Five Reasons to Practice Meditation



You shouldn’t meditate to gain something as a reward, just like you shouldn’t give a gift with the expectation of getting something in return. That being said, there are plenty of benefits to starting a regular meditation practice. Keep in mind that if you are spending your time during your meditation saying, “why aren’t I happy yet,” you’ll never get the desired result.

These are just a few of the benefits of practicing meditation:


1. Depression

Having trouble with depression? Meditation can help. A study completed at Brown University found that 30 minutes of meditation decreased depression symptoms, as well as anxiety scores. This study also discovered that people who meditate have more control over how their brains process information and that they can alter negative sensations, including pain and negative thoughts.


2. Stress

Stressed out? Meditation can help. When you meditate regularly, you develop the ability to overrule the area of the brain that drives the fear response. A study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that three sessions of meditation a week can cut reduce anxiety scores by nearly 40 percent!


3. Increase memory

Do you forget things more than you would like? Do you need constant reminders? Meditation can help. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston showed that regular meditation causes the brain’s cerebral cortex to thicken. According to the survey, thickening occurs because meditation increases the size of blood vessels and the blood flow in the region.

The brain’s outer cortex is responsible for higher mental functions such as concentration, learning, and memory, so this is a fantastic discovery.


4. Build better relationships

As discussed previously, knowing your nature will help you get along better with others. As you become more present in your relationships, you also improve how you respond to aggression and stress. This could be the key to avoiding huge fights when dealing with relationship issues. A study published in the journal Emotion examined the relationships of people who practiced meditation for eight weeks. They found that they approached problems with less hostility and a better mood.


5. Improve Sleep Quality

Who doesn’t want a better night’s sleep? Meditation can help. Rest is such an important factor in mental and physical health, in fact, it is a critical component in living a long life. Quieting your mind at night can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep much longer. Science suggests that meditation can help treat insomnia; this is because meditating helps keep your mind clear and reduces stress, as we discussed above.


Extra Benefit: Decrease Anger

A study in the journal Consciousness and Cognition suggests that single session of meditation can help reduce your body’s response to anger. While some anger is healthy, being angry all the time has a negative impact on your life and health status. Anger drives the stress and fear response, and this can cause people to make poor choices that encourage even more stress hormones into action. The research paper referenced above found that people with meditation experience did not elicit much of a physical reaction when exposed to harmful stimuli. Their heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate remained relaxed, both before and after meditation.


References:

Neural Basis For Benefits Of Meditation https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213092309.htm

Anxious? Activate Your Anterior Cingulate Cortex with a Little Meditation https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604114001.htm

Meditation Improves Emotional Behaviors in Teachers https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120328142852.htm

Meditation May Be An Effective Treatment For Insomnia https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609072719.htm

Mindful Sleep https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleepless-in-america/201401/mindful-sleep

A Single Session Of Meditation Reduces Of Physiological Indices Of Anger in Both Experienced and Novice Meditators. A Fennell-E Benau-R Atchley – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26748026

Improved Emotional Stability in Experienced Meditators with Concentrative Meditation Based on Electroencephalography and Heart Rate Variability. Y Lee-Y Shiah-S Chen-S Wang-M Young-C Lin – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25354314

Impact Of Meditation on Emotional Processing–a Visual Erp Study. A Sobolewski-E Holt-E

Kublik A Wróbel – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21689695

Restoring Effective Sleep Tranquility (rest): A Feasibility and Pilot Study.

A Eakman-A Schmid-K Henry-N Rolle-C Schelly-C Pott-J Burns –https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28626295

Nursing Students’ Attitudes and Use Of Holistic Therapies For Stress Relief. E Kinchen-V Loerzel – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29519190

Happier Healers: Randomized Controlled Trial Of Mobile Mindfulness For Stress Management. E Yang-E Schamber-R Meyer-J Gold – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29420050

Mindfulness and Meditation: Treating Cognitive Impairment and Reducing Stress in Dementia. J Russell-Williams-W Jaroudi-T Perich-S Hoscheidt-M El-A Moustafa – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29466242

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