Meditation is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 21, 2021. It has since been updated.
The practice of meditation, which is believed to have originated in India, has become quite popular all over the world. According to the Himalayan Yoga Institute, it found its light around the world in the 1960s and 1970s.
It is the process through which an individual can train their minds and become healthier beings. The health benefits include reduced stress, improvement of sleep, develop concentration, and much more, according to Healthline.
We'll discuss more how meditation has specific benefits backed by scientific researches.
As mentioned before, stress is one of the major reasons why people try their hands at meditation. An increase in mental and physical stress leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can disrupt your sleep, increase anxiety and depression, increase blood pressure, etc. But according to an 8-week study, mindfulness meditation can help control all of this.
Since meditation can reduce stress, it could also result in the reduction of anxiety. An 8-week study showed that mindfulness mediation helped people suffering from an anxiety disorder, as it made them feel more positively about themselves as there was an increase in positive self-statements. Also, their reaction to stress and coping with it changed as well. Another study done on 47 people suffering from chronic pain showed that an 8-week meditation program decreased their depression and anxiety along with pain over a year.
According to one study, it was found that people who practiced mindfulness-based meditation had fewer insomnia issues as they were able to sleep for a longer time without disturbances. Meditation can help you control the random stressful thoughts that occupy your brain. Meditation can also help relax your body and mind which is required for a good sleep.
As per Insider, mindfulness mediation is a good way to explore your inner self. According to Dr. Brian Wind, "Mindfulness helps increase self-awareness by increasing the ability to examine one's thoughts and feelings without judgment, which ends up improving self-esteem." It helps process your thoughts efficiently that gives you greater awareness of your thoughts.
A study that was conducted on 153 individuals revealed that within two weeks of mindfulness meditation, they felt less lonely as they could steer their thoughts more constructively which helped them in maintaining social relationships, as per Healthline.
Meditation can also help reduce problems related to memory loss. A study proved that different styles of mediation can help increase memory, mental quickness, and attention in older people. It can also help people with dementia by partially improving their memory. Another study proved that it can help people caring for family members with dementia cope with stress as well.
Meditation builds mental discipline which in turn can help fight addiction as well. Meditation, when practiced regularly, may help decrease one's dependency on substances by increasing their self-control and awareness about addictive habits. According to a study done on 60 people receiving treatment for alcoholism, it was found that the ones practicing transcendental meditation had less stress, psychological distress, alcohol cravings, and alcohol use after three months. Another study proved that meditation helps control binge eating as well.
People suffering from high blood pressure are aware that the harder the heart works to pump blood in the body, the weaker it becomes. But, meditation can help decrease blood pressure as well. In an analysis of 12 studies that included 1000 participants, it was found that meditation helped in reducing blood pressure in older volunteers who had high blood pressure before the study.
By relaxing nerve signals that control heart function, blood vessel tension, and the “fight-or-flight” response of the body, meditation controls blood pressure.
Loving-kindness mediation or metta meditation is a type that helps one increase positive feelings for themselves and others. According to Insider, it makes one more aware of other's emotions, decreases bias and stereotypes. "You can use a simple phrase that you silently repeat to yourself, like 'may you enjoy happiness' as you hold that person in your mind," said Dr.Richard Davidson. PhD, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds
This practice helps in extending the hand of forgiveness and forgiveness initially towards family, friends, then acquaintances, and ultimately enemies. A study conducted on 100 random people showed that the loving-kindness meditation benefited according to the times they meditated. The more time they spent weekly, the more positive they felt.
Another study concluded that 50 college students who practiced metta meditation three times per week, not only improved their understanding of each other but also improved their positive emotions and interpersonal interactions.
If you are unsure how to get started on meditation, there are many apps available that can guide you through the process, until you reach a point where you can do it on your own.