The Benefits of Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

Sara Tavernia

Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration. People also use it to develop other beneficial habits.

Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. One study including over 3,500 adults showed that it lives up to its reputation for stress reduction. Normally, mental and physical stress can cause increases levels of the stress hormone in your body. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress. These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute fatigue and cloudy thinking. Another study in nearly 1,300 adults demonstrated that meditation may decrease stress. Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder.

Another benefit would be it controls anxiety. Less stress translates to less anxiety. For example, an eight-week study of meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety. It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, paranoid thoughts and panic attacks. Another study followed up with 18 volunteers three years after they completed an eight-week meditation program. Most volunteers had continued practicing regular meditation and maintains lower anxiety levels over the long term. A larger study in 2,466 participants also showed that a variety of different meditation strategies may reduce anxiety levels. For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce anxiety.

Another benefit is it improves sleep. Nearly half the population will struggle with insomnia at some point in there lifetime. One study compared two groups which was where 1 group did meditation and the other group didn’t. Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer compared to those who didn’t meditate. Becoming skilled in meditation may help you control or redirect the racing thoughts that often lead to insomnia. Also, it can help relax your body, releasing tension and making you in a peaceful state of mind.

One last benefit is meditation helps controls pain. People’s perceptions of pain is connected to your state if mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions. For example, one study used an MRI technique to observe brain activity as participants experienced a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through four days of mindfulness meditation training, while others had not.

The meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain.

Overall, meditation is something that can relax you and relieve problems in your life. Its healthy as well. Stress, anxiety, not sleeping and pain can all be solved by meditation. If you take the time out of your days and meditate there will be many benefits in your life.