8 Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is increasing in popularity as more and more people become aware of how beneficial it is for the body and mind. Meditation is the act of focusing your awareness and observing your thoughts in a calm manner.

There are many scientifically proven benefits to practicing meditation, from reducing stress to even reducing your chances of developing age-related memory loss.

Anyone can meditate no matter your age, where you are at the moment or whether you have any experience meditating in the past. By following a few simple steps, you can learn how to meditate with ease and start experiencing the many benefits that come along with meditating regularly. To learn more about the proven health benefits of meditation and how you can get started with meditating, continue reading.

  1. Stress Reduction

The desire to reduce stress is one of the most common reasons that people decide to start meditating. By practicing forms of mindfulness meditation, you can certainly experience a decrease in your stress levels. Numerous studies have found that adults who have high levels of stress (often expressed in the form of having high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies) benefit greatly from meditating.

Also, research has shown that meditation may also help to improve the symptoms experienced from stress-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

  1. Improved Emotional Health

Certain forms of meditation have also been linked to the promotion of a more optimistic outlook on life and improved self-esteem. There have also been studies that have shown that those who regularly practice meditation have a decrease in depression.

  1. Less Anxiety

For those who experience anxiety, meditation can be a great way to control anxiety disorders such as social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, panic attacks and more. Numerous studies have shown that a variety of different meditation strategies can greatly reduce anxiety levels of all kinds of different people.

  1. Improves Attention Span

If you regularly practice meditation, then it is very similar to working out and lifting weights for your brain. Therefore, studies have shown that practicing meditation actually helps to increase the strength of your attention. Many people have found that they can remember details from tasks better, keep their mind from wandering as often, and decrease worrying.

  1. May Fight Addictive Behaviors

Improving your mental discipline is one of the best things that you can do for your overall mental health, and that is especially the case in some studies of addiction as well. Meditation may help you to get rid of certain dependencies by increasing your self-control and improving your awareness of what things may trigger you. In addition to helping those suffering from alcoholism or dependence on drugs, meditation has also been shown to help control food cravings as well.

  1. Controls Pain

The way you experience pain is through signals that travel from your mind to your body, so if you are able to practice habitual meditation, then you may be able to reduce your sensitivity to certain types of pain. Research has shown that those who meditate regularly over a period of time are associated with decreased complaints of chronic pain.

  1. Improves Sleep

Many people experience insomnia, or the inability to sleep restfully, at some point in their lives. If you find that you have difficulty with falling asleep and staying asleep, then you may want to start meditating. Meditation has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer, possibly because the act of meditation can help your body to relax, release tension and also help to control the racing thoughts that typically cause insomnia.

  1. Decrease Blood Pressure

Meditation is not just beneficial for the health of your mind, as it can also have big effects on the health of your physical body as well. High blood pressure is one of the biggest factors involved in the development of a heart attack or stroke, so it is important to monitor and try to decrease your blood pressure levels as best you can. One helpful method for doing this is to meditate regularly as meditation has been shown to relax nerve signals and decrease tension in blood vessels.

Meditation for Beginners

If you are impressed by the many health benefits achieved through practicing meditation, then you may want to try your hand at meditation yourself. Luckily, meditation can be done by anyone, anywhere and once practiced even just a few times, you may begin to feel the positive effects.

To get started, there are a few tips that you can follow that can help you get on the right track. Check out the following suggestions:

  • Sit calmly for two minutes. Yes, it really is that easy. One of the best things that you can do to get started with practicing mindfulness is to just sit in a quiet place for a couple of minutes. Do this every day for a week, and then slowly increase the length of time that you meditate until you reach about 10 minutes a day after a month or two.
  • Try meditation as soon as you wake up. It can be hard to find time to stop everything and meditate during the day sometimes, so to ensure that you make it a habit, make sure to meditate early in the morning as soon as you first wake up.
  • Do not focus on whether you are doing it “right.” Meditation is different for everyone, so do not get caught up in trying to meditate in certain ways and focus on what seems to work for you. You can meditate in your car, on a chair, on the ground and wherever you feel comfortable.
  • Do not necessarily “clear your mind.” Also, it is a common misconception that you must completely clear your mind to fully meditate. While this can sometimes happen, it is not the goal of meditation. Allow yourself to have thoughts, and practice staying with that particular thought instead of simply letting your mind wander.
  • Pay attention to your feelings. While you start meditating, make sure that you focus on how your body feels, whether you are feeling stressed or anxious, and how you would rate the current quality of your mind.
  • Focus on your breathing. Start counting your breaths and place your full attention on how the air feels going in through your nose, into your lungs and out through your mouth.

Start out by practicing a few of those tips at a time, and slowly work on incorporating all of them into your meditation sessions. Before you know it, you will be much more comfortable with observing your thoughts and focusing on your awareness. Then, you may start to experience a reduction in your stress levels, an improved attention span and many of the other benefits that come from meditation.

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