The popularity of meditation is increasing as people are discovering themselves and the wonderful benefits it brings. Meditation is both a habitual and spiritual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. Whether you use it for an illness or your emotional well-being, it will certainly help you develop positive habits and feelings. Here are our top 5 benefits of meditation.
1. Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. Stress isn't taken as seriously as it should these days. Both mental and physical stress increases your cortisol level, a stress hormone that releases inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. This then can cause disrupted sleep, increased blood pressure, fatigue, cloudy thinking, depression, and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation is proved to reduce this inflammatory response, decrease your blood pressure, and therefore decrease your stress levels. Consequently, less stress translates to less anxiety. This can help reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and panic attacks.
2. Promotes Emotional Health
Keeping anxiety in mind, many people suffer with other mental illnesses and distorted images of themselves. Studies have shown that those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism. This has a tremendous impact on your emotional health, especially those with depression and negative emotions. An improved self-image and more positive outlook on life will make your overall mood that much better. The summary of this goes back to preventing the release of cytokines. Additionally, meditation can help relax your body, release tension, and place you in a peaceful state, in which you're more likely to fall asleep. Therefore you will fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer, improving your quality of sleep and creating healthier sleeping patterns.
3. Enhances Self-Awareness
Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can actually help you "know yourself." Increasing awareness of yourself and your surroundings is just the starting point for making other positive changes in your life. For example, self-inquiry meditation aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you. Once you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, you can grow into your best self. Other forms of meditation also teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. Thus you'll gain greater awareness of your thought habits and you can steer them toward more constructive patterns. Additionally, this improves self-esteem, self-discipline, and patience, while reducing the feeling of loneliness. When you begin to develop kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself, you then extend this kindness and forgiveness to others. Loving-kindness meditation has a positive effect on everyone!
4. Improves Concentration
Focused-attention meditation helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention-span, which is crucial for many of us. This will improve your concentration tremendously and allow you to stay focused on a task for a longer period of time. On the other hand, meditation will also allow you to be more detail-oriented and remember the specific details of your tasks better. You're developing concentration, improving your memory, and even increasing imagination and creativity.
5. Helps Control Pain
Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions. Ergo, meditation can help to relax this, while helping to control pain. Research has shown that meditation may improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia. Meditation can even increase your pain tolerance and become less sensitive to it. This then may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or physical therapy.