The benefits of meditation
Life often moves at a frenetic pace, and these days, people are increasingly aware of the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. But if you’ve never meditated before, or you’re a relative beginner, what are the benefits of meditating every day? Let’s put meditation under the microscope.
Top 10 meditation benefits
There are various health benefits of meditation and mindfulness, both for your physical and mental health. Here are ten examples:
People can be affected by stress in various ways, from physical symptoms like headaches to mental symptoms like difficulties making decisions. Various studies have shown that meditation can help focus the mind, giving you a sense of calm that can reduce stress and anxiety.
According to research, one of the benefits of meditation is the reduction in blood pressure, which in turn, could limit your chances of getting heart-related illnesses such as heart disease.
3. Emotional resilience
Everyone goes through tough periods in life, but practicing meditation techniques – from slow, deep breaths to closing our eyes and focusing on the body – can help anyone forget about their troubles in that moment.
4. Sharpen your memory
Meditation has been associated with improved mental performance. In fact, a piece in Psychology Today touched on a study which showed that “mindfulness was associated with both enhanced brain structure and brain function”, including memory
5. Improve your concentration
It’s easy to get distracted, or lost in thoughts, but one of the main meditation benefits is the improvements it can make to your attention span. By focusing on specific sounds or objects, you can ‘live in the moment’ and enhance your concentration.
6. Strengthen your immune system
Previous studies have indicated that meditation can stimulate genes associated with the immune system. In fact, meditation can reportedly trigger an immune response in individuals without causing inflammation.
Meditation increases melatonin levels – a natural body hormone that controls sleep patterns. Getting a good night’s sleep is hugely important in helping our brains and bodies function, so there are undoubtedly benefits of meditating every day when it comes to sleep and our health.
If you’re experiencing aches and pains in your everyday life (or perhaps if you’re recovering from an illness or surgery) meditation can help ease the pain by releasing endorphins. How much meditation is required before you experience these benefits? Even a short bout of meditation could help you manage any discomfort, coupled with strategies like acupuncture or massage.
9. You can stay healthy on a budget
One of the great benefits of meditation is that you can do it without breaking the bank. Compared to a gym membership or personal trainer, meditation alone can cost as little or as much as you like.
10. Gain new perspectives
Meditation has been practiced for centuries and has strong associations with a range of cultures – from ancient Egypt to the Buddhist religion in India. Meditation can be an enriching experience that connects you to other people, and broaden your perspective on life.
Basic meditation exercises
It’s never to late to experience the benefits of meditation, and below, we’ve listed some simple ways you can bring meditation into your life.
- Sit comfortably. Find somewhere calm, quiet and free from distractions, then sit in a cross-legged or kneeling position if you like.
- Pay attention to your body. Close your eyes and start noticing your breath as it goes in and out. Focus on your body and concentrate on the sensations as your mind begins to wander.
- And breathe… When you’re ready, open your eyes, gently lift your head and notice the sights and sounds of your environment. Hopefully, you’ll feel replenished and at ease.