Meditation is a simple and inexpensive way to improve your life, both physically and mentally. It can help you become a more grounded, healthier individual. The benefits of meditation include improved work performance, resolving internal conflicts more easily, and a boosted immune system. These are just some of the benefits, though; meditation can help you in practically every aspect of your life.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of meditation, including what kind of meditation practice might benefit you in particular, read this brief guide on how to improve your physical and mental health with meditation.
Related: 7 Reasons to Start Meditating
Improve Your Physical and Mental Health with Meditation
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 five and ten 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 let it go.
Improved focus and 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. It can make you more self-aware
Increased self-awareness makes you more conscious of your role in your own life as well as the lives of other people. It opens a window through which you can see yourself more objectively. This can benefit relationships, work performance, and even how you relate to yourself.
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, who spent three months at a meditation retreat. Cortisol was checked before and after the retreat. Researchers found that cortisol levels had decreased when the participants left the retreat.
Additionally, a separate study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital looked at how meditation affects the amygdala, the region of the brain 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 the risk of depression among teenagers and pregnant women
Teenagers and pregnant women are two groups of people who are at high risk of depression. Luckily, meditation can help! We 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 snooze 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 unhealthy food cravings, better work performance, increased energy, improved concentration, and stronger immune system. That’s a lot!
Check Out: 6 Before-Bed Habits for Amazing Sleep
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. This reaction is 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 (white blood cells that play a role in the immune system) in HIV-positive men. One group of men practiced mindfulness meditation daily while the other group did not. The practicing group saw an improvement in the maintenance of their white blood 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!
Do you have any helpful meditation tips to share? What are your favorite benefits of meditation? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know in the comments below.
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