5 Benefits of Meditation
What is meditation? There is not one form of meditation. Guided meditation focuses on creating relaxing images in your mind, mantra meditation is when you quietly repeat a calming word or phrase, and mindfulness meditation focuses on being present. Qi gong and Tai Chi, on the other hand, incorporate more movements, postures, and breathing exercises. Similarly, yoga uses different postures and breathing techniques to regain physical and mental balance. Although each of these forms of meditation have their own set of unique benefits, we will discuss the 5 main benefits that they all share. Keep reading to learn more about the wonders of meditation!
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
People of all ages deal with stress, whether it's related to school, work, family or something else. There are many healthy ways to deal with stress, one of these ways is mediation. As stated prior, there are many types of meditation, all of which can help alleviate stress. The process of meditation involves focusing your attention and decluttering your mind. Meditating for even a short period of time can therefore help calm you down and restore inner peace by eliminating negative thoughts. The tranquil and relaxing qualities of meditation can also lower levels of anxiety. Furthermore, there is evidence that meditation can even reduce symptoms from stress-related medical conditions, for example irritable bowel syndrome (1), post-traumatic stress disorder (2), and fibromyalgia (3).
Apart from relieving stress and anxiety, meditation also improves emotional well-being.
The process of mediation and refocusing your mind, can help people understand and manage their emotions. Whether you are dealing with mild sadness, intense anger, or overwhelming excitement, meditation can help you take control of your feelings and regain balance and emotional stability. Sometimes hormonal changes can cause people to feel a loss of control of their emotions, this is especially common among teenagers. Meditating can help you regain this sense of control and allows you to connect deeper with yourself. Furthermore, people struggling with depression have also benefited from meditation. According to research, meditating can decrease levels of inflammatory cytokines, which may be linked to depression (4).
We’ve discussed how meditation helps clear the mind of negative thoughts and how it benefits emotional well-being. This goes hand-in-hand with self-awareness, self-acceptance, confidence, and overall self-image. The focus required during meditation can help you create a better and deeper relationship with yourself. This strengthened understanding of yourself can guide you to becoming your best version of you. Oftentimes, the negative thoughts occupying our mind are related to ourselves. Recognizing and overcoming these self-defeating thoughts can improve self-image and boost your confidence.
Improve Attention Span
Another benefit of meditation is its ability to improve your attention span. Meditation may improve people’s ability to redirect their attention when needed and maintain their focus for a longer time. While meditating, you are essentially training the strength and endurance of your attention through practice. As with most things in life, the more you practice something the better you will get. This is beneficial to everyone, but especially to those who may struggle to concentrate in classes, lectures, meetings or in day to day life. Doing your homework, finishing a report, or even writing an email, can be difficult when your mind begins to wander. Practicing meditation regularly, even for short periods of time, can help make these kinds of tasks a little easier.
Last but not least, practicing meditation can help you put your mind at rest and improve sleep. Meditating right before bed helps you relax your body and release tension, which may help you fall asleep. It can also improve your overall sleep quality once you’ve fallen asleep. Practicing meditation teaches you how to control runaway thoughts which may keep people up at night and prevent them from falling asleep. Since meditation keeps your mind from wandering as you lay in bed, it helps you to fall asleep faster. Furthermore, research has found that meditation leads people to stay asleep longer compared to those who don’t (5). For these reasons, meditation can benefit people who struggle with poor sleeping habits and patterns. It can be especially useful to those who struggle with insomnia.
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