The Amazing Health Benefits Of Meditation

Imagine if there was a way to feel mentally stronger and improve memory with no side effects or paying even one penny. Well, you don't have to imagine it, because it already exists. Meditation is a practice that involves analyzing your thoughts so you better understand where your feelings come from. There are misconceptions that meditation is only for monks or that it's about shutting off thoughts completely. In simple terms, meditation is about forming a healthy relationship with your thoughts and not succumbing to the idea your thoughts are a reflection of you. Regular practice comes with numerous health benefits that will help in multiple areas of life. 

Reduces Stress


Have you ever been worked up and taken a deep breath to calm yourself down? How well it worked probably depended on how stressed you were. When we're going through intense stress, it can be a challenge to even see straight. Trying to tell ourselves to calm down doesn't work. We need to have tools at our disposal that stop stress from getting to be so great, it feels like we're drowning in it. Meditation reduces stress by giving individuals the opportunity to break down problems and logically respond to them. You might still feel the sensation of stress on your body, but you'll also be able to analyze things from a more objective standpoint.

Although meditation has been in practice for thousands of years, the 'relaxation response' was cultivated in the United States by Harvard doctor Herbert Benson in the 1970s. The 'relaxation response' is a meditation technique used to elicit the opposite bodily response of the 'fight or flight' survival response we often experience with stress. This technique results in a state of deep relaxation in which the breathing, pulse rate, blood pressure, and metabolism of an individual decrease, resulting in lower levels of stress.

Enhances Self-Awareness


You might think you know yourself pretty well. That is, you do until you take ten minutes to just sit and observe your thoughts. Meditation enhances self-awareness because it gives you no choice but to get to know yourself. As you sit in contemplation, your thoughts will start to arise, many of which will be seen as negative. You'll think about your perception of yourself and the world around you. Being mindful can be uncomfortable. It's easier to ignore negative thoughts through mindless distractions. Taking the time to simply sit and observe your thoughts is a challenge, but you can gain a much better sense of who you are and what drives your decisions, with the goal of making better decisions in the future.

Helps Control Anxiety And Depression Symptoms


Meditation helps control symptoms of anxiety and depression by helping mend your relationship with your mind. When you're anxious and depressed, you can view your mind as the enemy, and become angry and impatient with it for being worried or melancholy. Meditation doesn't force the negative thoughts out. It lets you observe and learn not to identify with them. By itself, meditation can't solve depression and anxiety, but it can definitely make them more manageable. It provides you with space between your thoughts and helps you realize you don't have to let them dictate your life. Thinking you're worthless or that your world is going to end can be followed by snapping back to reality thanks to meditation.

Reduces Memory Loss


When our minds are running amok, we have trouble recalling important information. Getting furious with ourselves for our forgetfulness doesn't help matters either. Meditation doesn't teach us to stop using our minds, but rather, it teaches us to use them more effectively. Research has suggested meditation helps in times of needing to recall information, such as when taking a test. After starting a regular meditation practice, you should notice how much clearer your mind seems and how much more easily information comes back to you. It's like your brain is an engine and meditation has given you the ultimate tune-up. The fact meditation reduces memory loss should definitely be a major selling point.

Promotes Emotional Health


The quality of your emotions is as important as the quality of your organs. Meditation promotes emotional health by establishing a healthy relationship with your thoughts. Feeling sad or angry doesn't mean you have to become sadder or angrier. Emotional health is all about working through problems. A low mood is nothing to be ashamed of. You can use these times for stillness. Examine the different dimensions of your unhappiness, and you'll hopefully find it's less scary than it seemed at first glance. Meditation doesn't mean you'll have eternal happiness. It means you'll be okay in the moments where you lack happiness.


    HealthPrep Staff