iCare Community Magazine
6 Great Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is an ancient Buddhist practice that has existed for centuries as a way to center the mind and body. A consistent meditation routine can be beneficial to your overall wellness, helping to improve your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Many different meditative practices can help improve both your mental and physical health, leading to a better quality of life and overall feeling of zen. Here are some of the health benefits associated with meditation:
1. Daily meditation can improve mental health.
Meditation can help prevent the mind from wandering into negative or traumatic territory by promoting self-awareness and existence in the present moment. Mindfulness meditation techniques can help you learn to deal with the mental stressors that permeate daily life. According to neuroscience studies, meditation can potentially reduce the stress hormone cortisol, alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders, and boost your immune system and mood.
2. Meditation programs can improve physical wellness.
Studies show that regular meditation practice can reduce your heart rate and lower blood pressure. According to Harvard Medical School, meditative mindfulness practices can encourage heart-healthy behaviors, reducing the risk of heart disease or other cardiac issues over time.
3. Meditation sessions can improve sleep quality.
Meditation can increase the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which can alleviate insomnia symptoms and improve your quality of sleep. Poor sleep quality can lead to issues with your overall health, and meditation is just one of many ways to improve your sleep hygiene.
4. Meditation training can help with pain management.
Progressive or body scan meditation involves mentally combing through your body for physical sensations, drawing more attention to them, and allowing your mind to process your feelings. Giving your brain time to recognize and analyze pain can help you further understand it. Some research shows that certain types of meditation, like relaxation-response, can alleviate the bloating and pain associated with digestive issues.
5. Loving-kindness meditation can raise self-esteem.
Also known as Metta meditation, this form of meditation centers compassion, directing the meditator to feel love and kindness towards everyone in their lives, even those they consider their enemies. The meditation’s goal is to cultivate positive emotions that can erase the negative thoughts and feelings that cause stress. Raising your self-worth through meditation can also increase your compassion and reduce your aggression, improving your relationships with others.
6. Meditation can help with coping.
Regular meditation courses can alter the way you cope with stimuli, leading to healthier default choices. Scientific studies have shown that meditation sessions can produce structural changes that may underpin such seemingly ethereal benefits: calm, focus, and contentment. In another Harvard study, researchers found that a few weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy increased cortical thickness in areas of the brain responsible for memory, learning, self-referential processing, and emotional regulation, along with decreases in the cell volume of the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for anxiety, stress, and fear.