The Many Health Benefits of Meditation

Sitting, breathing calmly and doing nothing; sounds amazing, right? Meditation has been around for eons and in today’s world of constant distractions and daily interruptions, it’s more important than ever. While it may seem easy to sit and do nothing it’s a little harder than turning on the TV and watching your favorite Netflix series. Technically you may consider this doing nothing as your brain waves are less active while watching TV than when you sleep, however that’s not the type of nothing we’re talking about.

Image courtesy of Walker Visual

Image courtesy of Walker Visual

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know what leads you forward and what holds you back and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
— Buddha

When I first began to meditate, my thoughts would rush through my brain a million miles per second. I was barely able to sit there meditating for three minutes without checking the time or my phone. The endless thoughts of what I need to do next, when am I going to find time to meet my next deadline, how many likes does my post have? But, the more I read and learned about meditation the more I realized the constant stream of feelings is natural; just let those thoughts wash over and they’ll eventually disappear. Finding this space of nothingness while mediating is possibly one of the greatest feelings in the universe. The funny thing is, you don’t realize you were in the zone until you’re out of it by bringing awareness back to your body.

Not only are there many types of meditation, it’s amazing how many benefits meditation provides. In an age when most things with health or mental benefits come in pill form, it’s even more rare to find such benefits in a natural way.

Check out this list of 51 wonderful benefits:

Increases:

  • Immune function
  • Positive emotion
  • Social connection
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Happiness
  • Intuition  
  • Calmness
  • Productivity
  • Memory
  • Self confidence
  • Receptiveness
  • Grey matter in your brain
  • Serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
  • Energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
  • Cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention
  • Ability to focus  
  • Ability to regulate your emotions
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to be creative & think outside the box
  • Ability to introspect

Decreases:

  • Pain
  • Blood pressure
  • Inflammation at the cellular level
  • Boosts your health
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
  • Levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Likelihood of distraction

Improves:

  • Concentration
  • Memory
  • Emotional stability
  • Anger management
  • Personal growth
  • Clarity and peace of mind
  • Ability to be more tolerant and sensitive
  • Ability to learn more easily
  • Ability to exercise control of ourselves while under pressure

Additional Benefits:

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Slows the aging process
  • Recharges our batteries
  • Makes you more compassionate
  • Soothes, comforts
  • Energizes
  • Eases worries
  • Problems become smaller
  • Makes you feel less lonely
  • Boosts your self-control
  • Helps one gain perspective

Did I mention meditation is free? All it costs is your time and is well worth the investment. So, if you’ve never meditated and are curious, allow me to give you some pointers, courtesy of howtobehappy.guru.

Begin with a simple breathing exercise.

Deep breathing slows the heartbeat, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is a great way to start meditation.

1) Take a deep breath

2) Hold your breath for a few seconds

3) Take a deep exhalation

During the breathing exercise, pay attention to the sensations you are feeling. When you inhale, Imagine the air flow is entering your nose. Make sure to have a deep breath; expand your diaphragm. When you hold your breath, imagine the air is distributed throughout your body. When you exhale, imagine the air is coming out of your mouth.

Visualize and then focus on a specific point to facilitate control of your thoughts.

Image courtesy of Walker Visual

Image courtesy of Walker Visual

If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.
— Dalai Lama

Healthy eating is very important but so is your peace of mind. Meditation is beneficial for everyone and all ages and relies solely on your will and desire to find inner peace. So if you're ready, why not start today?

If you’ve meditated before but are looking to get back into it after learning these awesome benefits, be sure to check out the different types of meditation.

 

*sources for list of benefits: art of living, psychology today, and howtobehappy.guru