To explore the benefits of meditation, first get in the proper meditative pose:
Also called the “lotus position,” this sitting position originates in the meditative practices of ancient India.
- Cross your legs — or, if this is not comfortable on your legs or knees, rest normally in a chair or sofa. Just be sure your muscles are relaxed.
- Keep your shoulders level and relaxed, and keep your back straight.
- Place your right hand in your left, with the palms pointing upward. The tips of the thumbs should be gently touching.
- Nothing should be tense, and your eyes should be neither closed nor completely open.
- Now, breathe in deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Clear your mind.
Below, we talk about each of the main benefits of meditation. Scroll further to read!
1. Relieves Stress
When we’re stressing out or being anxious, our heart rate rises and our blood pressure levels skyrocket. The body also releases cortisol a main stress hormone. Your muscles will also tighten and contract. As a result, vital functions like immunity and digestion are negatively affected.
If you mediate regularly, you will give your body a renewed sense of physical rest.
The muscles will relax, and the heart rate will slow down, allowing for balanced blood circulation.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Because your body is so still and relaxed when you meditate, your body will naturally require less oxygen. Your heart can beat slower, thereby helping lower blood pressure.
According to a study at Harvard Medical School, the body will also become less responsive to stress hormones when in a meditative state.
The same state is achieved when patients receive blood pressure-lowering medication, according to Food Matters.
3. Improves The Immune System
Research has shown that meditation helps increase antibodies, which are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize bacteria and viruses.
A study conducted by Ohio State University showed that regular progressive muscular relaxation — in other words, meditation — reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to the Seattle Meditation Center.
Meditation exercises can also boost natural killer cells, and help produce a greater resistance to tumors and viruses.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Because meditation can help reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure, it can help reduce the production of stress-responsive neurohormones.
This can help you balance your glucose and insulin levels, which are, of course, directly related to balanced blood sugar levels.
5. Helps Improve Memory
Meditation directly affects the way the brain is structured and functions, from its attention span and the ability to focus to how memory is improved, according to a Time magazine article by Walter Zimmerman.
In a study done at Massachusetts General Hospital, regular meditation helped the brain’s cerebral cortex to thicken. This happens because during meditation, the blood vessels increase in size, and more blood flows to the brain.
The thickening of the cortex allows for increased mental functions, like concentration, learning, and memory, according to the study.
6. Helps Protect Against Heart Disease
A study done by researchers at the American Mind and Body Medical Institute in Boston helped conclude that meditation does in fact slow down brain activity, and creates a holistic anti-stress mechanism in the body.
Slowing down brain activity allows our bodies to regenerate and re-energize.
This will then allow your body to more easily combat stress-related problems, including heart disease, a host of allergies, and even insomnia.
7. Increases Emotional Balance
Emotional balance is hard to achieve for anyone. No one is entirely happy at any given time. In fact, it’s normal to have moments when you’re extremely content, and others when you’re feeling slightly down or depressed.
However, meditation has been proven to help with neuroses and extreme emotional states. Because you’re focusing on creating one state of mind at a time when you meditate, your emotions are less likely to fluctuate when you finish mindful meditation.
8. Relieves Irritable Bowels
Studies have shown the practice of mindful mediation is linked to reduced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to WebMD.
Much like how meditation helps relieves symptoms of anxiety and psychological distress, it can help relieve symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
Researchers aren’t 100 percent sure how meditation technically works to relieve irritable bowels, but they do know that stress is known to frequently coexist with symptoms of anxiety and IBS.
9. Brings A Sense Of Calm
The whole point of meditating is to not let sharp, judgmental thoughts dominate you. These thoughts will float in and out of your brain, but it is your job to know that they are just thoughts, and to witness and let them pass.
According to US News Health, being aware of what you’re thinking and experiencing, and then “accepting it without judgment,” has an extremely strong, calming effect.
Will you begin to practice mediation on a regular basis, after reading about its immense health benefits?
Let us know in the comments, and please SHARE this guide with family and friends!