Meditation has become an increasingly popular way of becoming mindful and conscious. It’s used widely as a method to become present in our lives and increase awareness of ourselves and our surroundings.
However, this is the only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of meditation. Here are 5 scientifically proven benefits that meditation can provide you:
Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons that people try meditation and rightfully so. Regular meditation which is focused on mindfulness is proven to help control and reduce stress.
This study examined the effectiveness of an 8-week meditation program centred on mindfulness. It showed a significant reduction in stress symptoms and an improved sense of control over the subjects’ awareness.
Meditation teaches you to accept your emotions and feelings rather than resist them. Doing this regularly can gradually help you to become detached from your feelings of stress and anxiety, allowing you to stop being affected by them as much.
Another study which tested 600 cases of meditation showed that regular meditation can be of most benefit to individuals with high levels of anxiety or stress.
Meditation not only reduces the symptoms of stress-related symptoms shown by this research done on cancer patients, but it will also give you back the feeling of control that you need to break free from stress and anxiety.
Many forms of meditation are concentrated on improving your self-awareness, being conscious of exactly how your body feels and the compulsive thinking that often controls our mind.
By recognising the negative thoughts that arise, you can begin to unravel the harmful thought-patterns that you perhaps didn’t even know existed. The idea behind this is that once you gain a heightened sense of awareness towards your behaviour, you can guide them towards more constructive and beneficial patterns
This study focused on how a particular type of meditation (Qigong) based on inward attention, mindfulness and breathing was an effective residential treatment method for addiction. Participants who regularly meditated reported significant reductions in cravings, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms.
This is symbolic of the way that becoming present and mindful can be such an effective way of reducing the hold of negative thought patterns on you and ultimately taking control of how you live your life.
Boost Your Attention Span
Focused-attention meditation exercises allow you to focus your attention on a particular sound, object or some other stimulus. This is similar to a training program for the strength and duration of your attention span.
Studies like this demonstrate the ability of meditation to improve and maintain attention span even in old-age along with general cognitive ability.
Although the above study is based on long-term meditation, as little as 4 days of regular, mindfulness training can lead to an enhanced ability to sustain attention and an improved working memory.
Promotes Quality Sleep
The National Health Service in the UK estimates that 1 in 3 people suffer from poor sleep. Sleep deprivation can put you at an increased risk of several serious health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and obesity. However, meditation can be a useful way to improve the quality of your sleep and help you wind down at night.
Practising meditation regularly helps you to control your mind and avoid the compulsive ‘runaway’ thoughts that can so easily lead to a sleepless night. The value of meditation in treating insomnia is shown by this study, helping participants to not only fall asleep quicker but also stay asleep for longer.
Additional research which supports the fact that meditation can help remediate sleep problems also demonstrates the reduction of other symptoms during the day such as drowsiness, fatigue and depression. Sleep is an often overlooked element of our health, yet it is a crucial part of staying physically and emotionally fit.
Decrease Blood Pressure
Meditation is an increasingly popular practice that is thought to be useful in preventing or reducing elevated blood pressure levels. Although it is not currently used as a clinical method for intervention, studies like this provide evidence that transcendental meditation and mindfulness lead to clinically significant reductions in blood pressure.
There is promising literature that suggests meditation may be used as an effective and positive way of improving cardiovascular health. With mindfulness becoming more popular, there will inevitably be more research conducted on this topic.
The Bottom Line
Meditation is a practice that is scientifically proven to benefit your mental and physical health. Its simplicity and availability to anyone, anywhere makes it a hugely popular and accessible way to improve your life.
With the huge variety of meditation styles out there, I’m sure there’s one suited to you. After all, you’re now well aware of all the incredible benefits to gain from it!
All the best,