Meditation has a reputation for several health benefits but here are the top eight reasons establishing a regular meditation routine can improve your overall health and wellbeing. But first, what is meditation? It is defined as the regular process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
Research proves that meditation can really be a stress reducer. Too much stress in your life can cause sleep issues, depression, anxiety, and even high blood pressure. An 8-week study published in 2013 found that “mindfulness meditation” actually reduced the inflammatory response caused by too much stress.
As mentioned previously, as stress levels decrease, so does anxiety. A 2014 study examined the transcendental meditation technique and found that it reduced anxiety significantly. However, that’s not the only technique that reduces anxiety. Additional research has found that a variety of techniques can reduce anxiety levels. It doesn’t matter what technique you try, just get started!
After the pandemic, we all know just how important it is to maintain our mental health. Regular meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression by decreasing the levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress. It can also help people experience fewer negative thoughts.
Improve Attention Span
Studies also show that regular meditation practices can lead to enhanced performance on visual tasks and a great attention span than those who don’t regularly practice meditation. And you don’t need to set a goal of meditating for hours on end. Other studies have indicated that even short periods of meditation each day can be a benefit. One study found that just 13 minutes a day of meditation enhanced attention and memory after just eight weeks.
Reduce Memory Loss
And, in case you haven’t noticed yet, each of these benefits just continues to cascade to additional benefits! Now that you know that regular meditation can lead to improvements in attention and clarity, you might be happy to hear that both benefits lead to keeping your mind young and healthy overall.
Studies have found that in addition to fighting the normal age-related memory loss that comes from getting older, meditation can at least partially improve memory in those suffering from dementia. It can also help to control stress and improve coping skills in caregivers.
Healthy sleep patterns lead to a host of health benefits and one study found that people who meditated regularly not only remained asleep for longer periods of time, but also have improved insomnia severity. And as previously mentioned in the other benefits above, meditation can help you relax and release tension, thus placing you in a peaceful state that allows you to fall asleep quickly and more easily.
And the research continues to show the benefits of regular meditation with one review of 38 studies concluding that mindfulness meditation could not only reduce pain, but also improve quality of life, and decrease the symptoms of depression in those suffering from chronic pain.
Keep Blood Pressure in Check
The dangers of high blood pressure are common knowledge and include heart disease and stroke among other issues. A 2015 meta-analysis of 12 studies with nearly 1,000 participants found that meditation helped to reduce blood pressure.
The bottom line is that meditation is something that everyone can try to improve their mental and emotional health. You don’t have to have a particular level of athletic ability; it doesn’t require a special location or equipment and you don’t have to buy a membership to a gym to try it. A simple Google or YouTube search can get you started. Trying out a variety of styles to see what might work best for you is a great way to begin your meditation journey!