The multiple ways a simple meditation practice can enhance your life.
Meditation has been proven scientifically to have numerous benefits related to mental and physical health. Those who have discovered its ability to help them manage stress and enjoy a better overall quality of life, have made it a part of their daily lives.
You too can use meditation to enhance your physical and mental well-being. The following are eight ways that meditation could benefit your life.
A Quiet Mind
Meditation increases the ability to concentrate and focus. It encourages creativity, promotes problem-solving, and decreases stress. Meditation can also help you to get rid of your mental clutter.
A quiet mind allows you to tap into your intuition, creativity, and energy and develop a newfound enthusiasm for life. Meditation empties your mind of the stories you attach to events in your life and enables you to sit with your feelings as they arise.
Meditation can help you fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly.
Harvard Health reports that meditation can help fight insomnia. Many meditators, myself included, experience better sleep.
Some people find that meditation before bed can be particularly helpful, but studies have shown that a meditation practice at any point during the day benefits our sleeping habits.
Meditation helps you to feel mentally refreshed and free from fatigue and to sleep better.
Anxiety and Depression
Depression is common in adults and it should never be taken lightly. Depression affects people’s daily lives by causing them suffering, social isolation and memory problems.
Meditation protects the hippocampus, or the part of the brain involved in memory. People who suffer from recurrent depression tend to have a smaller hippocampus.
Additionally, meditation can also help with apprehension, anxiety, and panic. A research study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that twenty-two patients previously diagnosed with heightened panic disorder were gradually able to recover after learning to meditate.
Recently, a consensus has emerged from medical professionals: chronic stress causes numerous problems with physical health, including heart problems, decreased immunity and impaired cognitive functions. Your cortisol levels matter. Cortisol is considered nature’s built-in alarm system and is your body’s main stress hormone, which causes these effects.
According to a 2013 study by the journal Health Psychology, meditation was shown to have reduced cortisol. The study found that after three months of regular meditation, the cortisol levels of participants trended downward.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a troubling condition that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. Keeping your blood pressure in check is critical for maintaining good health on these fronts.
Meditation helps you relax, which reduces blood pressure. In one study, when patients were taught to meditate, more than 60 percent lowered their blood pressure as a result.
Dr. Randy Zusman at Massachusetts General Hospital agreed. He explained on National Public Radio (NPR) that prescribing meditation for patients with high blood pressure could lead to a reduction in the need for medication.
Your Immune System
Stress and anxiety wreak havoc with your immune system, making it more likely that you will become sick.
Recent studies have shown that meditation can also play an integral role in maintaining and even strengthening your immune system. For example, according to researchers at the Infanta Cristina Hospital in Spain, meditation was shown to increase the level of white blood cells that fight off viruses and bacteria.
Another study done at UCLA found that meditation in older adults could prevent the expression of a group of genes that activate inflammation, improving the immune system another way.
Relationships and Quality of Life
Millions of people practice meditation. It is no longer seen as a “hippie” practice that involves sitting in silence. And with new studies coming out every year, the benefits of meditation seem to be endless.
Meditation helps you become more resilient, which can strengthen your relationships with others, especially those closest to you and lead to a happier, healthier overall quality of life.
Every now and then, your life can be turned upside down because of a crisis. And crises need to be dealt with.
When you are in crisis, your thoughts and feelings are like cars traveling along a busy freeway. They are always going to be there because that is the nature of the mind.
This article was adapted from the book, Meditation Not Medicine, written by Adam J. Weber. Adam is the “no BS, common-sense” speaker, author, product creation specialist, and business leader who helps people reduce stress through his highly celebrated meditation technique: “Easy to Meditate.”