Updated: Dec 29, 2022
When feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or tension, it might be difficult to regain composure and concentrate on a task. Although stress and anxiety are normal and, in certain cases, biologically required responses, experiencing them frequently can be harmful to your health.
Meditation, though, can be helpful. Learn more about what meditation is and the health benefits it can give by reading on.
What Exactly Is Meditation?
Meditation is a mind-body practice in which your attention is focused on being attentive of the present, your breath, and your mind in order to increase awareness, nurture well-being, and alleviate tension and anxiety. It may be practiced practically anyplace as long as the practitioner is mindful of their body and surroundings. A person's meditation practice may include breathing-based meditation, mindfulness practices, nature-based visualization, mantra, and spiritual meditation, among others. Meditation can be practiced independently, in a group, or with the assistance of a coach or therapist.
People often feel obligated to create time for meditation, however it is advised taking as much or as little time as your mental energy permits to turn away from distractions.
If a meditation practice seems unattainable, then ask yourself when and where you sense calm, comfort, joy, clarity, creativity, or concentration. For some, this may occur when showering, walking, or playing with their pet.
When we think of all the benefits of meditation that we're seeking, look for where that already exists in your life, because nearly everyone has a window someplace.
Benefits of Meditation to Health
The numerous psychological and physical benefits of meditation can improve your quality of life. Here are ten scientifically supported benefits of mediation:
Meditation and other mindfulness-based interventions have been found to improve mental health, particularly in the area of stress, according to a study published in Clinical Psychology Review. Cortisol, the steroid hormone responsible for managing stress and our natural fight-or-flight response, among other activities, is produced by our bodies in reaction to tough or stressful situations. Chronic stress can lead to sustained and high cortisol levels, which can have adverse consequences on your cardiovascular, immunological, and digestive systems, among others. Meditation, which focuses on calming the mind and controlling emotion, might help reduce chronic stress in the body and lessen the likelihood of its negative effects.
By calming racing thoughts and controlling breathing, which soothes the nervous system, meditation can help counteract the symptoms of anxiety, which are often characterized by overpowering sensations of fear, concern, and tension. The physical signs of anxiety can include perspiration, vertigo, and a high heart rate, all of which are induced by excessive thinking about the past or future. According to a study published in General Hospital Psychiatry, people with anxiety who practiced meditation regularly for three years experienced positive, long-lasting effects on their mental health.
Meditation can also aid in the reduction of depressive symptoms via awareness and emotional regulation. One study observing persons on a three-month yoga and meditation retreat discovered that participants exhibited significant improvements in depression and stress resilience after the retreat.
Reducing Blood Pressure
It is estimated that hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, affects one billion people globally and over half the population in the United States. Meditation has been shown to have the potential to reduce high blood pressure, especially when combined with good lifestyle practices such as a balanced diet and regular exercise. While evidence supports the use of meditation to lower blood pressure, greater research is required to determine the precise effects of different types of meditation.
Meditation has also been discovered to be an effective behavioral treatment for a number of illnesses connected with a compromised immune system. Consistent meditation has been demonstrated to lessen the body's stress response, resulting in less inflammation and a lower risk of chronic pain, fatigue, and cardiovascular disease.