Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice that is done to develop control over the mind, and improve focus and concentration. Modern research has shown that there may be several additional benefits to meditation than just mind control, particularly for your health and well-being. Here are some of the top scientifically proven benefits of regular meditation:
Reduces anxiety and depression
Meditation helps us develop control over our feelings and emotions, thereby reducing stress. Studies have shown that the stress hormone, cortisol, is lower in people who practice regular meditation. A recent literature review also showed that people who meditate had significant improvement in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Stress is a significant contributor to hypertension, i.e., raised blood pressure. By decreasing cortisol levels, meditation acts similar to blood pressure lowering drugs. Meditation also increases the body’s levels of nitric oxide—a gas that relaxes blood vessel musculature, leading to lower blood pressure levels.
Promotes a good night’s sleep
Stray and worrying thoughts have a tendency to keep us up and sleepless. Meditation helps you control these thoughts. It also helps you relax and ‘wind down’, which helps to promote sleep. People who practice meditation not only fall asleep faster, they also sleep longer and sounder than others.
Pain is a mind-body experience. Studies have shown that meditation not only reduces the minds perception of pain, it actually decreases the neural response associated with pain. Patients have reported decrease in chronic pain conditions following meditation.
People who meditate regularly are more likely to be resistant to diseases caused by infectious agents. Studies have shown that meditation increases the body’s lymphocyte levels, which are the blood cells that mount the body’s defence against infections. It has also been shown that meditation decreases the expression of genes that promote inflammation.
Improves concentration and memory
We all know that meditation improves concentration. It has also been found that people who meditate regularly are less likely to develop age-related memory decline or dementia. Furthermore, it has been shown to improve symptoms in patients who already suffer from dementia.
In addition to these remarkable health benefits, meditation promotes feelings of happiness and well-being. Give meditation a try and experience the positive impact it can have on your life!
1. Chen KW, Berger CC, Manheimer E, Forde D, Magidson J, Dachman L, Lejuez CW. Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and anxiety. 2012 Jul;29(7):545-62.
2. Martires J, Zeidler M. The value of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of insomnia. Current opinion in pulmonary medicine. 2015 Nov 1;21(6):547-52.
3. Gard T, Hölzel BK, Lazar SW. The potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline: a systematic review. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014;1307:89–103. doi:10.1111/nyas.12348
4. Hofmann SG, Grossman P, Hinton DE. Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: potential for psychological interventions. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31(7):1126–1132. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.07.003