Despite meditation’s steady gain in popularity in recent years, many may find they know little of what the practice entails or the benefits it can reap. The idea that mediation is reserved for Buddhist monks and yogis is simply not true. Whether you’re searching for enlightenment or just craving a moment of peace, anyone can benefit from practicing meditation.
Practiced for thousands of years, meditation began as an exercise for spiritual growth. Secular meditation emphasizes relaxation, self-improvement and stress reduction. Not only can meditation benefit your emotional well-being, but your overall health as well.
Everyone has stressors in their life. Over time, stress can leave us feeling worn down and overwhelmed. Practicing meditation helps improve the way we respond to stressful situations, allowing us to let go of unhealthy emotional states.
A study done by Italian neuroscientist Guiseppe Pagnoni found that not only does mediation change brain patterns, but is advantageous in mental focus that may improve cognitive performance. If you’re looking for a mental boost, try meditation.
Self-awareness is the process of retreating within and connecting with yourself. Being self-aware allows you to explore what you need to live a fulfilling life. With the constant stimuli of cell phones, TVs, advertisements and social media constantly bombarding us, it can be difficult to focus on your inner self. Meditation provides an excellent avenue to enable you to stop and reflect.
Recent studies indicate that meditation can improve your baseline level of happiness. In one study, Compuware Corporation, a business software and information technology services company, offered its employees six-hour long group mediation sessions over a period of seven weeks. The participants were asked to meditate five times a week for 15-20 minutes. The results showed that over time, this mediation practice increased daily experiences of positive emotions.
Your reality is what you make it. Meditation can be used to increase your sense of self-acceptance, or self-love. It is an outlet for personal reflection, and can help with self-esteem issues or negative opinions of yourself.
By reducing stress levels, mediation may help slow aging. A study done by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn found that highly stressed people had shortened telomeres, which may be linked to health concerns. The study found that less stressed people with longer telomeres experienced better cognitive function, increased sense of purpose in life, improved mindfulness, improved health and longer lives.
Benefits Cardiovascular Health
Relaxation naturally increases nitric oxide in the body, which causes blood vessels to open and, in-turn, blood pressure to drop. If you’re experiencing high blood pressure, including meditation in your daily routine could help improve your heart health.
There are many different kinds of meditation, and it may take some trial and error to find what kind is best suited to your needs. Meditation is not a cure-all, but with consistency and practice, it can bring inner peace and calm.