Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It started as a way to deepen the understanding of the mystical forces of life. Today, however, meditation is practiced for the many health benefits it bestows. Because meditation is about the mind-body connection, the benefits are both physical and mental in nature. Below are six key benefits of meditation.
Throughout the day, our brains get lots of information thrown at them. It can be overwhelming at times. It can also be hard to process. According to The Mayo Clinic, when you meditate, you clear the information that has built up throughout the day. This build up contributes to stress, so by reducing it, you are reducing stress and this reduction brings about its own benefits. One key benefit is a reduction of negative views, which can happen when we are overwhelmed with information and do not know what to do with it all.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression affects up to 18% of the population. Meditation for depression can decrease ruminative thinking and dysfunctional beliefs. Several studies have shown that depression was successfully reduced with regular meditation. One such study done with students in Belgium who participated in a school meditation program reported decreased cases of depression six months later.
Mood and Anxiety Regulation
Change in mood and anxiety are a natural part of being human. Whether someone cut you off in traffic or there is a big project deadline looming, mood and anxiety fluctuations are a normal part of life. The good news is that meditation helps reduce negative mood and create a calmer one; it can even treat anxiety as well as an anti-anxiety pill. There are over 20 randomized studies from PubMed to back this up.
Lowers High Blood Pressure
Many factors contribute to high blood pressure. From what we eat to outside stimuli like a baby crying, our blood pressure can rise. High blood pressure over a prolonged period of time can be a very dangerous health risk. Meditation helps reduce blood pressure by focusing on calming the mind and keeping you present. This helps you to not focus on the things you cannot control, which will make you calmer and bring down your blood pressure.
Missing time from work or life because of a cold is not fun. Although there is no cure for the common cold, mindfulness meditation could lessen its effects. Of course, this goes along with good hygiene and sanitary practices. The Wisconsin School of Medicine and Health found that people who engage in meditation miss fewer days of work from acute respiratory infections. They also experience a shortened duration and lessened the severity of symptoms.
Supports Weight Loss Goals
7 out of 10 psychologists surveyed by consumer reports and The American Physiological Association said that meditation could help with weight loss goals. Meditation can be used to help one feel better about themselves and be more present. When you feel good about yourself and are more present, you are more likely to make better choices about your health, which can lead to a healthy weight loss.