If you are one of those people who believes that meditation is for Buddhist monks and yogis, you need to reevaluate your thinking. Meditation gained popularity among the everyday crowd once they began to learn of its benefits.
One Practice, Many Benefits
Among studies, the foremost reason that someone might begin a regular mediation practice would be to reduce stress and/or anxiety. By reducing stress and anxiety, one can also lessen the symptoms of medical conditions associated with them. Studies have shown a reduction in stress-related conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia among those with a habitual meditation practice.
Studies have also shown reductions in blood pressure, social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. When one reduces stress and anxiety, they will find that their sleep patterns also benefit from this. Those that practice regular meditation reported falling asleep quicker and staying asleep longer, something which often results in a more restful night’s sleep.
Meditation also promotes self-awareness and mental health. Meditation can help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self. Some meditative practices teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. When you gain awareness of your thought habits, you can then steer them toward more constructive patterns. If you are able to reduce negative or self-defeating thought patterns, depressive episodes may lessen.
Still the Mind for Health
One study followed 18 volunteers as they practiced meditation over three years. The study found that the participants had notable long-term decreases in depression. Another study compared the electrical activity within the brain of individuals that practiced meditation and those that did not. Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in the areas related to positive thinking and optimism.
It has been shown that meditation can lengthen attention span and may help reduce age-related memory loss. Focused-attention meditation is like weightlifting for your attention span. It helps to increase the strength and endurance of your attention. One study showed that human resource workers who regularly practiced meditation stayed focused on a task longer than those co-workers that did not.
It also showed that those who were meditating remembered details of their tasks better than those who were not. Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may keep your mind young, which in turn can combat age-related memory loss. Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that has proven in multiple-age related memory loss studies to improve the participants’ ability to perform memory related tasks.