Over the past few decades, meditation has received a lot of attention. More and more people are discovering the benefits of this amazing practice and are trying to incorporate it into their lives. It is a simple and inexpensive activity that anyone can do almost anywhere. It doesn’t require any skills or special equipment. Yet, it can bring you immense benefits.
Here are some benefits of practising mediation on a regular basis and why you should start practising it as soon as possible.
1. Less Stress
The main reason most people try meditation is to help reduce stress. However, many people are still sceptical about the benefits of practising meditation in reducing stress and anxiety.
The mental and physical stress you experience daily increases the levels of cortisol – also known as the stress hormone. High cortisol levels produce many of the harmful effects of stress, including the release of inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines. These effects can further lead to disrupted sleep patterns, increased blood pressure, fatigue and cloudy thinking, promoting depression and anxiety.
According to an 8-week study, a meditation style is known as “mindful meditation” effectively reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. In addition to that, various researches have also shown that meditation can help stress-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Better Emotional Health
Meditation may seem like a very simple activity, but it can actually lead to an improved self-image and a positive and optimistic outlook on life. One review of treatments given to more than 3,500 adults showed that symptoms of depression were significantly improved after the patients participated in mindfulness meditation.
In another study, it was found that people who completed a meditation exercise were less likely to experience negative thoughts in response to witnessing negative imagery as compared to the people who did not practice meditation at all. Since cytokines can also lead to depression, meditations can help depression by keeping cytokines in control as well.
3. Improved Attention Span
One of the most practical benefits of meditation is that it can significantly increase your attention span. So many people suffer from a short attention span because they have a lot of mental clutter that prevents them from being able to stay focused on one thing.
Meditation helps clear out this mental clutter and helps you stay focused. One study found that people who listened to a meditation tape had improved accuracy and attention levels while completing a task as compared to those who didn’t listen to the tape.
Another study found that people who practised meditation regularly performed significantly better on a visual task as compared to those who didn’t practice meditation at all.
4. May Help Fight Addiction
If you suffer from any kind of addiction, such as alcohol, smoking, or any other substance, it may be a good idea to consider meditation. Meditation helps you develop a mental discipline that can increase your ability to break dependencies on such substances. It can also increase your self-control and your awareness about the triggers that cause you to indulge in addictive behaviours.
According to some research, meditation can help people learn how to redirect their energy towards more productive activities, allowing them to better manage their emotions and impulses. In addition to that, meditation has also shown to help control food cravings. A review of 14 studies concluded that mindfulness meditation could help participants control emotional and binge eating.
5. Ideal Sleeping Patterns
Did you know that you need 7 to 9 hours of undisturbed sleep daily for your body to function at its optimal levels? However, not only do most people fail to stay in bed for at least 7 to 8 hours, but the sleep they get is generally not undisturbed as people often find it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
A comparative study showed that people who participated in meditation programs stayed asleep longer, had better sleep quality, and improved insomnia severity compared to those who didn’t meditate at all. Since meditation helps you control your thoughts and reduce mental clutter, it can help you relax at not go spend your time overthinking while trying to sleep.
As discussed before, meditation is something that you can do anywhere, and you don’t need any equipment for it. All you need is a quiet place. But regularly participating in this simple activity can bring you so many benefits that once you start experiencing them, you will never want to stop practising meditation.
So if you’re still sceptical about meditation, try it out once to see the benefits for yourself.