shows meditation to be a promising method in reducing stress in most individuals. Many people also struggle with PTSD, and studies have also shown that meditation was effective in reducing symptoms in people with this condition.

2. Anxiety Control

Another effect I listed in the introduction of the article was meditation’s effect on anxiety. A study of people with generalized anxiety disorder showed that 8 weeks of meditation showed an increase in uplifting self-statements and the ability the cope with stress. Another study of people with chronic pain showed improvements in anxiety and depression of the course of a year, and another study on a group with heavy job anxiety experienced feelings of well-being, less distress and job strain in comparison to the control group. Mentioning chronic pain leads us to our next benefit:

3. Controls Pain

A great effect of meditation is its calming effect on the mind. Placebo effects and the concept of “mind over matter” actually have an effect according to studies. Many studies support the claim that calming the mind and reducing stress also reduces the sensation of pain in the body, making it more bearable for those who have it. A review of 38 studies showed that meditation reduces pain and depression in people with chronic pain, and another analysis of 3,500 people showed that meditation for sure helped with the reduction of pain.

4. Increases Sleep Quality

Insomnia tends to be a very common complaint throughout the world, as rest is one of the most important functions the body has. Meditation can help with this and studies showed that people who meditate sleep longer and had the effects of insomnia reduced compared to the control group. Learning to control your thoughts before bed can be a valuable asset to improving your sleep quality.

5. Enhances Awareness, Social Contact, And Problem Solving Skills

This benefit is a little more esoteric than the rest however it still has scientific studies to back it up. When you meditate you become more aware of your own thoughts and repeated practice actually trains this awareness much like a muscle. This allows you to control your own reactions and what you say better in social situations due to your own understanding of your inner mechanisms. Tai Chi, a form of mindfulness, breathwork, and exercise has been associated in improved belief in ones self and their ability to overcome life’s daily challenges.

6: Improves Attention and Focus

There are multiple forms of meditation and some of them are based around increasing levels of focus. These meditations are extremely useful for those who may have an attention-deficit and need to focus on school or work related tasks. One study has shown that a group who listened to meditation tapes had an improved level of focus than the control and another showed a group’s improvement on a task with improved attention span than the control who were without meditation experience.

7. Assists in Memory Loss

Meditation has been also shown to assist the elderly in keeping their minds sharp. It was shown in a study where participants with memory loss due to age had a significant improvement in performance tests when a specific form of meditation known as Kirtan Kriya was utilized. Evidence in the same study was also presented for the benefits of memory improvement in patients with dementia. Meditation was also proven to assist caregivers of dementia in levels of burden and depression.

8. Assists In Breaking Addictions

Training the mind and the habits that are formed through use of substances may assist those with addictive behaviors control their impulses by increasing levels of control. A study with 19 people with addictions to alcohol showed meditation was associated with reduced levels of stress and alcohol cravings. These levels of control also assist in controlling food cravings in binge eaters as was shown by a review of 14 studies.

9. Improves Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Meditation has a strong effect on the heart by reducing stress and therefore reducing blood pressure. By being stressed all the time your heart works on overdrive to pump more blood keeping the blood pressure high. Overtime this can damage the heart, and if it is maintained it can narrow the arteries leading to heart attack. By meditating you can relax the signals that are sent to the heart and reduce the fight or flight response, causing an overall reduction in blood pressure if done regularly.

10. Balance Emotions and Increases Kindness

Meditation has a strong effect on emotions, and has demonstrated its effects on increasing levels of kindness and compassion towards the self and others. There are many meditations out there for free available on YouTube and elsewhere centered around kindness, positivity, love, joy, happiness, and much more. There have been studies done on love and meditation and its positive impact on emotional well-being. The phrase “mind over matter” has its place here as positive thoughts lead to positive action which can only benefit an individual and the people around them.

To Wrap It All Up: How To Meditate

Meditation can be a key method to improving your health in several aspects. Not only can it be used for improving health and increasing love and kindness but many people use it for sorting out problems and issues. Think of a Jedi in Star Wars. Using meditation as a tool on many fronts can be a key method towards having in edge in the day to day life of living as a human being in a modern, stressful society. Check out this video that explains how to meditate very well!

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