Meditation and mindfulness have been developed to transcend human’ lives beyond the physical dimension of living. So one can attain enlightenment and know about mystical forces which govern this universe.
But in today’s world, most people use meditation to reduce their stress level and improve well-being. There are ample scientific evidences proving that meditation enhances peoples’ physical health, mental health, and emotional well-being.
In this article, I have mentioned several benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices that you will be surprised to know whether meditation can be useful to me in these many ways! Also, it will motivate you to practice meditation regularly.
Meditation Benefits On Emotional Well-being
1. Reduces mental stress
8-week short-term stress management program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on health care professionals suggested effective results on reducing psychological stress and improving the quality of their lives. (Source: APA PsycNet)
2. Control anxiety
Meta-analysis of 1300 adults in randomized controlled trials on transcendental meditation concluded that meditation may reduce anxiety. The reduction effect was found significant in those who had high anxiety. Also, the researchers observed transcendental meditation treatment is more effective than any other treatment of anxiety. (Source: Pubmed.ncbi)
Similarly, one study found that 8-weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction treatment reduces anxiety symptoms in patients with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Along with this, they experienced improved stress reactivity and coping. (Source: NCBI)
3. Reduce the symptoms of depression
A review of 18 studies encompassing 7 distinct meditation therapies with 1173 patients concluded that meditation therapies reduce the symptoms of depression and have beneficial effects on patients suffering from clinical depressive disorders. (Source: NCBI)
4. Improve self-control
One study on mindfulness meditation shows meditation improves brain functioning related to executive attention, which involves self-regulation or self-control. (Source: NCBI)
5. Enhance resilience in adverse situations
Psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexender wrote in his book Wise Mind, Open Mind that regular meditation practice may provide resiliency in any situation and control your thoughts and emotions.
6. Lessen negative thoughts and promote positive ones
In one experiment, participants who practiced meditation and were mindful experienced less negative thoughts in response to viewing negative images than the control group, but the result was the same in both groups in response to viewing positive images.
This means mindfulness may attenuate thoughts that emphasize negativity but not those that emphasize positivity (Source: NCBI).
7. Generate positive emotions
Loving-kindness meditation generates positive feelings such as love, kindness, compassion, and gratitude in practitioners.
A meta-analysis of 22 studies concluded that loving-kindness meditation increases the compassion in people for themselves and others. Also, it enhances peoples’ emotional health and welfare in communities. (Source: Pubmed.ncbi)
8. Improve social relationship
One experiment with 50 college students proved that loving-kindness meditation (LKM) promotes positive emotions, better social connections, and understanding of others. Those students who had performed LKM only for 3 days a week 30 minutes each time and experienced increased social skills and emotional health. (Source: NCBI)
Also Read: Can Meditation Change Your Personality?
Meditation Benefits On Brain Functioning
9. Increase self-awareness
Mindfulness meditation is a practice of cultivating non-judgmental awareness, which influences cingular cortex and attention network of brain so one can experience better-adjusted self-resilience (Source: Pubmed.ncbi)
With increased self-awareness, people can do their tasks more consciously and direct their unwanted feelings and thoughts in a constructive way.
10. Improve focus and lengthen attention span
One study found that even a brief mindfulness meditation session can improve attention in Novices. In this, meditators listened to 10 minutes of guided mindfulness, and they experienced improved attention while completing allotted tasks. (Source: NCBI)
Similarly, another study showed that 13 minutes daily guided meditation sessions for 8-weeks increased the attention and memory of meditators (Source: Pubmed.ncbi).
11. Enhance memory power and cognition
Harvard scientists had run an 8-week mindfulness program where 16 people practiced guided meditation and mindfulness activities. The MIR scan of these participants shows the increased concentration of gray matter in the brain area associated with reading, learning, and having perception (Source: Sciencedirect). This indirectly means that meditation and mindfulness practices can increase our brain functioning.
12. May improve creativity
Focused attention and open-monitoring meditation (mindfulness or vipassana meditation) exert a specific effect on creativity. It allows diverse thinking ability that generates many new ideas.
An article published in Harward Business Review highlighted that meditation is not only for reducing stress or anxiety but can be used as a tool to increase one’s creativity, even 10-12 minutes daily brief meditation sessions may improve our creativity.
13. Promote neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is the ability of brain’s neural network and neurons to grow and reorganize their pattern according to new information or behavior so that one can perform specific tasks with efficacy.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison had observed the brain of Tibetian Buddhist monks. Their results found that tens of thousands of hours of meditation practice had actually altered the structure of their brains and made them more conducive to new changes (Source: NCBI).
Meditation Benefits On Physical Health
14. Increase sleep time
One mindfulness-based intervention showed that participants who regularly meditated found increased sleep time and improved symptoms of insomnia. Also, researchers found that mindfulness treatment could be a viable option for chronic insomnia patients compared to other alternative treatments (Source: Academic).
15. Control high blood pressure
Meta-analysis of 12 studies with nearly 1000 participants found that transcendental meditation may reduce high blood pressure. Thus, it could be more effective treatment, especially for elders (Source: Pubmed).
16. Improve immunity
A short 8-weeks mindfulness program has shown that meditation may change our immune function in a positive way (Source: American Psychosomatic Medicine Journal).
17. May fight against addiction
Mindfulness Meditation can be used to treat drug-addicted people, mindfulness meditation improves self-awareness and mental discipline, which helps to abjure triggers, cravings, and dependencies of addiction (Source: NCBI).
One study with 60 alcohol-addicted people who practiced transcendental meditation found a lower level of psychological stress and alcohol craving after 3 months of their treatment (Source: Pubmed).
18. Helps to control pain
One review of 38 studies found that mindfulness meditation decreases chronic pain and improves the quality of patients’ lives (Source: NCBI).
Meditation and mindfulness practices benefit us in many other ways. Here I have mentioned some major aspects of everyone’s lives in which meditation may help.
There are several types of meditation, and each one may lead to different results. However, most benefits are common, and that can be achieved through regular practice.
So, if you have already started your meditation journey, that’s great. But if you haven’t yet then What are you waiting for? Start it from today. You and only you can help yourself in this practice of well-being.
I know, you already know that what meditation can give you. But for now, from your side, you just need to spend 10-15 minutes a day daily for meditation or mindfulness practice without making any excuses. Can’t you do this much?
Of course, you can do that, and you will do it.
Keep meditating and have fun.