Meditation is one simple and inexpensive way to greatly improve your life, both physically and mentally. Meditation can help you become a more grounded, healthier individual. The many benefits of meditation include improved work performance, an easier time resolving internal conflicts, and a boosted immune system. But these are just some of the benefits, and meditation can help you nearly any aspect of your life.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of meditation, including what kinds of meditation practices might benefit you in particular, read this brief guide on how meditation improves your physical and mental health.
1. Meditation can improve your ability to focus.
Some meditation practices can help you improve your focus. These types of meditation are called concentration meditation. Concentration meditation asks you to focus all your mental energy on a single point. You should begin with short sessions, lasting somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, then slowly work your way to longer sessions. At first, it can be difficult to stop your own thoughts from distracting you. However, with a little practice, you’ll learn how to notice a thought and then let it go.
Improved concentration can boost your work performance and increase productivity. Additionally, many people feel more relaxed and even blissful after practicing concentration meditation. It can boost your problem-solving abilities, particularly when it comes to resolving internal conflicts.
2. Meditation can make you more self-aware.
Increased self-awareness makes you more conscious of your role in both your own life and other people’s. It opens a window through which you can see yourself more objectively. This can benefit relationships, work performance, and your relation to yourself.
In order to improve your self-awareness, you can practice mindfulness meditation. In mindfulness meditation, you are not looking to shut off thoughts or shut out the world. Rather, you want to pay attention to the present moment.
3, Mindfulness meditation can decrease stress levels over a period of time.
A study published in Health Psychology linked mindfulness meditation to lower levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone. The study consisted of 57 participants that spent three months at a meditation retreat. Cortisol was checked before and after the retreat, and researchers found that cortisol levels had decreased.
Additionally, a separate study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital looked at how meditation affects the amygdala, which is the brain region responsible for stress. They found that matter in this region was less dense after meditation. These results are promising for anyone who frequently deals with stress.
Stress can affect your quality of sleep, food choices, cardiac health, and even acne breakouts. Anything that lowers stress is a good idea in our books!
4. It lowers risk of depression among teenagers and pregnant women.
Teenagers and pregnant women are two groups at high risk of depression. However, meditation can help! We would recommend practicing mindfulness meditation or meditation yoga, both of which can lower the risk of depression.
It’s believed that meditation can help these high-risk groups in several ways. As previously mentioned, it can lower stress levels and improve conflict resolution. Additionally, it can lower anxiety in some people, which makes it ideal for fighting or warding off depression. Meditation yoga might also be particularly useful for pregnant women, because it can leave you feeling empowered and more at-home in your body.
5. Meditation leads to better sleep.
If you practice meditation routinely, you might find that you doze better at night. Meditation helps you get better sleep by teaching you how to shut off stressful thoughts that might be keeping you awake. Furthermore, meditation can help you feel more relaxed in your body, which means that you succumb to sleep easier.
What’s more, a full night’s rest can have its own positive effects on your life. The benefits of improved sleep include fewer cravings, better work performance, increased energy, improved concentration, and stronger immune system. That’s a lot!
6. Meditation can boost your immune system.
Your body is smarter than you think. It can pick up on many signals, including internal stimuli such as good and bad thoughts. Positive thoughts and actions can boost your immune system. It’s stronger after a workout or when you have a healthy mindset. Recent research has found that meditation also cedes the necessary space for your immune system to thrive.
An eight-week study performed at UCLA compared CD-4 cell counts in HIV-positive men, with one group of men practicing mindfulness meditation daily and another not practicing. The practicing group saw a improvement in the maintenance of CD-4 cells.
Additional studies have linked meditation to boosted antibodies and increased brain activity in the areas of the brain that command the immune system. So don’t forget to meditate during cold and flu season!
What are your favorite meditation benefits? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know in the comments below.